South Elgin senior Savanah Uveges is currently concentrating on the start of the girls basketball season.
But soccer is her future -- and she will get to play it at the Division I level with two of her best friends.
Late in October, Uveges verbally committed to accept a full scholarship offer to play soccer and earn her college degree at the University of Nebraska. She will join St. Charles East's Amanda Hilton and Geneva's Michela Loebel at Nebraska, as each of them has also committed to become Cornhusker soccer players. Teammates with the Fox Valley Strikers club team for several years, the three plan to sign their National Letters of Intent on Feb. 5, 2014.
"I'm very excited," said Uveges Tuesday, just after basketball practice and she and her teammates prepare for their season opener Wednesday night at Huntley. "We always wanted to go to the same college but we never thought it would happen. I really can't believe it. It gives me goose bumps every time I think about it."
There was a time not so long ago when Uveges didn't think she'd be playing soccer in college. After tearing an ACL in July of 2012, she missed the prime recruiting season that fall.
"I was kind of being told soccer wasn't going to happen," said the 5-foot-7 forward. "So I started focusing more on basketball, and that was fine because I love basketball too. I got some offers from Division II and Division III schools and then (Division I) North Dakota State offered a full ride.
"But I knew in my heart it wasn't right."
Uveges had returned to playing basketball for the Storm just six months after surgery, but she took most of the high school soccer season off, returning at the end of the spring season and then continuing on into the club season. That's when she knew she wanted to play soccer in college, if it was still possible.
"I got back on the soccer field and I just knew I had to play soccer," she said. "So, I turned down North Dakota State. I kind of went out on a limb and I knew most of the scholarships were gone, but I got some interest from Missouri and from SIU-E (dwarsville). I called Nebraska and the assistant coach said he'd come and see me play. He did, and they offered me a scholarship over the phone."
She jumped at becoming a Cornhusker, especially knowing Hilton, who committed to Nebraska during her junior year, was going there as well. Loebel's commitment two weeks ago made it even better. She and Hilton will be roommates in Lincoln.
"To be able to go there with my best friends ... I still can't believe it," she said.
In fact, it was Hilton and Loebel who originally got Uveges interested in soccer.
"We started playing AAU basketball together in eighth grade and they convinced me to come and play soccer on their (FV Strikers) team," Uveges said. "The funny part is Amanda and I were enemies in the fifth grade, and now we're going to be roommates. It's just amazing to me."
At Nebraska, Uveges will join a program that this season has reached Top Ten status and is currently preparing to play Boston College Friday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Cornhuskers won the Big Ten regular-season and tournament championships and currently stand at 19-3-1 for the season, ranked No. 10 in the latest NSCAA poll. Coach John Walker, the only women's soccer coach Nebraska has had, is 263-120-24 in his 20th season in Lincoln.
"They have a great team," Uveges said. "I'm just really excited about the opportunity."
She's also grateful to be able to now approach her senior season of basketball and soccer with the college choice made, a feeling she shares with teammate Kennede Miller, who will play basketball at Division III Emery College in Atlanta, Ga. Uveges is a two-time Daily Herald all-area basketball player and was an all-area soccer player her sophomore year.
"Kennede and I were just talking about how now we're just going to be able to play and have fun," Uveges said. "The stress is lifted."