MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University varsity women's soccer player Arianna Alioto, 18, of Columbia, Mo., drowned Friday evening in the pool of NMU's Physical Education and Instructional Facility.
Alioto, a true freshman for the Wildcats, redshirted for head coach Matt Granstrand's squad during the fall 2012 season while recovering from a right ACL injury.
"Arianna was not only a good soccer player, but a wonderful young woman," Granstrand said in a statement released Saturday afternoon. "We felt honored that she chose to play at Northern Michigan University. Our team and our extended team family are in extreme pain. It's hard to grasp that Arianna was with us one moment and gone the next. It just doesn't seem real. Her death is devastating."
The 5-foot-3 center midfielder out of Rock Bridge High School and the Carrera Soccer Club led her school in scoring each of her first three seasons before suffering the knee injury. She was also a first-team all-district selection.
Alioto was also a member of the Missouri's Olympic development team since 2009.
"Arianna will be remembered for her kindness and sincerity, as well as her quick smile and upbeat attitude, which were contagious and motivating," Granstrand said in the release. "We will be grieving for her loss for a long time."
According to an NMU press release, the drowning occurred shortly before 6 p.m. during a team workout in the PEIF pool. The cause of the drowning is still under investigation.
The last tweet from Alioto's Twitter account at twitter.com/DoubleeeA_ read, "It's crazy how things can change so fast."
NMU President David Haynes also released a statement, reading: "It's difficult to express the emotions that take place when a university family suffers the loss of a student. Not only is the soccer team and athletic department in shock, but so too are Arianna's fellow students, professors and the staff she regularly interacted with. Our deepest sympathies go out to the Alioto family at this time."