‘Know your potential’: Archer’s senior athletes sign college letters of intent

Seniors+Faith+Soriano+and+Isabella+Specchierla+smile+as+they+sign+their+National+Letters+of+Intent+and+Commitment+in+the+amphitheater.+After+12+years+of+training+in+their+sports%2C+Soriano+committed+to+play+softball+at+California+State+University+Monterey+Bay%2C+and+Specchierla+committed+to+play+soccer+at+Swarthmore+University.

Photo credit: Lucy Williams

Seniors Faith Soriano and Isabella Specchierla smile as they sign their National Letters of Intent and Commitment in the amphitheater. After 12 years of training in their sports, Soriano committed to play softball at California State University Monterey Bay, and Specchierla committed to play soccer at Swarthmore University. 

By Lucy Williams, Senior Reporter

Senior Faith Soriano has played softball since she was 5 years old. She has dove in the dirt for line drives since she was 5. She has driven to games in Orange County since she was 5.

Senior Isabella Specchierla has played soccer since she was 5 years old. She has put on her cleats early in the morning since she was 5. She has yelled at teammates receiving a pass to “get to the goal” since she was 5.

These graduating seniors won’t be retiring their gear: they will be chasing their lifelong dreams. Dreams they’ve had since they were children.

Specchierla and Soriano signed athletic National Letters of Intent and Commitment Wednesday, May 4. Students waved banners and teammates cheered as upper schoolers watched the signings in the amphitheater. Specchierla committed to play Division III soccer for Swarthmore College, and Soriano committed to play Division II softball for California State University Monterey Bay.

Senior Gabby Wolf will be signing to play Division III soccer for Case Western Reserve University, but her signing ceremony was postponed due to absence.

Soriano and Specchierla said they spent months compiling footage for an athletic highlight reel and sent them to colleges prior to visiting. Speccierla, interested in a liberal arts school, said she loved Swarthmore’s atmosphere. Soriano said she visited Cal State Monterey Bay after receiving many recommendations from friends. On their visits, both seniors practiced with their respective teams and said they felt a strong connection with the players.

“I built a relationship with Coach Todd and then went out to Swarthmore, and I fell in love with the campus and the environment,” Specchierla said. “I met some of the girls from the team and went to a class, and the energy made me decide it was where I wanted to spend the next four years of my life.”

Both students said they made sacrifices as student-athletes, such as their social lives. Specchierla said she had to prioritize schoolwork over sleep many times to turn in homework assignments or drive to away games. She got injured frequently and said the constant recovery periods were exhausting.

“It was a struggle to overcome my injuries and come back to playing,” Specchierla said. “It’s important to know your potential as a player. To any athlete who wants to take their sport to a higher level, I suggest finding confidence within you. People along the line may not see that potential, but don’t let it influence you.”

To any athlete who wants to take their sport to a higher level, I suggest finding confidence within you. People along the line may not see that potential, but don’t let it influence you.”

— Isa Speccierla ('22)

Two other seniors from the Class of 2022 have signed National Letters of Intent and Commitment. Senior Vaughan Anoa’i signed to play Division I volleyball at Georgetown University Thursday, Nov. 18. Thea Leimone (’22) signed to swim at Columbia University Wednesday, Nov. 17.

“Over the four years, Vaughan, Thea and all the athletes have shared our struggles,” Soriano said. “We’ve seen each other’s accomplishments, and it’s really nice to come together.”

Soriano said her father, Lyndon Soriano, is her greatest supporter. She said without his dedication to her training, she would not have made the journey to play for CSMB’s softball team.

“My dad has been to almost every single game. In my backyard, he made a pitching mound and a whole batting cage,” Soriano said. “My family has always been there, even when I didn’t believe in myself.”

Lyndon Soriano sat on the sidelines from the moment his daughter started softball to the moment she signed the agreement Wednesday. He matched with his wife, Nerissa Marzan-Soriano, in a CSMB shirt and hat, and tears streamed down their cheeks as they filmed her signing.

“I’m so proud. She’s wanted this since she was 5 years old. She’s worked so hard and grown so much,” Lyndon Soriano said. “It’s incredible to see where she’s going, and it means so much to my wife and I how great this opportunity is for her.”

Specchierla said that along with training frequently, she looks forward to a whole new community of soccer players to bond with in college.

“The community is a huge aspect of it,” Specchierla said. “There’s something so special about playing a sport that you love alongside people who have the same passion for that sport.”

In the clip below, Soriano and Specchierla are interviewed by Athletic Leadership Council member Zoe Griffin (’23) during the signing ceremony. They spoke about why they chose their colleges and their experiences visiting the campuses.