LA Tech Soccer Signs 15 in 2018 Class
Feb. 8, 2018
RUSTON, La. – After qualifying for postseason play for the fourth-consecutive season and advancing to the Conference USA Tournament semifinals for the second time in program history, the Louisiana Tech women’s soccer team continued its constant theme of improvement, starting with the 2018 recruiting class, announced on Thursday.
Head coach Kevin Sherry, who enters his 12th season at the helm in Ruston, announced the signing of 15 players who will fill some critical holes left from the graduation of nine seniors from the program.
“Despite last season being a very successful one, it was important to sit down, reflect and analyze last season's performance so we can learn from it,” Sherry noted. “We finished the season with a 75%-win percentage and qualified for postseason play once again, for the fourth-consecutive time, reaching the final four of the C-USA Tournament and came close to winning it all.
“We want to use last season as a spring board to reach even higher levels and this recruiting class will play a big part in helping us reach those levels because they will help overcome certain areas of weakness in the team which need addressing.”
One of the biggest needs for Sherry’s squad entering the 2018 offseason lands on the defensive side of the ball. Addressing this necessity was crucial, as evidenced by seven defenders in this year’s class.
“We lost four of our starting five defenders from last season through graduation,” added Sherry. “So, obviously we needed to replace them with quality defensive recruits who can contribute to the team from day one of the new season.”
Gema Fernandez Rodriguez comes to Ruston from Madrid, Spain. The junior college transfer most recently played for the Monroe College Mustangs over the past two seasons and brings a tough, competitive mindset to her defending, paired with the technical ability of a top-level midfielder.
Also contributing to the defense will be Alex Augustyn from Flower Mound High School in Flower Mound, Texas. The 5-foot-8-inch defender earned three letters in high school and was a member of the 2016 6A Texas State Championship squad. Sherry took note of Augustyn’s smart defending along with a very high level of technical ability.
Continuing the theme of defense in this year’s class is San Antonio native Maycie McDougal. The Prosper High School graduate earned three letters in soccer and one in basketball. McDougal was named to the District 10 (2016) and District 12 (2017) All-District Girls Soccer First Team in 2016 and 17, along with earning all-academic accolades in both those seasons as well.
Coach Sherry said McDougal is “an extremely intelligent defender who is always in the right place at the right time.”
Another defender is Ashley Skinner who will come to Ruston after earning four letters at Wakefield High School in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Skinner, a team captain for her high school squad, led her team to a conference championship and the No. 1 overall ranking in the state of North Carolina during the 2017 season. Sherry called Skinner “an athletic defender who will give our back line some much needed speed.”
Rounding out the defenders are Megan Porvirk, a local product from West Monroe, and Bryce Minefield from Chandler, Arizona. Sherry described Povirk as “a talented defender with great potential,” while calling Minefield is a “strong, quick and physical striker, who we believe has a future as a defender for us.”
Povirk was named to the 2018 LHSCA All Star Team along with earning all-district nods from 2014-17. She earned team MVP honors for West Monroe in both her sophomore and junior seasons, while leading the 2017 squad to a 19-6-6 record.
Minefield lettered all four years at Hamilton High School and helped guide her team to the 6A State Championship Finals. She was named to the AIA Division 6A All-Region Team, while boasting a 4.0 GPA all four years of high school, earning her the Scholar Athlete Award.
Transitioning to the offensive side of the ball, LA Tech was looking to add speed and versatility to the attacking front with this year’s class, building through talented midfielders and forwards.
“It was essential we found players in this upcoming recruiting class who can not only help add goals to our play but also have a high level of creativity in the attacking third of the field, which has been lacking in recent seasons,” Sherry said. “In order for us to take the next step up in levels we needed to find players who could give us some much needed speed in our midfield combined with a positive mind set.”
Leading off the midfielders is Andrea Rodriguez Dominguez – the second player from Madrid, Spain, in this year’s class. Rodriguez Dominguez played soccer for Rayo Vallecano 2nd division in Spain while also running track and field. Sherry describes the junior college transfer as” a very creative attacking player who can dribble and score goals.”
Following suit is Charne van der Walt, a native of Auckland, New Zealand. Van der Walt served as the regional representative for New Zealand’s u17 team at nationals. She caught coach Sherry’s attention as a “tough, hardworking, box-to-box midfielder.”
Sophie Smith comes to Lincoln Parish from the Lone Star State, after lettering all four years at Grapevine High School. Smith was a starter for the Mustangs for all four years and was voted captain as a junior and senior. She led Grapevine to a District Championship while being named MVP, All-State Honorable Mention, Academic All-District and Team MVP. Sherry calls Smith “a very technical midfield player who will improve the speed of play of our team in key areas of the midfield.”
A possible future midfielder for the Lady Techsters is Abigail Richeson, from New Orleans. As a right winger in high school at Saint Mary’s Dominican, Richeson earned a second team all-district nod as a sophomore and a first-team all-district selection as a junior. She has scored 15 goals and dished out 18 assists during her time playing varsity soccer. Sherry says Richeson is “full of potential to grow as a player in our training environment.”
Leading into this year’s group of forwards is Sweeny, Texas native Connor Barker. Currently a senior at Brazoswood High School, Barker plays soccer and runs track. She earned numerous awards throughout her time in school including First Team All-District, Offensive MVP, All-Region and Player of the Year. Barker is a “fast striker who has a high level of soccer imagination and is a consistent goal scorer” said Sherry.
The next forward, Callie Rucker, who Sherry describes as having “track-level speed” joins LA Tech from Coweta, Oklahoma. The senior at Coweta High School ran track and played soccer in each of her years in school. She scored 31 goals and registered 10 assists during her freshman and sophomore campaigns, while earning all-district nods in both those seasons.
Hanna Banks joins the Lady Techsters from Round Rock High School in Round Rock, Texas. The versatile forward was a member of Round Rock’s 6A 2017 Championship and earned second team all-district honors as well. “Banks is a very positive athletic player who drives forward with the ball every chance she gets,” noted Sherry.
Hailey Daigle rounds out the group of talented forwards. Sherry called Daigle “a well-balanced and coordinated striker who will become a potent weapon once she adapts to the physicality of the college game.” Currently in her senior season at Acadiana High School, the Lafayette native, earned four letters in soccer while being named First Team All-District twice and was named the LHSSA District Overall MVP as a junior.
Last but certainly not least, the Lady Techsters welcome Katharine Price, a goalkeeper who will certainly add to the depth of the position.
“We continue to improve the present goalkeeping pool we have,” added Sherry. “The goalkeepers, more than any other group of players on the team, spend the most time in the treatment room so we always need a large goalkeeping pool to compensate.”
As a Lodi, California native from Tokay High School, Price was named an all-conference goalkeeper in 2016-17 and earned MVP honors in soccer while also lettering in basketball and track and field. Coach Sherry calls Price “a very consistent goalkeeper with very few areas of weakness.”
"This recruiting class will ensure the continued success of the program,” Sherry concluded. “I could leave tomorrow and feel happy that the future of the program will be in good hands and will continue to be successful on the back of these recruits joining the program today."
For all the latest in LA Tech Soccer, follow them on Twitter (@LATechSOC), Instagram (@LATechSOC) and Facebook (LATechSoccer) or visit the official website at LATechSports.com.
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