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Burtraw leaves mark in soccer

By JASON LESLIE/ VN SPECIAL WRITER
On March 24, 2015

By Jason Leslie

VN SPECIAL WRITER

 

When a student-athlete transfers from one school to another, it can be hard to make an impact in the new program.

Current redshirt soccer senior Haley Burtraw is an exception.

She has ascended to new heights in her second collegiate program, at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Burtraw played other sports growing up, including volleyball and basketball, but playing soccer in college was her dream since age 8.

Upon graduation from Rochester High School, Burtraw attended Central Michigan University to play soccer and pursue a bachlor’s degree in sociology.

After an injury upon arrival on campus, Burtraw redshirted her freshman year.

During her second season, she played in nine matches off the bench. Following that season, Burtraw decided to make a change and transfer schools.

 “I was looking at Oakland and Detroit because I wanted to be closer to home,” she said. “Detroit was the best situation for me.”

When Burtraw arrived at UDM, she was immediately inserted into the starting line-up, playing and starting in 17 games during her sophomore campaign in the center midfield position.

Senior captain Alyssa Riley recalls her arrival three seasons ago.

“You could see that there was obvious talent,” she said. “She hit every long ball possible with a lot of precision.”

Halfway through her junior season, Burtraw moved from midfield to defense, and found a home that suited her nicely.

According to Riley, Burtraw’s defensive play for the Titans this past season has been impactful.

“There were a lot of opportunities where we could have gotten scored on, but she always seemed to be there to save us,” she said.

The always-reliable member of the backline was rewarded at the end of the season by being named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year. She also received first-team all-league honors. Both of the awards are voted upon by coaches in the conference.

In addition to her awards on the field, Burtraw has been recognized for her performance in the classroom. She has been a member of the athletic director’s honor roll during all three years at UDM.

Burtraw will not only be missed on the field next season, but off the field as well, said sophomore biochemistry major Kristen Tobin.

“Haley’s my best friend,” she said, “and it will be weird not playing with someone who constantly encourages not just me, but the team as a whole. It will be very quiet next year without her laughing and making jokes.”

Burtraw is planning on pursuing a master’s degree in counseling at UDM.

Although her NCAA playing career may be complete, soccer will still be a big part of her life.

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