Girls Soccer: Trio of Lakota West freshman commit to D-I programs

Three freshmen from Lakota West High School recently committed to high-level Division I college women’s soccer programs, and they may be among the last players to get that opportunity at this point in their careers.

Cincinnati Development Academy players Maddie Prohaska, Kailyn Dudukovich and Sydney Jones made their college choices within the last two months and now avoid any potential impact of the April 25 implementation of a new NCAA rule that seeks to prevent coaches from recruiting players before their junior year.

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Prohaska chose Auburn last week, following recent decisions by Dudukovich and Jones to play at Ohio State. The trio does not play for Lakota West because the Cincinnati DA doesn’t allow it. The academy just kicked off its first season in the fall and is part of a national program serving as a pathway to the U.S. Soccer youth national teams.

“With the new rule coming out, I didn’t want to wait,” said Jones, who committed in March. “I knew it was where I wanted to go, and I didn’t see any reason not to make my decision.”

Dudukovich said she originally planned to wait a little longer to make her decision, but with the new rule coming into effect, she realized she was ready. Many other players she knew had already announced commitments well before her.

“Being around a lot of great players, a lot were committing before me, but I think I made sure I was really ready,” Dudukovich said.

The forward plays for the U.S. Under-16 Girls’ National Team and just last week helped the squad to a title at the U-17 Women’s Torneo delle Nazioni in Italy. Team USA went 3-0 in pool play, beating Iran, Slovenia and Italy, and topped Japan, 5-0, in the final, and Dudukovich finished with four goals and two assists as the U.S. outscored its opponents 24-0 for the tournament.

She committed to OSU just before leaving for Italy, during an unofficial visit April 15. She chose the Buckeyes over Duke and Penn State, who also were in her top 3.

“When I went on campus I just really loved it and felt at home,” Dudukovich said. “I think I would get the perfect combination of great academics as well as great soccer there, and the coaching staff would push me to reach my goals.”

Jones, who plays right outside back, grew up liking Ohio State but originally didn’t want to go there.

She was considering Tennessee, Louisville, Duke, Penn State and Auburn but on her first visit – to Tennessee – she realized she didn’t want to go far from home.

“I said I was going to go to California or something, but then I started visiting other colleges and I realized I didn’t want to go far from home,” Jones said. “When I got to Ohio State, I just loved it.”

Prohaska, a goalkeeper, also thought she would wait longer to make a decision, but after visiting Auburn, nothing else compared.

She also had the guidance of her older sister, Notre Dame-bound basketball player Abby Prohaska, and felt confident in her choice.

“When I was down on campus, I got a feeling like, ‘This is where I need to be,’” Maddie Prohaska said. “The coaching staff is wonderful, and I know they will help get me where I want to be. I just fell in love. I kept visiting other campuses, but it just was not the same feeling I got at Auburn.”

Prohaska said “it’s a little crazy” to think she already has her college decision made as a freshman but she has no doubts she made the right choice.

Her top three also included Tennessee and Ohio State.

“I really know my drive, and this is the exact path I want to take so it’s not too far out of the waters,” she said. “It’s kind of a relief to have it done.”

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