Spring-Ford goalkeeper Jenna Griggs going to Drexel

It wasn’t unusual for Jenna Griggs’ teammates to describe her as a ‘ rock’ between the posts.

It’s exactly what she was for a Spring-Ford girls soccer team that reached back-to-back PIAA tournaments, far exceeding the past results of the Rams.

The Spring-Ford senior now has her sights set on being the same type of ‘ rock’ for her new team at the NCAA Division I level while learning more about them in the classroom.

Griggs’ destination is Drexel University, where she will study geology and join the Dragons’ women’s soccer program after signing a letter of intent in February.

Drexel was just the academic and athletic blend Griggs sought.

“It’s a great school with a lot of opportunities. I’m studying geology and their science program is excellent. I talked to some of the professors and the availability to work a co-op job during your years there really stuck out to me, being able to get professional experience and earn money while I’m in college,’ said Griggs, who plans to pursue a career in the ‘ mining and energy industry.’

“It will give me the opportunity to look at the real world and what I’ll be dealing with for the rest of my life.’

It’s that kind of mature, level-headed approach that allowed Griggs to be a success for her soccer teams.

Her path to Drexel was paved by a relationship between Tom Haney, the head coach of her club team Upper Salford FC Strikers, and Drexel assistant Don Overmier. The two coach the Eastern Pa. Youth Soccer U17 Olympic Development Program team together.

“I was fortunate enough to have my goalie coaches and club coach reach out and talk to (Overmier) and he became interested in watching me play,’ Griggs said. “I was interested in (Drexel) and when I went there to visit I liked everything.’

Griggs feels fortunate to have had coaches who helped her believe she could play at the next level.

“I’ve been lucky to have coaches that pushed me to work harder every year and as I got closer and closer they felt I coach play in college,’ Griggs said. “I kept looking to play in college once I knew that was an option for me. Obviously it’s been a dream of mine to play soccer past high school. I’m happy I can play.’

She showed she can play while emerging as the starter at Spring-Ford during her junior year. She then helped the Rams on an unprecedented run to the PIAA final (where the Rams fell to Neshaminy in overtime) that included the school’s first PAC-10 championship and PIAA wins over top-ranked Cumberland Valley and shutouts of Downingtown East (1-0) and Seneca Valley (1-0 OT) in the semifinals.

As a senior, Griggs and the Rams (18-5-3) followed it up with another PAC-10 title and spot in states, this time reaching the quarterfinals. Griggs was the shining star in Spring-Ford’s first-round win as she made two penalty saves in a 1-1 (4-2 on penalty kicks) victory over Cumberland Valley.

“From looking at my whole high school career, we could barely make the PAC-10 playoffs at the start. The next year we made districts and then seeing the team push in the next two years to play in states really stands out. Making the playoff push to make states and be on the big stage was really cool.’

She can get used to being on the big stage. Drexel awaits.


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