BALTIMORE—UMBC head women's soccer coach Alyssa Radu today announced that six freshmen will join the Retrievers in Fall 2011.
"We are very excited about this recruiting class," Radu said. "We feel they fill our needs with various positions and will compliment our core of players that are already in the program. We had so many tight games last year and are on the brink of breaking through. We have had a strong spring and have really come together and grown as a team, and these recruits are an important part of that puzzle.
"We are always looking for players that come from strong youth playing backgrounds, and this class is no exception. Four of the six incoming freshmen come from ECNL clubs, which are the top clubs in the country and compete at a very high level, and one comes in with national team experience, which is so valuable at the Division I level.
"When we go out and recruit, we look for players that want to excel both in the classroom and on the field. It is important to note that along with this class' high level of soccer credentials, they are equally credentialed in the classroom."
Estelle Bol is a 5-foot-8 center back from Paradise Valley, Ariz., who was a first-team Metro Women's Athletic Association All-Star in 2009 and a 4A1 honorable mention by the Arizona Interscholastic Association in 2008, and she led her former club team, Sereno, to the 2005 Region IV finals. After transferring from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., where she was the 2008 team MVP, to Principia Upper School in St. Louis, Mo., in 2009, Bol joined the ECNL club team, St. Louis Gallagher.
"Estelle's height adds to our already strong team in the air, which allows us to send her forward on set pieces and helps a great deal defensively in the box," Radu said. "She comes from a top-level ECNL club program, and she attends a boarding school, so she already has experience being away from home and the responsibility that comes with that. This will help her transition to the expectations of a Division I student-athlete."
Alyssa Brummitt is a midfielder from Annapolis, Md., who is a two-time first-team all-county selection and all-state honorable mention from Annapolis High School. She led the Panthers with eight goals and three assists in 2009.
"Alyssa is a very versatile player," Radu said. "She is very smart on the ball and has an eye for the goal. She is technically sound, and we will look to see her compete in the midfield or up top. I have also coached her at the club level, so she is accustomed to my style of coaching, and this combined with her composure on the ball makes her a very dangerous player."
Melissa Hummel is a central midfielder from Downingtown, Pa., who was named to the Chesmont All-League Second Team in each of her last two seasons at Downingtown East High School. She helped lead the Cougars to the state semifinals in 2007 and to the District I title in 2009.
"Melissa's experience as a three-sport athlete makes her a tremendous addition to our team," Radu said. "She comes from one of the most talented club teams in her age group in the region and country – a team that has experienced championship-level winning – and that is exactly what we need in the program. She is also a versatile player. Her experiences have shaped her mindset, and that is one of many reasons why we were drawn to her as a prospect."
Paige Preston is a central midfielder from Freehold, N.J., earned First-Team All-District and All-Division and Second-Team All-County and All-Shore as a senior at Freehold High School. She helped lead the Colonials to the 2007 state title, as well as the 2007 and 2008 Central Jersey Sectional crown and the 2008 state finals.
"Paige is a solid center mid with great vision and composure on the ball," Radu said. "She looks to get forward and is considered a playmaker. Paige trains with the PDA club, which is the No. 1 club in the country on the girls' side, and this experience will help her transition into college. She trains under one of my old college coaches, Mike O'Neil, and I know he will prepare her well for the college game."
Lilly Rydon is a midfielder from Stirling, South Australia, who was a member of the Under-17 Australian National Team in 2008 and has been involved with the South Australian State Team since 2005. In addition, she has twice been named the Rising Star for her Premier League team.
"Lilly is a very talented player, and we are very fortunate and excited to have her join the program," Radu said. "She is an offensive-minded player who is very creative, quick and dangerous to goal. She has youth Australian national team experience and has always competed at the highest level. Her movement off the ball and her explosive runs forward, combined with her ability to serve, will allow us to be more dangerous offensively. She has tremendous upswing, and our coaching staff is really looking forward to coaching her."
Finally, Morgan Taylor is a back from Severna Park, Md., who was a 2010 All-State, All-County and All-Met selection at Severna Park High School, and she was named one of the top 20 players in Maryland by ESPN Rise. Taylor helped lead the Falcons to the 2010 East Region title, as well as the District V championship in 2009 and 2010.
"Morgan is a very athletic, fast, smart player," Radu said. "She can play anywhere along the back line and has the ability to get forward and be an offensive threat. She has great leadership skills. I have coached her for the past three years at the club level, and I look forward to her continued development. She has the ability to step up in big games and adverse situations, and we are very excited about her potential."