St. Al soccer star Perniciaro to play at Hinds Community College

Published 1:50 pm Monday, April 29, 2024

Attending Hinds Community College was always in Lilli Perniciaro’s plans for the future. Playing soccer for them was not, until fate intervened.

“I was on a tour of the school, and the tour guide asked if I played any sports. I told her I played soccer, so she called up the coach and the coach came and talked to me and said, ‘I want to see you play,’” Perniciaro said.

The St. Aloysius senior had some common soccer connections with Hinds assistant coach Lydia Kazery, and the two hit it off. Perniciaro was invited to a spring practice. Then an alumni game. It didn’t take long before college soccer was in her plans after all.

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Perniciaro was offered a spot on the roster for next season and she accepted. On Monday, she celebrated with family, teammates and classmates with a signing ceremony in St. Al’s library.

“It is really awesome. I felt really honored to be given this opportunity,” Perniciaro said. “It really helps me have a better plan for the future. It’ll keep me on task. It’ll keep me in shape. I’ll figure out how to keep my schedule in check because it’s going to be a lot.”

Perniciaro also played softball — she batted .400 in 20 games last season — and was on St. Al’s cheerleading team.

In soccer, she had 10 goals and four assists in her senior season but said she wasn’t sure about going through the college tryout process. Normally, it involves dozens of players competing for one or two roster spots. Getting the invitation to a private workout was a game-changer.

“I did not know that I was going to be playing soccer in college. I had hopes that I would bring up the confidence to go try out,” Perniciaro said. “Then once we talked, she said, ‘I’ll just have you come to one of our practices.’ She loved my speed. It was a shock once I was officially on the team.”

Perniciaro plans to major in biological sciences and wants to go into the medical field. Hinds has a well-regarded nursing program that she already planned to enroll in.

She’s already practiced with the team a few times, and is excited to participate in more this summer. Hinds’ women’s soccer team starts its season in August.

“I had thoughts of going to cheer clinics and maybe getting on the softball team. I’ve always wanted to continue soccer in college but I didn’t have much hope for it. I didn’t think I would pull through with it. But once we talked on that tour, everything changed,” Perniciaro said. “I’m very appreciative of the opportunities I’ve been given.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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