CORTLAND - Alli Pavlik has learned to become an outstanding basketball player.
However, she was born to play soccer.
From the time the Lakeview High School senior began playing the sport before the age of 5, it was her first athletic love. When the decision had to be made between which of the two sports to play in college, Pavlik didn't hesitate in deciding on soccer.
Pavlik made it official Wednesday when she signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her education and athletic career at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus.
"I knew when she was in sixth grade that she was going to be one of the top goal scorers who ever came out of Lakeview," Bulldogs soccer coach Shawn Varley said. "She was that good back then, and every year she continued to grow and grow."
Pavlik's career soccer statistics are staggering. She finished a four-year varsity run as a striker with 137 goals and 27 assists. Last season she scored 43 goals and registered 14 assists.
Pavlik's a three-time All-All American Conference first-team selection and has twice been named the AAC Player of the Year. She was a first team all-state selection in 2013 and a second-team selection in 2012.
"There was one game this year when she scored six goals to reach the 100-goal mark," Varley said. "For someone to score six goals in a game against Poland is remarkable. For someone to score 137 goals in her four years; I don't think that's ever been done around here at Lakeview. That tells you how great of an athlete she is."
Pavlik had college suitors that were interested in her basketball skills. Youngstown State University offered her a chance to walk on for basketball and earn a scholarship through her performance.
Pavlik, however, always leaned toward soccer at a Division II institution. She considered Ashland College, but was sold on Ohio Dominican because of its location inside the Interstate 270 beltway in Columbus.
"I feel like in the city I can go shopping, go eat, go to movies," said Pavlik, who has a 3.78 grade-point average. "There are many more opportunities. I want to explore the world. As I get older that's what I want to do. I want to travel and see different places in the world. I thank everyone in this community and I love them, but it's time to reach out."
Pavlik intends to study business but as of yet hasn't decided which direction she wants to take her education. She enjoys communicating with others and is at ease in those situations, which could influence her future decisions.
"This is the right school for me," Pavlik said after signing the letter of intent. "I'll have tons of opportunities. I want to do business. Soccer, I can do great things there. There were some options. It was tough."
Playing at a Division II university increases Pavlik's chances of starting as a freshman.
"It's not a team that I feel like I'm going to sit," Pavlik said. "I feel I can definitely make my mark there. If I went somewhere big, I might be sitting for two years. I might not get much playing time and will have to work for it.
"I want to try to start. Everyone wants to start. I feel like here I can jump into it and get playing time. It's kind of like Lakeview. As a freshman I worked and worked, and I got that starting position. These girls (at Ohio Dominican) are good, but I feel like I can hang."
Confidence is a trait that Pavlik has never lacked.