When she received her first scholarship offer, Julia Pritchard jumped on it.
"I decided when I was a sophomore that I would go to Sonoma State," Pritchard said by phone Wednesday.
"They were the first ones to make me a scholarship offer, and I knew I might not get another one."
Pritchard, who is a senior now, plays midfield-forward for a Santa Ynez girls soccer team that, with one game left in the regular season, has clinched its second straight Los Padres League championship. The Pirates are 15-1-1, 12-0-1.
Pritchard leads the league (goals and assists combined) in points with 52. She is far and away the league assists leader with 28. She is tied for fourth in goals with 12.
Wednesday was National Signing Day, and Pritchard signed a national letter of intent that morning at Santa Ynez to attend Division II Sonoma State on what she said is a partial scholarship.
Though Sonoma State was the first to offer her a scholarship, and Pritchard figured she might not get another offer, Pritchard didn't exactly figure she was settling for something less than her dream school when she signed with Sonoma State.
"I visited the campus last year, and I fell in love with it," she said. "It's a beautiful campus.
"With the soccer program and the campus, it felt like the right fit. Their soccer program is strong, they always do well."
The Seawolves finished 15-5-1, including 6-3-1 in the California Collegiate Athletic Conference, last season. Sonoma State finished the campaign ranked 24th nationally in Division II.
Sonoma State lost in the championship game of the CCAA Tournament and went out in the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Pritchard said she has been in contact with Sonoma State's head coach, Emiria Salzaman Dunn.
"Every time I've talked to her, it sounds like they're really happy to have me coming there and that they think I can make a good contribution to their team," said Pritchard.
Pritchard has been playing soccer for a long time. She has 10 years of club experience, according to a Santa Ynez-issued press release. She was Santa Ynez's MVP her sophomore year and an All-LPL First Team selection her junior year.
She will be a long way from the Santa Ynez Valley when she goes to Sonoma State, yet Pritchard said she will have some welcome familiarity when she gets there.
"My best friend, Ashley von Tillow, plays for Sonoma State," said Pritchard. von Tillow, a former teammate of Pritchard's at Santa Ynez, is a sophomore at Sonoma State.
Besides, "My brother, Jacob, goes to UC Davis," said Julia Pritchard. Rohnert Park-based Sonoma State is approximately 70 miles southwest from Davis.
Julia Pritchard, according to the Santa Ynez-issued release, is a four-time honor roll student at the school. She plans on majoring in psychology at Sonoma State, attending nursing school after graduating and eventually becoming a pediatric nurse.