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Tillett to continue career at MTSU

SHOT: Huntington North’s Hannah Tillett prepares to fire a shot during the Vikings’ game against Homestead during last season’s sectional tournament.

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@h-ponline.com

Hannah Tillett spent much of the last four years rewriting the Huntington North girls’ soccer program’s record books.

And rewriting. And rewriting. And rewriting.

Now, she will be taking her talents a bit further south to Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) as she looks to do the same for the Raiders.

After an award-laden senior season, Tillett will continue her soccer career at the Division I level next fall in Murfreesboro, TN.

“It really means the world to me,” Tillett said. “Soccer is, it’s cliché, but soccer is my life and I couldn’t imagine it without soccer.”

The decision to attend MTSU was one Tillett, who will major in sports management with a minor in business, made based on as much off-the-field as on-field factors.

“In my major at MTSU, they have a program that will allow me to get my Masters in four years with taking some classes in the summer here and there,” she said. “Besides just the pure academics, I think that the coaches share my goals and have the tools that can get me to where I want to go even past college in my playing career.”

Tillett racked up numerous accolades both locally and state-wide this season, ranging from All-Conference honors all the way to First Team All-State. Tillett is also nominated for the Female Athlete of the Year in Indiana, an award that will be announced in April.

On the year, Tillett finished with 45 goals and 40 assists in 18 games, both single-season records for Huntington North. For her career, she finished with 107 goals and 98 assists in 55 games over four seasons.

“She was a dynamic playmaker. She’s been an unbelievable player just to have in the program as far as being a leader and an example to players as she’s been here,” Huntington North head coach Jeremy Steele said. “She’s set records. Off the field, she’s a great student in the classroom and everything. She’s a fantastic player within our program. We’re obviously very sad to see her go but we’re excited for her as well as she moves into her future and the thing that lie ahead for her.”

And while Tillett’s on-field production drew plenty of headlines, her contributions were comprised of more than goals and assists.

“Hannah can be intimidating at times because of her natural ability so she’s an excellent leader in the fact that she’s able to relate to others,” Steele said. “That can be an intimidating thing to go up against Hannah in practice or in games or things of that nature. But it’s never a thing for Hannah to put others down or to degrade them because maybe they don’t have the same ability or talent level she has. She’s a fantastic leader in helping to motivate and push her teammates to get better.

“She sets that example by constantly training and constantly working to improve herself and other players see that and other players realize how much time she’s put into to get to the point she currently is.”

With Tillett leading the way, the Vikings finished 31-4-1 over the last two seasons and split the Northeast 8 Conference title in 2017. As a team, Huntington North scored 200 goals while conceding just 26 over the last two seasons.

“She goes down with a very strong legacy with the Huntington North girls’ soccer program,” Steele said. “She’s a First Team All-State player that has our records for goals and assists and goals in a season and you can continue to go down the line. Those will no doubt stand for a long time to come. Again, it goes back to her hard work and the effort and the time she’s put into improving and we’re proud of her for those efforts and those things that she accomplished. It’s been an exciting four years.”

With her legacy in Huntington established, Tillett now moves to a Raider program that has established a strong legacy of their own.

MTSU appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and have a Sun Belt regular season and tournament title to-date. Now a member of Conference USA, the Raiders finished 8-10 overall last season and 5-5 in league play.

But with only two seniors graduating, the future is bright for the Raiders. And for Tillett, making an impact from day one will be her top priority.

“Hopefully getting a starting position and just making an impact right way,” she said of her goals once on campus. “Whether that’s on the bench, wherever they need me, I’ll be there to help the team out.”