Madison two-sport standout Delanie Jones has committed to play soccer for Manchester University<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->next fall. Jones, the sectional champion Cubs’ second-leading scorer and top assist maker, was also a starting guard on Madison’s regional runner-up basketball team. (Courier file photo by Mark Campbell)
Madison two-sport standout Delanie Jones has committed to play soccer for Manchester University

next fall. Jones, the sectional champion Cubs’ second-leading scorer and top assist maker, was also a starting guard on Madison’s regional runner-up basketball team. (Courier file photo by Mark Campbell)
Madison's girls soccer program didn't post a winning record in 2013, but with seven wins and a runner-up finish in the sectional, the Lady Cubs had one of the most successful seasons the team has had in nearly a decade.

That success has translated into two of its members moving on to the next level. Two weeks ago, Alex Thurnall announced that she was headed to Ohio Northern University. Last week, Delanie Jones confirmed that she will be playing at Manchester University in the fall.

It's a big testament to a program that went 7-9-2 and reached the sectional finals for the first time since 2002. Jones hopes the signings are just the beginning.

"One of my main goals is that people will come and watch (when Manchester plays at Hanover)," Jones said. "I want to set an example to tell other kids that girls can come out of Madison and play soccer in college. That's the main reason why I'm playing. It all stems back to Madison, where I came from."

Jones and Thurnall made up the backbone of Madison's offense this season. Jones scored 12 goals, second to Thurnall's 19, and led the team in assists with eight. Her 32 points were also second on the team.

Both players competed in the North/South All-Star game a month ago and represented the starting backcourt of Madison's regional runner-up girls basketball team.

"I love Alex. She's my partner in crime," Jones said with a smile. "I'm going to miss her so much. It's going to be weird not playing with her but we're going to keep in touch and I'm glad for her going to Ohio Northern. That's the main thing I'm going to miss because we've been playing together so long."

While Manchester provides the soccer opportunity, Jones selected the northern Indiana school as much for its academic program as for athletics. She will major in biology and environmental science, making the school a perfect fit.

"I plan on studying abroad and I like to keep things small because I didn't know how I would like a big school," Jones said. "It's four hours away, too, and that just seems like the right distance."

The Manchester program Jones will join has emerged as one of the best in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Spartans went 12-7-1 overall last year and 8-1 in league play with their only loss in conference to eventual champion Hanover, 2-1. Manchester then fell to Transylvania in the HCAC tourney semifinals.

Jones said the Manchester coaching staff thinks she will fit right in and she hopes to get a chance to make a contribution.

"Out of what they saw at the North/South game, they said I would fit in well with their roster," Jones said. "They said they have a good group of seniors coming up that would compliment players like me really well. I'm looking forward to it."

In order to get ready, Jones said she has been working on her conditioning as well as her confidence, something she admits she has struggled with in the past. She is also preparing to play soccer in the snow.

"I went up there to visit and there was six inches of snow on the ground and they said that was normal," Jones smiled. "I'll get used to it."

Even though she is heading off to college, Jones said she plans to come back to Madison often. She feels a sense of ownership in the Madison program and wants to see it succeed.

"I'm going to miss the team but I'll be back. We have a new coach coming in and I'll help with the younger kids," Jones said. "This is where I grew up and it'll always be a part of me. I'm going to represent it well I hope."