When she had to start kicking around a soccer ball in the fall, Morgan Kile was ultimately forced to choose between two sports she loves.
Valerie Bott just couldn't make that type of decision, so she ended up playing two sports at once.
While the PIAA's idea to move girls soccer from spring to the fall season didn't wreak havoc on that sport, it did make things more difficult for a few multi-sport stars around the Wyoming Valley Conference.
Kile was one of them.
She's a field hockey standout who's drawing college interest as a junior for Crestwood High School's state playoff-bound team. But Kyle also excelled playing soccer for her father's Crestwood team.
Until this year.
Toward the beginning of the season, I was attempting to do both, Kile said. But trying to balance school and balance both sports got a little too difficult.
Shortly into the soccer season, Kile left the team to focus on field hockey.
She's been hearing from a lot of colleges for soccer, said her dad, Crestwood soccer coach Russ Kile. She had to give up soccer. It was difficult.
It wasn't exactly easy for Bott.
The Wyoming Area senior helped keep her soccer team in the playoff chase until the final days of the regular season, all the while leaving her mark on the tennis court – where she performed in the District 2 girls singles and doubles tournaments.
It's been stressful, Bott said. Very stressful.
The tension's been ongoing for Bott.
She spent her whole fall sports season running from school to soccer practice, then hitting on her own to keep sharp as Wyoming Area's No. 1 tennis player.
I went out and hit with my friends a lot, and my dad, Bott said. Since soccer's more of a team sport, I had to practice with my team. I have to go to soccer practice or I won't play.
Understanding the situation, Wyoming Area tennis coach Tiffany Callaio kindly allowed her star to scrap tennis practice for soccer – and even hit tennis balls with Bott long after practices for both sports had finished.
She's been my number one (player) for the last three years and she's one of the best on the soccer team, Callaio said. It's hard for her to pick, because she's so good at both sports. I was more concerned about the time I would have with her – how was it going to affect the lineup, affect opponents? I was very lucky to have her the last four years.
Morgan Kile wasn't as fortunate.
She realized pretty early her passion for soccer and field hockey wasn't going to carry her both sports going on in the same season. Mainly because both team-oriented sports require diligent preparation.
If you don't practice, you don't play.
So Kile grew as conflicted as her fall sports schedule.
The first thing that came to mind is, ‘Which one am I going to pick?' Kile said. It's a big decision to pick between two things that take up a majority of your life.
She said she knows other girls from her summer soccer teams that were put in the same situation.
A few of my friends were leaning toward (playing) one or the other, Kile said. I'm extremely disappointed. I tried very hard to do both. I don't regret what I picked. I thought about giving it another try with both sports next year.
It hit me very hard not being able to play soccer, because I love both sports so much.
It wasn't a smooth transition for Bott, either.
She missed two soccer games and two tennis matches this year when contests from both sports popped up on the same day of this season's schedule.
Mainly, I looked at the team we're playing, if we had a chance of winning, if I'll be a critical player (for either the tennis or soccer team) at the time, Bott said. I was a little worried. I didn't know if I'd have to give up one of them. But I love both sports so much, I couldn't just stop playing one of them my senior year.
Was it worth it, all this effort to pull double sports duty?
Well, sort of.
It was a good experience dealing with it, Bott said. It was difficult because you don't have time to practice both all the time. But my time management got a lot better, too.
Now, if only Morgan Kile can figure out how to be two places at once next year.
It was very difficult to choose, she said, especially since I love both sports a lot. I just got to a point where you have to make a sacrifice.