had been playing soccer a couple years when she finally received an opportunity to unleash her skills between the pipes.
Almost as soon as Tostanoski turned away her first shot, she understood she had found a permanent home.
With the high school girls soccer season set to begin, the senior from
Palmer (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
is eager to showcase the skills that have made her the most coveted goalkeeper recruit in Colorado and one of the tops in the nation.
Moreover, Tostanoski is focused on ending her prep career by leading the Terrors into territory they have been unable to reach the past two seasons — namely, past the first round of the Class 5A state tournament.
"My biggest goal is to win our league," Tostanoski said. "I really think we have a good shot at that. And I want to make the playoffs again. Everyone would love to win that, but I know that's a big goal. The past two years we've been in the first round and have gotten knocked out. I'd love to get past that first game."
Tostanoski, a product of the Colorado Springs-based Pride Soccer Club, is ranked No. 2 in Colorado and No. 36 overall on the list of top 150 soccer recruits in the class of 2012 by ESPN. She has signed a letter of intent to continue her career at Santa Clara under head coach Jerry Smith, who mentored Tostanoski as a regional instructor for the U.S. Olympic Development Program. Smith's wife is none other than former national team hero Brandi Chastain.
"I definitely love the environment, and it's a great school," Tostanoski said. "The coaches are great and I've been coached by coach Smith before. They always tell you to pick a school, but I really think we mesh as a coach and player. I'm glad I'm going to have this opportunity to be coached by him."
Tostanoski recorded five shutouts for Palmer last season, and Terrors coach Jim Keller says his club enjoys the flexibility to play a more aggressive offensive style because of the luxury of having Tostanoski in net.
The senior's athleticism shines between the pipes, where she can clean up any number of defensive miscues. Yet at times that athleticism also benefits Palmer in the field. Keller moved his standout keeper into the field on several occasions last season, and Tostanoski contributed five goals and three assists.
"I've been doing this a long time, 18 years, and she's certainly the best goalkeeper we've had," Keller said. "It's a treat to be around her and watch her play. She's a great leader on and off the field, and she makes everyone around her better. She has incredible athletic ability and reads the field really well. Really, she's like a dream player. We could put her in the field and she'd be an immediate threat."
Tostanoski said she began playing soccer when she was 6 years old and got her first shot at goalkeeper two years later. Unlike Colorado native and and the nation's, top recruit, Lindsey Horan, of Golden, Tostanoski has never felt the urge to shelve her high school endeavors in order to focus on her club team. That obviously has been a boon for the Terrors, who will lean heavily on their defensive stopper while aiming for a deeper run through the state tournament.
"I think it's important. And not just for me, but for the pride of the school," Tostanoski said. "Every girl here on this team puts in 100 percent. I like the girls I play with and I love how they have always worked to get better. That's why I keep coming back. I love the whole spirit of the thing."