GIVE ME YOUR JOHN HANCOCK — Flanked by S-GI administrators and their parents, Tia and Alena Woodarek signed to play Division II soccer at Southern New Hampshire University. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — Ariel Teixeira, an assistant coach for the Southern New Hampshire University woman’s soccer team, was in New York over the summer scouting a tournament, when she received a text from another assistant coach.
“You need to come to this field right now,” Teixeira recalled the text message saying. “So, I walk over there, and she’s like, ‘these two players, right there. They look a lot alike.’ I look at the brochure, and I’m like ‘they’re twins.’”
That was the first time Southern New Hampshire University saw Springville twins Tia and Alena Woodarek. It would not be the last.
“Right from that point on, they fit right in with our program, with everything they do,” said Teixeira. “They have something that we don’t have to teach; they already know it. They played so mature, at that level.”
Nearly eight months later, in front of family, friends, administrators and coaches, in the library of Springville-Griffith Institute High School on Feb. 6, Tia and Alena both signed their National Letter of Intents to play Division II soccer at Southern New Hampshire University, where they will receive full scholarships.
“It’s a great honor to know that all of the hard work paid off in achieving a full ride, which has always been a dream,” said Tia Woodarek. “Now that I achieved this dream, I’m setting the bar even higher, going for bigger goals.”
“It definitely feels great and gratifying to put so much effort in and be blessed with the opportunity to continue on at the next level, not only athletically but academically,” Alena Woodarek said, about inking to play at the collegiate level.
The girls took two visits to campus and made their verbal commitments back in December, but weren’t allowed to sign until National Signing Day on Feb. 5. Tia Woodarek mentioned that a big part of her decision was due to the staff that Southern New Hampshire has in place.
“What brought me to make my decision with SNHU was the coaching staff. The first time meeting the head coach, Terry Prouty, I saw how passionate she is about the sport,” said Woodarek of Prouty, who will be entering her 16th season as head coach, next season. “I’ve met a lot of college coaches in the recruiting process and none could top her enthusiasm. I know she is going to push me to be my absolute best as an athlete and a student.”
The duo led Springville to back-to-back divisional titles during their junior and senior years and a 27-8 record over that span. This past season, both players reached the 100-goal milestone. Alena Woodarek scored goal No. 100 against Pioneer and Tia Woodarek scored No. 100 when she scored 6 goals against Maryvale. They combined to score 62 of the team’s 69 goals, this past fall. Springville coach Shawn Bullard only coached the Woodareks for one season, but it didn’t take long for him to recognize the talent the two have.
“I got them during the golden year,” Bullard said. “By the time I had them, I could tell right away that they were really polished. Throughout the season, I tried to encourage, help them, guide them a little bit and try to give a little bit of my knowledge to them. They are truly a unique and remarkable talent.”
Bullard played collegiate men’s soccer at Oswego for four years and noted that soccer at the next level is very demanding, but Tia and Alena Woodarek should be able to contribute early for SNHU.
“College ball in general is very demanding and intense,” he said. “I know these two. As long as they stay positive and are willing to work, I expect them to have an immediate impact. It might take them a few games to get used to that speed and that passion that everyone has, but when they get used to that, they should have a very successful career, starting very early.”
Tia Woodarek made first-team All-WNY as a junior and second-team as a senior. Alena Woodarek made second-team as a junior and again as a senior. Southern New Hampshire has a D-II soccer program and finished their 2013 season 7-8-3. Despite hovering around .500, the team scored 20 goals as a team. The team will also lose its leading scorer, due to graduation.
“Speaking to coach Prouty, the team struggled with scoring in the past year and I’m hoping to come in as a freshman and be a scoring threat,” Tia Woodarek said.
Alena Woodarek closed out her soccer career at Springville as the school’s all-time leading scorer, with 109 goals, and her sister sits in second, with 101.
They are the daughters of Kristen and Martin Woodarek.