Top Athlete: Tori Koch
THE LEADING scorer for the Falcons girls soccer team, Koch first played soccer began when she was a first grader. “It takes a lot of dedication for sure, but I was with a lot of my friends and I enjoyed playing,” she said of her 11 seasons. “It was something that came natural for me because I really liked it.” As a senior forward, Koch scored 27 goals to help the Falcons go 15-2-3. Her varsity career ended with 53 goals. “I kind of can always tell when it’s going to go in,” said Koch of goal-scoring. “This year, I was a lot more accurate than in other years.” A first-team, all-Ohio honoree, Koch estimated that four of her goals were headed into the net. “It’s kind of harder for me because I’m shorter than most of the defenders,” she said of jumping up to deflect soccer balls. “But it’s pretty cool when I get them in.” Koch said this year’s Falcons exceeded expectations. “It was a good [season]. We made it to district finals and it was kind of disappointing losing that.” In the Division I district final, Howland defeated Fitch, 2-0. “But it’s been a while since we made it to the district final so that was quite an accomplishment.” In Fitch’s final year as a Federal League member, Koch is glad she was able to play against the league’s top-notch talent. “It will definitely be different next year because they won’t be playing in the Federal League,” said Koch, citing Massillon Jackson as a strong program. “We beat them one time [but] they won the Federal League every single year except my sophomore year when we beat them, 1-0, on a header goal.” Koch cited this year’s 3-0 playoff win over Canfield as the biggest highlight. She tallied all three goals. “We had never beaten Canfield in the four years I had been playing,” Koch said. “And we lost to them last year in playoffs, so that was a real big deal.” Koch said Falcons coach Carlo Trafficante “is the best coach I could have asked for. Most of the seniors played four years [of varsity] so we definitely had a strong bond with him, and he knew how all of us played and how to encourage us.” Koch hasn’t chosen a college yet and said she’s considering speech pathology as a major. Continuing her soccer career also is a possibility.