YORK — Peyton Nickerson first visited the campus of Stonehill College when she was a freshman at York High School.
The senior four-year starter on York’s girls soccer team visited up to 15 other schools after that, but she felt most at home with Stonehill. She gave a verbal commitment to Stonehill in her junior year, and recently signed her National Letter of Intent to continue her education and play soccer at Stonehill.
“It’s ironic that it was the first school I ever visited,” Nickerson said. “I fell in love with the school, but I kept looking at other schools. I did my overnight there a few weeks ago and that just reassured me that was the school I fell in love with and I wanted to go there.”
Stonehill, a member of the Northeast-10 Conference, went 13-7 last season and advanced to the NCAA Division II tournament, falling to the University of Bridgeport, 2-1, in the first round.
“They have a strong team, and the defense is pretty strong right now,” Nickerson said. “Coming in as a freshman you know you are going to come in and work hard and try to earn your spot on the team. I am going to try to work hard and keep up the work I’ve been doing over the past years and I hope I can earn my spot on the team and find some playing time. I am going to do my best to work my way in, but I am happy to be on the team next fall.”
Nickerson was a four-year starter for the Wildcats, who advanced to the Class B South regional finals in her freshman and senior years, and losing in the semifinals in her sophomore and junior seasons.
She started playing for Seacoast United in the sixth grade and played with them for three years before shifting over to GPS Maine for her freshman and sophomore seasons, before going back to Seacoast United for her junior and senior years.
“I know she wanted to play college way back when but in order to do that you have to keep up your passion for the sport, and then you have to get better each year in all phases of the game, not just one,” York head coach Wally Caldwell said. “And that is something she did. I am not surprised that she did. She played Seacoast United and did all the right things. I am thrilled that she is going to play at a place where I think she can get playing time immediately.”
Nickerson also visited many schools, including Saint Anselm, Assumption, Castleton State, Colby and Bates.
She competed in a practice with the Skyhawks last fall.
“As soon as I got on the field I felt comfortable,” Nickerson said. “The team welcomed me with open arms; as soon as we started playing, I felt I fit in very well.”
Nickerson’s biggest highlight at York, according to her, came during her freshman season when the Wildcats beat Cape Elizabeth, 3-2, in double overtime in a Class B South semifinal game.
“It was nothing I did personally,” Nickerson said. “Overall, it was a great team win.”