Tillitt headed to CU

Kenzie Tillitt has always considered the University of Colorado her "dream college".

On Wednesday afternoon at Carson High, Tillitt realized that dream when she became an official member of the Colorado family after signing a national letter-of-intent in front of family friends, teachers and a few media members.

"I can't believe I get to go there and play," Tillitt said before signing her official paperwork. "My dad went there and my brother just graduated from there. It's a win-win situation.

"The only other school that was interested was the Naval Academy. I told my mom that if I didn't get into Colorado that I would go to the Naval Academy and serve."

Tillitt, arguably the top field player in Northern Nevada, was recruited by the Buffaloes to play goalkeeper, a spot she has played since starting at the club level. She rarely played goalie for the Senators because the team needed her more in the field and Emmy Heller was more than capable between the posts.

"She expressed interest in coming here," Colorado coach Danny Sanchez said. "We went and watched her at a tournament in Phoenix last February. She looked good. We got to know her a little bit and found that she had a brother who was a senior at CU.

"She is a good athlete and good quickness. She has a lot of upside. She hasn't seen a ton of top-flight competition, but I think she'll really grow going into a year-round program."

Anybody who knows Tillitt, knows that she has a fire that burns eternally. She only knows one way to play the game, and that's all out every second. She is counting on that determination to get her n the mix for playing time next fall.

"There is a senior goalkeeper (Annie Brunner) coming back," Tillitt said. "I've been told that I can come in and compete for a job. Danny is expecting nothing less from me. I'll get playing time."

Tillitt said she and Brunner have completely different styles of play.

"She (Brunner) is 5-11 (actually 5-9, according to the media guide) and she's old fashioned shot stopper," said the Carson senior. "I'm more like an 11th field player. I'm sure we'll be compared, but not in our styles of play. She had an amazing year last year (1.14 goals against average).

"I wouldn't be opposed if I had to redshirt, but I believe I can come in and start. They want me to use my talent; take advantage of what I do the best. I'm quick and good with my feet. The coaches told me they recruited me because of my style and play."

What Tillitt is saying that what she lacks in height (5-5 or 5-6) she more than makes up for in other areas.

"We don't get caught up in (size) and what a prototypical goalie is," Sanchez said. "Kenzie is athletic and she led her team in scoring, so she has tremendous ability. We want our goalie to be a soccer player. I expect her to play."

And so does her coach, Greg Lehman.

"She is such a hard worker," Lehman said. "She has a strong desire. She knows what it takes. I'm excited for her."

Other than not winning a state title, Tillitt accomplished pretty much everything she wanted at Carson.

"I want to have a big of impact in Colorado as I did here," Tillitt said. "I'm hoping to be one of the first to help Colorado get to the NCAAs."


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