Former Polk County standout Ashley Love

A week ago, Ashley Love wasn’t even certain where she would be attending college.

Now the Polk County senior has both her college choice and a chance to continue her athletic career in hand.

Love has accepted an opportunity to join the women’s soccer programĀ at Emory & Henry, a private liberal arts college in Emory, Virgina. Wasps head coach Linda Schirmeister-Gess was in attendance Wednesday when Polk County faced Owen and offered Love a spot on the team after the game.

Already planning to attend Emory & Henry, from where her stepfather graduated, the decision to accept the offer was an easy one.

“My mom and I have talked since middle school about me wanting to play college sports,” Love said. “It’s awesome that I don’t have to think that my last high school game is going to be my last game.”

Leaning toward attending Wofford College or Anderson College, Love toured Emory & Henry last weekend. She spent some time during that visit talking with Schirmeister-Gess, and that discussion led to Wednesday’s visit and offer.

But Love was already sold on the campus – and soccer program – before the good news.

“I feel in love with how beautful the school is,” Love said. “I love (Schirmeister-Gess). I’d want to be around her even if I wasn’t playing.

“I’ve never been at a big school, so I didn’t want to be overwhelmed. I like how involved they are with the students. Since I got my acceptance letter, they’ve been emailing me, they’ve called, they’ve got a Facebook group I’ve joined. They’ve been really involved, and I like that.”

Love has scored a team-leading 15 goals this season for Polk County, also leading the team in assists with 13. An all-Western Highlands Conference selection last season, Love shared team offensive player of the year honors with Samantha Firby after scoring 16 goals while helping lead Polk to the third round of the state 2A playoffs.

Love will be one of two Polk County seniors heading to Emory & Henry to play soccer, with Wil Rimer also planning to play at the school.

A member of the Division III Old Dominion Athletic Conference, Emory & Henry finished 3-12-3 this season. The Wasps are slated to graduate just three seniors from the squad.