Reel to play soccer at Saint Mary's
As a coach, sometimes you discover talent and sometimes it is thrust upon you.
It was the latter for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s Michael Aycock as far as Sullivan senior Izzy Reel is concerned.
“I have known Izzy for a few years now through the camps she has attended at SMWC,” said Aycock, who started the program at SMWC in 2000. “This is where I got a closer look than most coaches do when recruiting a player.
“What I have seen has always impressed me.”
Reel signed a letter-of-intent on Wednesday morning to attend Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods on a scholarship to play soccer.
“I have known coach Aycock because we have gone to Saint Mary’s for camp every summer in high school,” said Reel, a three-time all-Western Indiana Conference selection. “He asked me if I was interested in coming there to play.
“To be honest, I was skeptical at first. I prayed about it and decided to let God guide me. He led me to Saint Mary’s.”
Sullivan girls soccer coach Kurt Hauger said that Reel has been the rock of their defense the past three years.
“Izzy has been a four-year starter for the Lady Arrows soccer team,” said Hauger. “She is tenacious as a defender and very skilled playing the ball out of the back under pressure.
“Besides being all-WIC in three of her four years, she was named our Defensive Player of the Year twice and team MVP once.”
Hauger added that it was a pleasure to work with Izzy, the daughter of the late Virgil Reel, Todd Torrance and Theresa Reel-Torrance.
“She has been one of the best individuals I have had a privilege to coach,” said Hauger. “I have known her for over eight years and she has developed into a wonderful role model and super young lady that all students can look up to.
“I am extremely proud to be her coach over the past eight years. I look forward to watching her succeed at the next level.”
Aycock added that Reel will bring many attributes to the program.
“Izzy is a person who is always positive, always working on her game, always leading by example,” said Aycock. “She brings a great competitive edge with the kind of composure and hard work that a player needs to succeed at the next level.”
He added that she will likely play right away.
“I am confident she will begin contributing right away to our team, partly as a defender,” said Aycock. “She really shined as a defender the past year.
“But also she has the possibility of playing as a holding midfielder, where she can combine some of her skills in possessing the ball with her nice tactical sense of defending. Just as importantly, I know she will help us rebuild as a team, using all her skills as an ideal teammate and leader.”
Reel said she was 4 when she started playing soccer and was on travel teams as early as the third grade.
“I just fell in love with soccer,” said Reel. “Back then, I played both offense and defense.
“But over time, I became a defensive player, who occasionally played a little on the offense side of the ball.”
Reel had her moment to shine in the 2014 IHSAA Sectionals.
“There was a foul in the box and coach Hauger asked me to take the PK (penalty kick),” she said. “I made it to put us up 1-0.
“Later, there was another foul and I had another PK. I put it in the opposite corner of the net and we won 2-0. That is something I will never forget.”
Reel wore No. 13 at SHS in honor of her father Virgil.
“He died back in 2001,” said Izzy. “I wore No. 13 for him because that was the number he wore.
“I wanted him to know how proud of him I was and also wanted to know a part of him was with me every time I played.”
Reel said she suffered a number of injuries during her career, including her ankle as a freshman, fluid on her knee as a sophomore, concussion at the end of her junior season and she had a shoulder injury as a senior.
“Our athletic trainer Tobie Steele has been a lot of help during my entire career,” said Reel. “I got my concussion during the sectional and she helped me even though our season was over.
“She has been a big inspiration to me. That’s why I want to study that in college, so I can give back to athletes and help them like I was helped.”
Aycock said he is excited to have Reel signed.
“We’re very proud to have her choose The Woods,” he said.
Photo by B.J. HARGIS: Sullivan High School senior Izzy Reel, front, center, is all smiles after signing a letter-of-intent to play soccer at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College on Wednesday morning. Pictured with her in the front are her mother Theresa Reel-Torrance, left, and her sister Ashley Reel. In back, from left, are SHS athletic director Otto Clements, assistant principal Sarah Hannon, SHS athletic trainer Tobie Steele, SMWC women’s soccer coach Mike Aycock, Sullivan girls soccer coach Kurt Hauger and SHS assistant girls soccer coach Ray Secrest.