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North's Chambers signs on with OSU

Ashley Chambers had her collegiate plans all in order. That is, until the lure of playing soccer at the Division I level popped up.

Chambers, a North Medford senior, has signed on to play women's soccer at Oregon State University, the school announced on Wednesday.

The two-time all-Southwest Conference first-teamer signed with the Beavers about one week ago.

"I'm excited," said Chambers, 18, who hopes to pursue a degree in early childhood education. "I get to play Division I and it's closer to home."

Hidden Valley senior Ashley Seal, who led the Mustangs to two state titles and was named the Class 4A player of the year this season, has also signed on with the Beavers.

The 5-foot-8 Chambers originally planned on attending BYU-Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii, but changed her plans when OSU began to show interest.

"There are a lot of things that made (going to OSU) work out better," said Chambers. "It's Division I, it's closer to home ... there were just a lot of different things."

North Medford coach Lu Crenshaw learned of Oregon State's interest during the season and informed Chambers.

"I found out from someone else that Oregon State was trying to get in touch with her," Crenshaw said. "We go to their (OSU) team camp every year, so they've watched her play.

"I told her that OSU wanted to talk to her, she went down on a recruiting trip and she decided it was the best decision for her to go there. I mean, playing Division I, that's a big deal."

Chambers, a midfielder with the Black Tornado, will most likely stay with that position or switch to outside back with the Beavers.

"I'm hoping I can go up there and contribute right away," said Chambers, who is currently playing winter ball with FC Southern Oregon.

To gain more endurance and strength in preparation for next year, Chambers has been training with Crenshaw during her off time from school and soccer.

"The last three months she's been at my studio working out for four or five days a week," Crenshaw said. "Her strength has improved tremendously and she's gone from this unbalanced body to a little machine.

"I watched her play this weekend and I could tell a huge difference."

During her senior season with North, Chambers had a hand in 10 of the 13 Black Tornado goals in Southwest Conference play. She scored five goals and assisted on five others to help propel the Tornado to a runner-up finish in the SWC.

"I'm so proud of her," said Crenshaw. "It's really, really nice to see her get this. It took a lot of hard work on all of our parts, sending out video and doing other things. It definitely paid off."

"She's an all-around fantastic player," added Crenshaw. "She's got all the qualities that you just can't coach a kid. She's aggressive, works hard and there's some things that a Division I coach will only help her get better with."

Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 776-4483, or e-mail kgoff@mailtribune.com