Jaycie Dillenburg to continue career at NJC

Jaycie Dillenburg (right front) pictured with coach Ken McAlpine (left front), (back row) coach Kristen Hamil, parents Rick and Linda and coach Paula Etl. (Kyle Inman / Sterling Journal-Advocate)
Jaycie Dillenburg (right front) pictured with coach Ken McAlpine (left front), (back row) coach Kristen Hamil, parents Rick and Linda and coach Paula Etl. (Kyle Inman / Sterling Journal-Advocate)

By Kyle Inman

 Journal-Advocate sports writer

Sterling High School soccer star Jaycie Dillenburg will stay local, choosing to start her college career at Northeastern Junior College.

"I would rather stay home than go to a big university right off," Dillenburg said. "I know some people are super steady into a big university, but I would rather take it slow."

Dillenburg started and led the Tigers from the moment she stepped on the field as a freshman in high school. She will finish her prep career as Sterling's all-time leader in goals and assists.

She'll have a similar opportunity to make an immediate impact on a Northeastern team entering its second year as a program with a new coach. Coach Ken McAlpine has been clear that he's got high expectations and considers her an asset to the team.

"She was the first one on my recruiting radar actually," McAlpine said. "I think she's somebody we can build a program around. She can really help us out distributing the ball as well as scoring. I think she's multifaceted and a great athlete."

With aspirations to play at a high-level Division I school after two seasons for Northeastern, Dillenburg says that a step up in competition at a community college will help prepare her that level of competition. She has proven her scoring ability with 83 goals over 63 games in four years at Sterling but is looking to establish more of a dominant scorer's mentality at the next level before moving on. She wants to be more aggressive in letting shots fly.

"I definitely know I have the scoring ability," Dillenburg said. "I just need to be on my game and confident in what I can do. Sometimes lower teams need that little push, so I feel like I can be one of those keys."

Despite being Sterling's most prolific offensive player ever, Coach Paula Etl said that it was Dillenburg's leadership ability stood out during her high school career, even as a freshman. She believes it's a trait that will allow her to adapt well to playing at the college level.

"She's always just led by example," Etl said. "She works hard and is just so positive with everybody and always has been. She encourages the other players and compliments them."

Dillenburg will try and extend her prep career with a win in the state tournament on Friday in Lafayette in a first round matchup with Pagosa Springs.

Kyle Inman: 970-526-9298, inmank@journal-advocate.com