RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Commonwealth University women's soccer program is set to welcome 10 new student-athletes to the program for the 2011 campaign.
"We're very excited and proud to welcome this incoming recruiting class," said fourth year Co-Head Women's Soccer Coach Tim Sahaydak. "The class is undoubtedly one of strongest and most diverse we've brought in recent years. We can't wait to get off and running in preseason to see how the pieces line up."
Sahaydak and fellow Co-Head Coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak believe this class will help the program continue its path to become one of the elite programs in the Division I women's soccer landscape. "We continue to be a young and hungry team with a high standard and lofty goals, and this recruiting class is another giant step toward building the program. We are always looking for winners on and off the field, and each of these incoming players will have that opportunity to shine. We can't wait to get started."
Here's an inside look at each recruit:
CASEY BOYER, DEFENSE (University of Central Florida - Hummelstown, Pa.)
Attended University of Central Florida but suffered an injury that held her out of play… Played High School Soccer at Hershey High School where she earned 12 varsity letters… Helped lead the girl's soccer team to the state semifinals in 2009
Coach Sahaydak on Boyer: "Casey's a versatile player with a wonderful attitude. She exudes a desire to be her best and it is evidenced by the way she goes about her soccer and academics. On the field Casey gives a real physical presence, but she also has very good technical skills and ideas with the ball. I'm looking forward to watching her thrive next year."
KRISTIN CARDEN, GOALKEEPER (Virginia Tech – Virginia Beach, Va.)
Transferred to VCU after spending two seasons at Virginia Tech (2008 & 2009)… Ranked second in Tech's all-time career lists for wins (18) and goals against average (1.33), plus third in shutouts (nine)… Received weekly distinctions by Virginia Tech, ACC, NSCAA, TopDrawer Soccer and Soccer America… Played at Frank W. Cox High School and was named 2007 All-Tidewater Player of the Year… Garnered NSCAA Regional All-America accolades
Coach Sahaydak on Carden: "Carden's a goalkeeper with all the tools. She has size, athleticism and experience at an elite college level. She had a tremendous first two seasons at Virginia Tech and was instrumental in their success in those years. Kristin joined the program this spring and her contributions on and off the field have already been felt."
COURTNEY CONRAD, FORWARD (Jacksonville University – Dartmouth, Nova Scotia)
Transferred to VCU after spending her first season at Jacksonville University… Led Jacksonville in both points (20) and goals scored (eight)… Was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team and the All-Tournament Team… Member of the Under-20 Canadian National Team Player Pool
Coach Sahaydak on Conrad: "We've seen Courtney develop as a player tremendously over the past couple years. She had a remarkable season at Jacksonville, putting up some impressive numbers as a freshman, and we will be looking for her to bring a spark for us up top. She's a hard working forward that uses pace wisely to create some dangerous opportunities."
JACKIE ERNEST, MIDFIELD (Carondelet High School – Danville, Calif.)
Two-year varsity player at Carondelet High School… Did not play her senior season due to injury… Captured the 2009 US Club National Cup with Diablo FC… Won three Northern California State Cup championships with Mustang Soccer Club
Coach Sahaydak on Ernest: "We know Jackie very well having coached her as a youth player out in California. She has always been a winner, possessing that perfect combination of competitive fire and the caring personality that will earn her teammates' trust. Although she's faced some set-backs from injury, her work ethic and determination will get her back fighting on the field soon."
ALEX GOGOLIN, FORWARD (Colonial Forge High School – Stafford, Va.)
Four-year starter at Colonial Forge High School… Club team FCV Cardinals captured Youth Soccer national championship… Was part of Virginia Olympic Development Program
Coach Sahaydak on Gogolin: "We're thrilled Alex has chosen to join our program at VCU. She's a forward who plays with passion and energy and we expect that she will bring that to our group. She's a player that makes things happen through her hard work, so we're excited to see
how she integrates into our attack."
CRISTIN GRANADOS, MIDFIELD (Cartago, Costa Rica)
Served as a member of Costa Rica's Women's National Team for the past several years … Played a significant role during Costa Rica's run in the CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying tournament in 2010… Played in the prestigious National Division I in Costa Rica and claimed the league scoring title in 2009 and 2010.
Coach Sahaydak on Granados: "Cristin is one of those players that is so special, in her style of play, that she's immediately controlling the rhythm on the field. She's got impressive talent and technical flare, and can strike a deadly ball with both feet. I've seen her score some amazing goals, in some high level matches. We will be looking for her to impart her creativity and playmaking on the field here at VCU."
MAREN JOHANSEN (Mosjoen, Norway)
Played for Norwegian clubs Mosjoen il and Halsoy il in her hometown… Spending this summer playing for Grand Bodo… Won the Gothia Cup with Grand Bodo
Coach Sahaydak on Johansen: "Maren's a special player who excels as a forward centrally and out wide. She's got a level of soccer intelligence that's beyond her young age. She has a real 1v1 mentality and the athleticism to match. I expect that she will be involved in the build-up or finish of a lot of our attacking opportunities this fall."
KARA NATIVIDAD, FORWARD (Princess Anne High School – Virginia Beach, Va.)
Played at Princess Anne High School and served as a team captain in 2011… Selected to participate in the Virginia High School League All-Star contest in 2011… Club soccer team was named finalist of the Virginia State Cup in 2007, 2008 and 2010
Coach Sahaydak on Natividad: "Kara is an exciting player we first saw a couple years ago. She has tireless work rate and her mobility enables her to get in the right place to find the ball and score goals. We are looking forward to Kara's transition to VCU and know that her attitude will propel her to success in our environment."
CAROL SANCHEZ, DEFENSE (Palmares, Costa Rica)
Considered one of the best defenders from Costa Rica and currently serves as the starting center back on the Costa Rican National Team… Began her National Team career in 2005, originally as a forward, before being converted to a defender… Played every minute in Costa Rica's run in the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers in 2010, which Costa Rica finished fourth… Has been a part of three league titles in the prestigious Division I
Coach Sahaydak on Sanchez: "Karol is an strong, quick, and talented defender who will bring an unbelievable amount of experience to our team. She has played for many years at the highest level, as a fixture on the Costa Rican National Team. During her international career as a defender, she has effectively dealt with some of the best attacking players in the world, such as Abby Wambach and Amy Rodriguez. I'm excited to see her leadership and abilities emerge this coming season."
AMANDA SEARS, GOALKEEPER (Los Alamitos High School - Cypress, Calif.)
Three-year varsity member at Los Alamitos High School… Team was Sunset League Division I Champions in 2007, 2008 and 2009… Member of CalSouth Olympic Development Program for four seasons… Her father, Dean, was a two-year letterwinner in men's basketball at UCLA
Coach Sahaydak on Sears: "We are very excited to have quality goalkeeper like Amanda joining our program. The first thing we noticed with Amanda was her size and commanding presence in goal, but she is also a great organizer of the defenders in front of her and is a good communicator. We excited to see her grow during her time with us."