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Article updated: 2/13/2013 9:52 PM

Vernon Hills' Bahlmann bound for soccer at Appalachian State

By Joe Aguilar

On a Vernon Hills basketball team loaded with college-level talent, Brie Bahlmann might be the most athletic player on the court every time she hustles onto it.

A three-sport athlete who will have earned nine varsity letters by the end of the school year, Bahlmann has signed a national letter of intent to play Division I soccer for Appalachian State University.

The girl they call "Breezy" is so athletic that she even suits up as a summer lifeguard.

The senior played volleyball in the fall and has started all season for Vernon Hills' defending Class 3A state runner-up basketball team, which also includes DePaul-bound center Meri Bennett-Swanson and junior stars Sydney Smith and Lauren Webb.

Of all the sports she plays, Bahlmann gets a kick out of soccer the most. It's her favorite.

"It's always been," said the 5-foot-8 Bahlmann, a guard in basketball and versatile defender in soccer. "I think I've played group soccer since I was 7, but I started kicking around a ball when I was 4."

Head coach Sarah Strickland's Appalachian State Mountaineers went 10-8-1, including 7-3-1 in the Southern Conference, in 2012. Appalachian State is located in Boone, N.C.

"People that have gone there have told me it's a great school and they loved it," Bahlmann said. "When I got there (for an overnight visit), everybody just seemed very proud it. I loved that atmosphere."

Bahlmann called her future teammates "super welcoming" on her visit, and she embraced the team's "family-oriented" environment.

"It was kind of a perfect fit," Bahlmann said. "I loved it right away."

Bahlmann is a three-year varsity basketball player who earned honorable mention all-conference honors this winter. She has played varsity soccer for the Cougars since her freshman year, snagging all-conference and all-sectional honors last spring.

In her spare time, she also serves as a peer team leader in her church youth group.

The night before signing her letter of intent last week, Bahlmann helped Vernon Hills' basketball team capture its first North Suburban Conference championship.

Quite a week.

Quite a high school career.

"It's very exciting," Bahlmann said. "I couldn't wait (to sign with Appalachian State)."

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