By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’ll be a family reunion in Milledgeville.
Last season, LaGrange High graduate Hannah Asbell enjoyed a successful freshman season for the Georgia College & State University.
By the time a new season rolls around this fall, there will be two Asbells playing soccer for Georgia State.
Hannah Asbell, who is in the midst of her senior season at LaGrange, has signed a letter of intent to join the soccer team at Georgia College.
Maggie Asbell celebrated that decision during a signing celebration on Tuesday, and she was joined by friends, teammates, coaches, and family members, including her sister Hannah who is at home for spring break.
“I’m beyond excited, just the fact that we’re going to be at the same school,” Maggie Asbell said. “I start this summer, so I’ll get to have that experience. She’ll be able to show me the ropes.”
Georgia College is getting a gifted player who scored 35 goals during the 2017 season while helping lead LaGrange to a region championship and a spot in the state quarterfinals.
Asbell has been asked to take on a different role this season while some other players do more of the scoring, but as she showed last week against Cedartown when she scored four goals, she still knows how to put the ball in the net.
Asbell added another goal in Tuesday’s 10-0 win over Troup that moved LaGrange to 3-0 in Region 5-AAAA.
“We’re so proud of Maggie, and this a very special day for you and your family,” said Andy Fritchley, who coaches the LaGrange team along with Colin Ross. “We’re behind you 1,000 percent, and we’re so happy with everything you’ve achieved in high school. To close that chapter and open a new chapter in college, we’re so happy for you.”
Ross said he has enjoyed working with both of the sisters, and that they have helped him become a better coach.
“You guys are players that make me and coach Andy have to elevate our coaching game,” Ross said. “We have to figure out ways to make you guys better, and not just the team. I really enjoyed being able to do that, and work on what can I do to get the best out of you as a player.”
One person who is thrilled with the decision is Hannah Asbell, who can’t wait to be reunited with her sister on the field.
“I am so excited,” Hannah Asbell said. “We’ve done everything together since we were 5-years-old. We even did gymnastics together, horseback riding. It’s so cool to see us continue with that. I’m sure we’ll end up rooming together.”
Considering her sister went through the recruiting process a year ago, Maggie Asbell leaned on her for advice while she was exploring her options.
“She knew exactly what I was going through,” Maggie Asbell said. “I was debating whether to go to Western Carolina. But coach Hope (Clark) was incredible.”
Hannah Asbell said her sister will be joined by some other talented freshmen who should contribute right away.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Hannah Asbell said. “And the class that’s coming in with her, they are tremendous. They’re all remarkable players. So we’ll definitely try our hardest to win the (conference) championship.”
Maggie Asbell has some unfinished business at LaGrange.
LaGrange is in the mix for a second consecutive region championship, and the team is hoping to make another deep run at state.
First up will be Friday’s showdown with Chapel Hill in a rematch of the region-championship game from a year ago.
LaGrange prevailed in overtime, and Maggie Asbell made the game-winning kick from 40 yards out.
“I’m looking forward to that one,” Maggie Asbell said. “I’m excited to see how it goes.”