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Hornbaker nets dream, signs with Monmouth

February 15, 2006|by ANDREW MASON

andrewm@herald-mail.com

Clear Spring senior Jackie Hornbaker "is every coach's dream," according to Jeff Semler, her high school soccer coach.

Playing at the NCAA Division I level is Hornbaker's dream.

This fall, it will be a reality.

Hornbaker recently signed a letter of intent with Monmouth University of Long Branch, N.J. She said she'll receive a partial athletic scholarship to play goalkeeper for the Hawks, who went 3-5-1 in the Northeast Conference and 5-9-3 overall last fall.

"They were actually the first school that showed a big interest in me. They began recruiting me junior year," Hornbaker said. "I went to look at a few other schools (such as Stony Brook and Bryant universities), but Monmouth seemed to fit me the best.

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"The soccer was the best at Monmouth, the campus was the size I was looking for and the girls really seemed like a group I could get along with and play with. ... I'm looking to go in and compete with two other goalkeepers for starting time."

Hornbaker started all four years for the Blazers. She played midfielder her first two seasons and goalkeeper the last two.

Hornbaker never played for a winning Clear Spring team or ranked among the area leaders in goalie stats.

"In my opinion, she was always the best goalkeeper in the area," Semler said. "She's got great vision of the field and can play with her feet probably as well as any keeper I've ever seen. But she didn't have someone like a Cara Thompson (North Hagerstown's star defender) or an Emily Burger (Smithsburg's star defender) in front of her. When you have defenders of that caliber in front of you, it makes you look a whole lot better.

"If you looked at saves and shots, she would have been a leader, but not in shutouts or goals against."

Hornbaker was first team All-MVAL Antietam and All-Washington County and second team All-Area as a junior.

Her senior season, however, ended after the team's fourth game. She said she was one of the 14 Clear Spring players suspended from the team in September for attending a party where alcohol was served.

"We violated the contract we signed with Washigton County," Hornbaker said. "We had to face the consequences."

She said that didn't affect Monmouth's interest in her.

"I talked it over with them and they understood the situation," she said.

"She made a mistake," Semler said. "If that's the biggest mistake she ever makes in her life, she's golden."

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