MOUNT WASHINGTON - A feel for the past worked out just fine for Bullitt East senior Katie Stewart this spring when she signed to play soccer at Kentucky Wesleyan.
After looking at and working out with Campbellsville University, Stewart made the decision to head west to play in Owensboro with the Lady Panthers.
In the end, it came down to Stewart feeling like she was stepping into a situation much like she had done four years earlier when she started her career at Bullitt East.
“The team was just a lot smaller and more like my high school team,” Stewart said after making it all official in the school lobby. “I came into high school with a new coach. The team is young like us. I felt like I could be a part of it like I was at Bullitt East.”
Stewart’s first-season at Bullitt East was under then first-year head coach Britney Orme. Now, Stewart will join a Lady Panther program that is under the direction of head coach Jamie Duvall who was just hired in January.
In addition, Stewart joins a program that graduated both of its goalies from last season.
The first contact between Duvall and Stewart was the normal email that college coaches send out to area high school coaches asking about any players that might be interested in playing at the next level. Orme responded with Stewart’s name and it grew from there.
“They saw my information and needed a goal keeper and he emailed me,” Stewart recalled. “I went down for what they called a try-on. Then I made the team.”
Stewart visited the campus on April 16 and made her final decision a few days later. She joins a program that struggled last season, finishing with a 4-13 record overall and going 2-12 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play. Kentucky Wesleyan is an NCAA Division II program.
The 18-year old daughter of Mark and Judy Stewart did not play soccer until she arrived at Bullitt East. She had been a basketball player, but with that sport loaded at Bullitt East, she opted to give soccer a try. Her freshman season she was a fullback and then transitioned to goalie where she has been the starter the past three seasons.
As a senior, Stewart played for a Lady Charger team that posted a 17-4-2 mark. In half of her 20 starts, Stewart did not allow a goal. For the season, she only gave up .9 goals a contest.
While in college, Stewart would like to major in Criminal Justice and perhaps move on to political science and then law school.
Stewart, who has a younger brother, Carson, who is a sophomore at Bullitt East, is working at Kart Country in Shepherdsville, but will be making a trip to Owensboro on June 10 for both academic and athletic start-up meetings.
While Stewart was the Bullitt East goalie for the past three seasons, she points to a favorite memory being in a game against Waggener in which the Lady Chargers had a comfortable lead and she was moved up to the front and scored her only career goal.
“Having that memory is pretty awesome,” Stewart said.
The obvious support from her parents and Orme was important, but Stewart also noted that assistant coaches Steve Gentry and Becky Lancaster also helped in her development.
“I would not be anywhere without them,” she said. “They stayed after practice and worked with me. They helped guide me in making my (college) decision.”