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DESK:Unique soccer friendly

FROM THE SPORTS

October 31, 2006|By STEVE VIRGEN

On the pitch, goalies hope to focus on the ball and make a great save. At Vanguard University, there are a couple of goalies who apparently are being congratulated for making a great catch.

This is the story of Chris Swift and Marissa Welliver and how the goalies at the small NAIA school in Costa Mesa met and became one.

This is a friendly on a whole different level.

Marissa Welliver became Marissa Swift back in May, and now the Swifts are doing their best to live happily ever after.

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For now, they both play goalie — Marissa for the Lions' women's soccer team and Chris, better known as "Swifty," for the men.

They call it a coincidence and don't necessarily attribute their love and affection to soccer. There are, of course, other reasons the two fell in love.

But for starters, let's begin with a bible study, where Marissa was posed the question, "So, who do you think is cute in the group?"

Marissa replied with one word, "Swifty."

No big whoop. But word can sometimes travel fast, yes faster than a breakaway. Later on, the person who posed the question told the answer to her husband Randy Dodge, the men's and women's soccer coach at Vanguard.

Dodge also coaches at Marissa's alma mater, Aliso Niguel High. On the lower levels, Chris and Marissa could be found.

Chris coached the frosh/soph boys and Marissa coached the frosh/soph girls. Sometimes the two would talk soccer, or about school. Sometimes they would flirt.

"We just hit it off," Marissa said. "We started talking and ended up going on a date, and it took off from there."

Soon, the two began finishing each other's sentences and guessing correctly what the other wanted for dinner. And, eventually, they also began to think and react in the same manner.

I interviewed the two separately and asked the same question. What do you remember most about your wedding? What do you know, they had the same answer.

"When we first came to the altar, the pastor told us to look at each other," Marissa said. "I just remember staring into his eyes and we were crying. I was extremely happy. I knew he was the one. Things were stressful that day, but it was so nice to be there in that moment and relax. I was overwhelmed with happiness."

Chris was happy, too.

"It was good to get lost in her eyes," he said.

Getting back into reality has been smooth, even though the couple continues to juggle athletics, academics and time to build strength in their marriage.

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