Junior goalkeeper Hattie Larson verbally commits to Eastern Washington women’s soccer

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(Photo courtesy of JASON DUCHOW PHOTOGRAPHY) Sandpoint junior goalkeeper Hattie Larson kicks a ball back in play during the 4A Idaho State Championship game versus Bishop Kelly on Oct. 20, 2018. Larson gave her verbal commitment to play soccer for Eastern Washington University upon graduating from Sandpoint High School in 2021.

Eastern Washington University has gained another Bulldog.

Rising Sandpoint junior Hattie Larson verbally committed to play women’s soccer for Eastern Washington University, where she will not only rejoin former soccer teammate Riley Walkington (‘19), but also reunite with former basketball teammates Grace Kirscher and Trinity Golder (‘18) when she enrolls in EWU in fall 2021.

After attending a few ID camps in front schools like Idaho, Seattle University and Montana, Larson attended a soccer camp that Eastern Washington put on in Sandpoint. From there, she started building a relationship with the staff, culminating with an invitation to the Eagles’ camp in late July.

“They really took time for each person to know them — even before talking about college or anything — just getting to know them as a person,” Larson said. “I that meant a lot to me that they cared about the individual.”

Larson also said she loved the campus in Cheney, citing both its proximity to home and its science programs as two of the non-sports related factors into her decision.

“It is definitely a weight off of my shoulders knowing that I can take the classes that will give me credit at Eastern,” Larson said. “I can get workouts and be prepared for what college I want to go to because I know the coaching staff and some of the players.”

Larson quickly became an integral defensive leader for Sandpoint’s girls soccer team last season. As a sophomore, Larson split goalkeeping duties with Shea Kilpatrick, yet still recorded eight shutouts in the Bulldogs’ 13-3-1 state runner-up campaign — including a perfect 4-0 record without conceding a single goal in IEL play.

As if that wasn’t notable enough, Larson managed to catch the eyes of Division I coaches with limited time between the posts.

“She is a freak athlete and her growth curve has been unbelievable,” Sandpoint head coach Conor Baranski said. “She’s actually not been goalkeeping for not that long.”

A three-sport athlete, Larson has lettered in girl’s basketball and golf. While her commitment is for women’s soccer, Larson still plans on competing in all three sports for the remainder of her high school career.

Luckily for Larson, the Eastern Washington women’s soccer coaching staff has encouraged her to continue playing both basketball and golf.

“For my entire life, I haven’t been set on one sport,” Larson said. “I like challenging myself with as many as possible. I knew I wanted to play a sport in college, but I wasn’t sure which one.”

Now that Larson has given her commitment, she believes her biggest challenge is staying present in her remaining high school sports seasons.

“When I’m practicing, I still try to focus in the moment,” Larson said. “Right now, I’m just trying to focus on soccer and not get too far ahead because I definitely don’t want it to distract me from this high school season and focusing on my team now.”

Eastern Washington is coming off of a 8-8-3 (4-4-2 in Big Sky play) season under sixth-year head coach Chad Bodnar. The Eagles’ last NCAA Tournament appearance was in 2017.

Meanwhile, Larson and the Bulldogs will kick off the 2019 soccer season at Lewiston at noon on August 24.

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