Carlton’s Soles commits to University of Manitoba women’s basketball program

Nathan Reiter/Daily Herald Maya Soles of the Carlton Crusaders attempts an inbound pass during Hoopla 2023 at Sask Polytechnic on Mar. 24, 2023

While her high school career may have come to a close, there is still plenty of basketball in the future ahead for Maya Soles.

Fresh off winning the consolation final with the Carlton Crusader girls at Hoopla 2023, Soles has committed to the University of Manitoba Bisons women’s basketball program for the upcoming season.

Soles says she is looking forward to contributing for the Bisons at the next level.

“I’m just excited about the pace of the game and how much faster it can be and obviously learning and playing with people who are better than me and getting experience as I play and practice with them.”

In her final career high school game, Soles led Carlton with 17 points on route to a 72-48 victory over Holy Cross in the 5A Girl’s consolation final at Hoopla 2023.

Soles says it was great to finish off her high school career on such a high note.

“It was very special. We wanted to win so badly. We work[ed] so hard this whole season. Our bench players, it was good to see them play and, everyone worked hard, and everyone played a part. It’s good to see.”

Kelsey Pearson, head coach of the Carlton Crusaders girls basketball team, has coached Soles for several years. She says Soles possesses both the tangible and intangible traits to find success at the university level.

“I coached Maya since she was little, starting when she was in grade 7, and I knew from the first time she basically stepped on the court that this kid had something in her that no one else had. Her speed and her size alone are just a force to be reckoned with. She’s got this competitive drive about her that she’s just willing to do whatever it takes to be successful, and it’s simply unmatched, in my opinion. Any university will look at height, want someone with speed and want someone with skills. She’s got all three. I think that all of those will transfer over very nicely, and there’s no doubt in my mind that she will not only see the court, but they’ll find lots of minutes for her.”

Soles was not necessarily a top recruit for much of her high school career. Pearson says Soles improved by a tremendous amount in her senior year.

“Maya has been kind of overlooked. It’s her grade 12 year and normally, you get recruited or you start getting looked at in your grade 11 year. Don’t get me wrong, she was good in her grade 11 year, but this year was just a whole new ball game for her.  I think she started to believe in herself more and then other people started to believe in her as well, and it really showed. Even though she kept getting overlooked, it didn’t break her. She persevered. She managed to just keep working hard, and she knew that if she would just put the work in, that someone would eventually notice. I think that’s just speaks to who Maya is.”

Soles plans to study architecture when she arrives on campus in Winnipeg in the fall.