Getting a chance to continue her soccer career, District 5-AAA Defensive Player of the Year Lillian Lawson inked with Columbia State Monday afternoon.
"I looked at multiple colleges and prayed about it," she related. "God told me this is the best decision for me to be in. It feels like family and I really enjoyed the coaches and the team."
"She's played all four years for us and was our captain," remarked Bearette head coach Savannah Edwards. "She's been a real good goalkeeper for us. She really kept us in a lot of games.
"She's really solid. She covers the whole box and comes out and gets everything she can. She's scrappy. Very passionate. She's really an all-around good player and a good leader for us.
"She's a good student. Very passionate about anything and everything she does," assessed the coach, who has been back with the Bearette program six years total. "She puts her heart and soul in it. A very caring and kind soul. A really good kid."
Lawson become the fourth collegiate signee in Edwards' two seasons at the Bearette helm.
Anna Stoffer was first Bradley player to sign with a NCAA D-I program, when she accepted an offer from Presbyterian (S.C.) last year.
Reagan Harrold signed with Tusculum University last month.
"Maddie Tennant plays (full back, center back) there (at Columbia State), so she'll (Lawson) have a familiar teammate," Coach Edwards commented.
"Going to Columbia State, which just finished their second year, she'll be part of a newer program. They are really excited to have her."
The Lady Chargers went 10-7 overall, 3-3 in TCCAA play this fall, winning the NJCAA Region VII championship, before falling to St. Louis Community College 3-1 in the NJCAA Central District semifinal.
Playing in a conference with Motlow State, SW Tennessee and Dyersburg State, Columbia State outscored its opponents 36-28, with a half-dozen shutouts.
Losing sophomore Jasmine Runk who had 49 saves, but returning freshman Eronia Shabani and her 52 saves, Lawson will be counted on to help in the goal immediately.
"My goal is to get more shutouts than what I had in high school. I had 11 shutouts in my four years here and approximately almost 1,300 (career) saves," Lawson related.
"I want to be able to continue on and play at a four-year school after I finish there. I'll wait and see what opportunities open."
Lawson plans to study physical education and kinesiology (scientific study of human or non-human body movement) while at the Middle Tennessee school.
"Playing here (at Bradley) has meant a lot to me," stated Lawson. "It's been hard, with switching coaches, but from JV to varsity I learned a lot and became a better, strong person because of it.
"My first varsity game in goal was against Grace Academy my freshman year. I played some in the field also that year and my sophomore year as well, but mainly in goal. My junior and senior years I only played in goal."
As for her future plans after completing her education, she hopes to come back to the program she's been a big part of.
"Hopefully one day I'll come back here and help coach the Bearettes," she proclaimed.