One Tufts player |

One Tufts player

Submitted photoWhitney Hardy, shown at the 2005 Nomads College Showcase, is looking to play at Tufts University.

Whitney Hardy is taking her scrappy brand of soccer to the East Coast.

The 2006 Truckee High grad leaves Aug. 20 for Tufts University in Boston, where she was invited to walk on to the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) soccer team.

“I’m definitely excited,” said Hardy, a first-team all-state midfielder who was one of the Wolverines’ team captains last season. “I can’t wait to go play soccer for a college team. I’m ready to start a new chapter.”

Hardy said she visited Tufts twice, once in April of 2005 and again in April of this year, while scouting colleges in New England. She also looked into attending Amherst College and Boston College.

“I was looking to play soccer,” she said, “but I knew I wouldn’t be able to walk on to a team at a big school.”

So she talked to Tufts head soccer coach Martha Whiting and was told that, assuming she got accepted to the academically rigorous university, and came in shape, she’d have “100 percent chance” of making the team. After being placed on a waiting list, Hardy, who hauled in a 4.2 GPA her senior year at Truckee, was informed that she had been accepted to Tufts.

Amy Valdivia, Truckee’s varsity girls soccer coach, is not surprised about Hardy’s decision to play college soccer.

“She is extremely intelligent on the field and a definite leader,” Valdivia said of her former standout player. “She’s probably one of the most intense players I’ve ever encountered. She’s a fireball.

“I think she can play higher than Division III. She’ll do excellent, and will be able to maintain academically.”

Valdivia said Hardy’s contributions to the team, which reached the state semifinal game before losing to Incline, will be greatly missed.

“She’s the biggest hole to replace next year,” the coach said of Hardy, who finished the season with 10 goals and six assists. “She provided the most leadership. She’s the one who was not afraid to say what other people are thinking.

And in the big game, “She’s the one you want on the field because you know she’ll put her heart and soul into it,” Valdivia said.

“I definitely wanted a change of pace,” Hardy said. “I figured it would be a good culture change and would make me more rounded as a person. I just wanted to experience something new.”

“I thought the atmosphere was really nice, and I wanted to play soccer, of course,” Hardy said. “Academically, Tufts is really highly ranked and I really liked that. So that’s what made me decide. …

“I’m going to miss the close-knit group of players (at Truckee), but I’m excited.”

The Tufts University women’s soccer team has suffered only two losing records in 27 years. During head coach Martha Whiting’s tenure, her teams have compiled a 79-33-9 record for a .690 winning percentage. The 2005 Jumbos posted their 11th consecutive winning season and were ranked fourth in the final National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll. Tufts won its third NCAA New England title and finished first during the competitive New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) regular season.

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