Gateway’s Madi Jesih ready to continue soccer career at Robert Morris

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Sunday, November 13, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Madi Jesih dreamed for many years of an opportunity in soccer beyond high school.

The dream was put into action with work on and off the field and play with the Hotspurs club team and with Gateway through her senior season this fall.

Now, Jesih said, the work really begins to be ready for her freshman season in 2023 at Division I Robert Morris.

The midfielder made her college decision with the Colonials final Nov. 9 on the first day of National Letter of Intent signing day for all Division I and II sports except football.

Jesih said she was pleased to have the opportunity to celebrate the day with close friends and fellow seniors Emily Mannion, who signed with Division II Clarion for soccer, and Marina Grado, who will continue at the next level on the women’s basketball team at Division III Washington & Jefferson.

“It was really special. It was almost surreal that it was happening,” Jesih said.

“Getting the chance to do it with two of my best friends who I’ve grown up with, it’s awesome we are all doing this the same day. It’s a really big accomplishment, and I couldn’t be any happier.”

Jesih said it took a lot of work, a lot of late nights, a lot of lifting in the weight room, and a lot of practice to get to where she is on the doorstep of a Division I soccer career.

“It’s been a long journey, but I am ready to get started,” she said. “There are a lot of local girls going to Robert Morris. It has that local feel, and I think there are a lot of good things coming up for the team.”

The Colonials finished the 2022 season 7-7-4 overall and were 1-7-2 in a competitive Horizon League schedule.

Jesih recently was selected to the All-WPIAL list in Class 3A, and joined Mannion and Daniella Garner, both senior midfielders, on the All-Section 3 team.

Gateway (4-11-1, 4-7-1) challenged for a WPIAL playoff spot before falling five points shy of fourth-place Penn-Trafford.

Mannion said she is excited for the chance to make a difference for a Clarion team which hopes to build on its 4-11-3 overall record and 3-10-3 mark in PSAC matches.

“They have some midfielders leaving, and I think it’s a great opportunity for me to make my way into the midfield and challenge for playing time right away,” said Mannion, also a member of the Hotspurs club program.

“I want to help them score goals and do whatever I can to help them win games.

“It took so much hard work and effort to be able to reach my dreams of playing in college. Contacting college coaches and getting your name out there is what it takes, and I am grateful that I was able to go through the process to find the right fit for me and a home for the next four years. It is such a relief to have that weight off your shoulders and know you made the right decision.”

Grado has begun preseason practices — the first day for all PIAA winter sports teams was Monday — with her Gateway girls basketball team. But before that happened, she was able to celebrate her decision to join a Presidents team coming off a monster 2021-22 season in which it went 23-5 overall, 17-1 in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference, won the PAC title and played in the NCAA Tournament.

W&J is off to a 1-0 start with a 67-53 victory at nationally-ranked Marietta last Tuesday (Nov. 8).

“The team and coaches at W&J are great,” said Grado, who hopes to help turn around the fortunes of a Gators team which went 5-13 overall last year and 4-8 in Section 4-5A.

“They have a great unity as a team, and the players have shown strong chemistry. I knew I wanted to be a part of that.

“If you asked me freshman year if I was going to be playing in college, I would’ve have expected it. But it has worked out so well the past couple of years, and this is a great opportunity to keep playing. We’re all extremely grateful for all the friends, family, teammates and coaches who have helped and supported us along the way.”

Gateway athletic director Don Holl said additional signings and college announcements are expected in the coming weeks and months.

This NLI signing period for soccer, swimming and diving, cross country, track and field, tennis, volleyball, field hockey, wrestling, rifle, baseball, softball and basketball in Division II continues through Aug. 1 of next year.

Division I basketball’s early signing period ended Wednesday (Nov. 16). The regular period begins April 12 and runs up to and including May 17.

Football’s early period for Division I and II is Dec. 21-23. The traditional regular period begins Feb. 1 and ends April 1 for Division I and Aug. 1 for Division II.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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