Quaker Valley Girls lacrosse standouts Foster, Tarris commit to play at Liberty University
Kayla Foster and Aubrie Tarris will have to say goodbye to Quaker Valley at the end of the year, but they won’t have to say goodbye to each other.
Foster and Tarris made their college decision official Monday, signing letters of intent to play Division 1 lacrosse at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
Head coach Kelly Nangle took over the Flames last year, just one year after the program joined the Big South Conference following the dissolving of the National Lacrosse Conference.
It took just one year on the job for Nangle to draw in the Quaker Valley pair, but it wasn’t her resume that convinced the girls to play for her. It was the way it felt to be coached by her.
The girls traveled to Lynchburg at the beginning of the summer for a lacrosse camp at the college hosted by Nangle and her staff.
Although there had been other schools that Tarris was considering before the trip, Liberty won her over pretty quickly.
“That was the first time either of us had been down there,” said Tarris, a goalie. “Every other school I went to there was always something I could pick out that I didn’t like about it, but when I got to Liberty, there was not a single thing I could find wrong with it. The campus was beautiful. Everyone there was super nice and so friendly. The coaching staff was amazing. All the girls on the lacrosse team were great.”
Foster had a similar experience that led her to make the same decision as Tarris, she said.
“I got to the camp not knowing anything about the school,” said Foster, who plays both midfield and attack. “Once we got to meet the coach and got to play at the camp and see how she interacts with her players — I just really loved the way that she got everyone to participate and felt really welcoming.”
The duo made the decision to attend Liberty after visiting the school for a second time in July.
Quaker Valley coach Nellie Kraus spoke to the impact Foster and Tarris have had on the Quakers.
“They’re amazing athletes, but they’re also fantastic teammates,” Kraus said. “From my first year of coaching, one of my goals was to play as a team and recognize individual strengths that we had in Kayla and Aubrie. They made the (Western PA National Team) every year they’ve been part of the varsity squad.”
Her time at Quaker Valley made an equally large impact on Foster.
“My freshman year I went into it and thought I would want to play basketball in college, but my experience here completely changed that,” Foster said. “I fell in love with lacrosse, and honestly I owe it all to my high school experience, especially coach Kraus.”
The Quakers were undefeated in Section 2 play last season and reached the WPIAL Division 1 championship before losing to Mt. Lebanon, 9-7. With the core of the roster returning this season, the girls are focused on taking care of some unfinished business.
“I’m very excited to see them continue where they ended last year,” Kraus said. “I’m hoping we can get some revenge on the WPIAL championship finals down at Highmark stadium. I really think they deserve it, and I think they will earn it this year.”