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Former Granger ready to be a Panther

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

She’s coming home.

For three seasons, Maurie White was a goal keeper for the LaGrange High girls’ soccer team, and she enjoyed tremendous individual and team success.

White capped her high-school career with a memorable performance against Marist in the second round of the state tournament.

Although LaGrange lost that game 3-0, White was exceptional, making a surplus of outstanding saves against a Marist team that at the time was ranked second in the country according to Maxpreps.com.

That game put an end to White’s phenomenal high-school career, but her time as a competitive soccer player isn’t over.

After spending a year at the University of Georgia, White is returning home to attend LaGrange College where she’ll be a member of the women’s soccer program.

When LaGrange College opens its season in September, White will be on the team, perhaps in the net as the starting goal keeper, although she’ll have plenty of competition for that spot.

“I really enjoyed the big atmosphere of Georgia and the school work and stuff, but I’ve always loved playing sports, and I always wanted to play in college,” White said. “So when I got the opportunity to do this, I said I’ve just got to take it. I’m super-excited.”

White was a relatively late arrival to soccer, and she believes that has helped her keep her enthusiasm level for the sport high.

“I didn’t start until my sophomore year,” White said. “I’d never really played before that. It made me enjoy it a lot more, whereas the other girls had been there longer had maybe been burned out. I’m just at the beginning of it, so I just love it.”

For the past month, White has been working closely with her former high-school coach, Colin Ross, in an effort to be as prepared as possible when practice begins in August.

For four days a week since the start of June, Ross has been meeting with White at LaGrange College, pushing her and leading her through a number of intensive drills.

“He knows my potential, and he’s trying to help me reach it,” White said of Ross.

The summer workouts have helped White get back up to speed.

“I think the hardest part coming back is I’ve been out for a year, so I’m having to catch up,” White said. “It’s a lot of work. When you’ve been away for a long time, it’s hard to remember all the different stuff. Him working me out has helped me get back in the game.”

White has thrown herself into the drills 100 percent, which doesn’t surprise Ross in the least.

“That’s always been her character with everything,” Ross said. “Going back to the other sports that she played, softball, and competition cheerleading. It’s that mindset of striving to be the best. I think it’s a huge credit to her former coaches, in softball, in competition cheer.”

White joined LaGrange High’s soccer program as a sophomore in 2016, and the team had a winning record and advanced to the state tournament that year. In White’s final two seasons, LaGrange captured back-to-back region championships and won three state-tournament games.

White satisfied her competitive itch a bit at Georgia by playing intra-mural soccer, but it wasn’t the same.

She wanted to play for a college team, and LaGrange College seemed like the ideal fit.

White met with LaGrange College coach Fred Wagenaar, and she knew she’d found the right place.

“(Wagenaar) took me on a tour around the locker room and showed me some of the class rooms,” White said. “And I knew him prior from some LaGrange practices. He’s super-nice. He set up a bunch of meetings with me and helped me get here.”

When White played club soccer with the Troup Titans, she was teammates with Chloe McGuffin, Breanna Gay and Adreanna Creed.

This fall, those four will be teammates once again, much to the delight of White.

“It’s nice being in LaGrange,” White said. “It’s my home, and I get to play right next to my old stadium. I think it’ll be super-cool, and I’ll be on the team with girls that I played with. It’s exciting.”

White, Ross added, is just the sort of student-athlete Wagenaar is eager to bring aboard.

“I think what Fred looks for is what Maurie has to offer,” Ross said. “She’s not just a committed player, but a good person. She’s 100 percent committed to everything she does.”