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GIRLS' PREP SOCCER: Central's Haberman finds home at Murray (02/10)

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By Josh Claywell

Savannah Haberman thought she had her future secured.

Early in her junior season, the standout Central Hardin goalkeeper had verbally committed to Eastern Kentucky University.

But a coaching switch changed everything, so Haberman reopened her recruiting.

“I was thinking I had to start all over again, and that was a long process,” she said. “I was happy with it. I knew where I was going and I got all the preparation out of the way. I was content. I had already had everything taken care of with Eastern, and I was worried about a lot of things when that happened. But it worked out for the best.”

Indeed it did.

Haberman’s future was set – this time for good – when she signed a national letter of intent Friday morning in the Central Hardin library to play for Murray State.

After spending time on campus, Haberman realized Murray State was the place for her. During her initial recruiting, she wasn’t sure that would be the case.

“I had a closed mind to Murray at first because it’s not really in a big city,” Haberman said. “But this year, I went back and spent some time on the campus for a while and spent a whole day with the coach. It’s a really nice campus and I could see myself there.

“Murray really is the perfect fit for me,” she added. “It’s kind of funny how I was dead-set on not going to Murray, but I learned to appreciate everything about it.”

Haberman, who will get a full ride between athletic and academic scholarships, is glad to have the process over – again.

“I was only verbally committed (to Eastern) and the head coach left, and I was worried what would happen to my scholarship,” she said. “So I started looking at other places and I found out later that I would be able to keep my scholarship at Eastern. But at that point, I started looking into my options and I got more excited about Murray. I couldn’t turn down an offer like that; I couldn’t say no. In the end, it really was the best choice.”

Veteran Central Hardin coach Hal Bender said he didn’t know what would happen with Haberman after she decommitted from Eastern Kentucky. But he thinks Murray is a great for her.

“When I found out the coach wasn’t coming back, I was real worried about what Savannah was going to do,” Bender said. “I knew she’d have offers, but I was worried about her making that decision. I’m glad she’s going to Murray; I think it’s a great school. She’s going to get the chance to play early, so it’s a great opportunity for her.

“I’m extremely proud,” he added. “She had a dream and she went after it. I love to see that.”

Haberman will be united with a former 17th District rival at Murray. Former Elizabethtown star Halle Pinkham will be a sophomore next season.

“We kind of laughed about it,” Haberman said of becoming teammates with Pinkham. “I’m excited for it. Halle’s a great player and I’m excited to have her on my back line.”

Haberman said she’ll get a chance to start right away for the Racers, who went 4-12 this past season. Murray State went 2-7 in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Haberman is the only goalkeeper Murray State coach Beth Acreman signed this year.

“I’m ready and I’m nervous because I know it’s a different level,” Haberman said. “It is kind of nerve-wracking to go into a whole new division. Girls will have experience on me, but it’s an excited nervous. It’ll be my chance to step up and be better.”

Haberman plans to major in international business or healthcare management and minor in Spanish.

After thinking she had found where she was meant to be last year, Haberman now believes Murray is that place.

“My mom loves that school,” she said. “Murray is close to home and has good education. And I’m going to a great team with great people. It feels like home.”

Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or jclaywell@thenewsenterprise.com.