Penn-Trafford’s Taylor Lloyd, Malia Kearns commit to D-I soccer programs
Monday, February 15, 2021 | 4:08 PM
It was a productive weekend for the Penn-Trafford girls soccer team.
The Warriors saw two standout players make verbal commitments to NCAA Division I programs.
Junior goalkeeper Taylor Lloyd announced a pledge to Youngstown State, and junior forward Malia Kearns declared her intentions to play at Robert Morris.
Lloyd, who trains with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Academy, made 153 saves last season and posted a pair of shutouts for Penn-Trafford.
“I was talking to a couple other schools, but Youngstown was definitely the best fit for me,” Lloyd said. “I love the coaches and want to be part of the team they are building. I really like all the facilities at YSU, and it’s not too far from home.”
Kearns, a Beadling Soccer Club player, said she had offers from a number of other programs, from the Big South, Mid-American, ACC, Big East and Sun Belt conferences.
“I always knew I wanted to play at the Division I level,” she said. “It’s always been a goal of mine.
“I wanted to stay close to home, and I really like the new RMU coaches, Chris Shaw and Nuno Gourgel — and their vision for the team. They just moved into the Horizon League. They have a really good special education program, which I am interested in.”
Penn-Trafford coach Jimmy Mastroianni said Lloyd and Kearns, through their work ethic, are “an inspiration to all of those around them.” Lloyd is one of his team’s most aggressive players.
“We are so proud and excited for Taylor. It’s well deserved,” Mastroianni said. “She is our team’s voice and eyes back there. She never hesitates to sacrifice her body for the play. Her leadership and ability to recover quickly kept us in many games. YSU is lucky to have her.”
Lloyd, a vocal leader and all-section player who calls herself an “aggressive and explosive player,” said it can be a challenge to get recruited to play keeper at the Division I level.
Her work with the Riverhounds helped to get her name on the radar.
“Some games you don’t see any shots, and you can’t really show off your talent,” she said. “I am so thankful for everything provided to me by the Riverhounds, especially the amazing training that my goalkeeper coach, Hunter Gilstrap, has given me. I feel like my hard work has definitely paid off.”
Kearns, one of the faster, shiftier players to play at Penn-Trafford, scored eight goals and had three assists for the Warriors, who finished 5-6-2 last season and lost to Seneca Valley in the first round of the WPIAL Class4A playoffs.
She was the team’s MVP and earned All-WPIAL honors.
“There are so many positive things to say about Malia,” Mastroianni said. “She is very electrifying and can change the flow of the game in the blink of an eye. Since she was a freshman, she has led by example, bringing out the best in her teammates and anyone that she competes with. She is also one of the most unselfish players on the field.”
As far as what she can bring to the Colonials’ program, Kearns said, “I think my enthusiastic personality and creative playing style is what attracted the RMU coaches to me. I also hope to make an immediate impact and help the team be successful in the Horizon League.”
Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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