FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona women's soccer team has received nine National Letters-of-Intent from highly-recruited players to join the Lumberjack soccer program in the fall. The nine signees will help offset the loss of eight outstanding seniors, dubbed by women's soccer head coach Andre Luciano as "The Foundation". The nine newcomers will join 25 returning players as NAU hopes to build on its first Big Sky regular season title and two trips to NCAA College Cup over the last three seasons.
"I think these players give us some versatility in terms of the types of players that they are," said Luciano. "We have outstanding defenders coming in to help sure up our back line. We have some dominant attacking players as well and we feel that this is a class that is going to have to step up immediately and contribute as soon as they step on campus."
"We feel that if they come in with the right mindset and have the right mentality, they will help us continue to be successful on the field."
Of particular concern for the coaching staff was trying to replace three outstanding graduating defenders in Kristi Andreassen, Tori Howe and Rebekah Schmidt. Five of the signees (Jordan Bergeson (Chandler, Ariz./Mesquite HS), Mary Bowen (Tucson, Ariz./Sabino HS), Diane Buzzard (Flagstaff, Ariz./Flagstaff HS), Emily Roth (Coto De Caza, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic HS) and Malia Tano (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro HS)) have played extensively on defense throughout their high school careers and will join returning defensive starters Alana D'Onofrio and Georgia Foltz to bolster to Lumberjacks' back line.
The program also received commitments from two superb offensive players from the Midwest (Victoria Havas (Munroe Falls, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls HS) and Jordan Post (Spearfish, S.D./Spearfish HS)) as well as pair of midfielders from southern California (Mary Harrah (Solana Beach, Calif./Torrey Pines HS) and Kelly Whelan (Laguna Nigel, Calif./Dana Hills HS)).
Taken together, Luciano expects this recruiting class to not only continue the great on-field success of the program but also to build on the outstanding academic performance that have become a staple of Luciano's squads. All nine recruits have high school grade point averages of 3.30 or higher, while Buzzard has a 4.25 GPA and will be her class valedictorian when she graduates from Flagstaff high school.
"High academics go hand-in-hand with the type of people that they are going to be in our program," noted Luciano. "We want type-A personalities that are going to overachieve in everything they do. The philosophy of our program is that each player is first and foremost a student, and we are always looking for quality student-athletes that can continue that tradition after we had three Academic-All Americans last year."
As has been his philosophy in the past, Luciano focused on four specific areas in the recruiting process: southern California, the Phoenix valley, Tucson, and Flagstaff. Three of the southern California recruits (Roth, Tano and Whelan) played for the nationally-ranked So Cal Blues club team, while the fourth recruit from southern California (Harrah) played for the Rancho Santa Fe Attack, which is the former club team of current Lumberjacks Georgia and Shelby Foltz and Shawnee Morgan. Bergeson and Bowen come from top programs in Arizona while Buzzard continues the tradition of outstanding players from Flagstaff high school to join the Lumberjack program. The coaching staff is also thrilled with the addition of two great attacking players (Havas and Post) from the Midwest.
Several players in the class also have strong ties to NAU and the women's soccer program. Both of Mary Bowen's parents attended Northern Arizona University, while Diane Buzzard's older brother Brian played football at NAU. Jordan Post is cousins with Georgia and Shelby Foltz, which undoubtedly helped influence her decision to join the Lumberjack program. Luciano and assistant coach Holly Jones are excited for all nine members of the recruiting class to make their way to Flagstaff.
"Not only are they very good soccer players but they are also good people with good character and good families," added Luciano. "They all come from clubs that have had very good experience on a national scale and we feel that their transition to college will be a smooth one. We are really looking forward to having them here and continuing to build on our success."
Below are individual bios for each player:
Jordan Bergeson D 5-7 Chandler, Ariz./Mesquite
Plans to be pre-law…3.80 high school GPA in advanced placement classes…Four-year letter winner and starter, one-year team captain in soccer…Named to all-region second team twice and also earned honorable mention…2010-11 team record of 6-2 through mid-January…Participated in Arizona Olympic Development Program 2008-09….Also played for Arizona Sting and SC Del Sol club soccer teams…Arizona Sting was state runner-up two seasons…Played for Arizona Hammers youth soccer club, which was state runner-up four consecutive years and played in regionals in Hawaii…Daughter of Meg and Bruce Bergeson…Two younger sisters, Emma and Hannah.
Mary Bowen M/D 5-4 Tucson, Ariz./Sabino
Plans to major in business or liberal arts…4.08 high school GPA, ranked 13th in class…Four-year letter winner and starter, one-year team captain in soccer, one year starter and letter winner in cross country…Named Arizona soccer first team in 2010, honorable mention 2008-09…Named most consistent player on team twice and team leader once…Team won 2007-08 state championship…Finished 8th in Arizona in cross country in 2008 and was named team MVP…Also played for Arizona Rush club soccer team and was team captain…Club team finished second in U-21 national tournament in 2010…Daughter of Jeff and Susan Bowen, who both attended Northern Arizona University…One younger brother, Jim, and one older sister, Emily.
Diane Buzzard D 5-9 Flagstaff, Ariz./Flagstaff
Plans to study engineering….4.25 high school GPA, first out of 431 students in class…Four-year letter winner and starter in soccer, two-year letter winner and starter in track and field…Team won soccer state championship in 2007-08, finished second in the state in 2009-10…Made the all-star team at Stanford camp vs. Stanford's team and made the all-star team at NAU summer camp in 2009 and 2010…Also played for Scottsdale Blackhawks club team…Finished third in state for 300 meter hurdles and sixth in state for 100 meter hurdles…Was first in region and third in state for girls track in 2009…Daughter of Anne and Mark Buzzard…Two older brothers, Brian and Keith…Brian played football at Northern Arizona.
Mary Harrah F/M 5-4 Solana Beach, Calif./Torrey Pines
Plans to study psychology or mathematics…3.80 high school GPA…Three-year letter winner, two-year starter in soccer and volleyball…Named all-league in 2010…Team was league champion in 2009 and 2010, finished second in CIF playoffs in 2009 and third in 2010, finished fifth in the state in 2009…San Diego Union Tribune and Torrey Pines HS scholar athlete 2008-10…Also played for Carlsbad Elite and Rancho Santa Fe Attack club teams…Daughter of Jim and Teri Harrah…Three bothers, Rob, James, and Ryan…Father, Jim, is the boy's and girl's volleyball coach at Torrey Pines HS...Mother, Teri, played soccer at UC Santa Barbara…Brother, James, played volleyball at Santa Barbara City College.
Victoria Havas F/M 5-3 Munroe Falls, Ohio/Stow-Munroe Falls
Plans to study nursing…3.50 high school GPA…Four-year letter winner and starter in soccer…2010 soccer team captain…Tied school record with 87 career goals…Totaled 128 career points, goals and assists, breaking school record…All-Ohio second team in 2009 and 2010, four-time first team all-district…All-Northeastern Ohio Conference four years, MVP of conference 2008-10…Played in club soccer team internationals…Daughter of Tom and Renee Havas…Two older brothers, Andrew and Patrick, and one older sister, Leah.
Jordan Post F 5-6 Spearfish, S.D./Spearfish
Plans to study biology…3.50 high school GPA, ranked 20th in class…Four-year letter winner and starter, three-year team captain in soccer…Recorded 15 goals and nine assists during junior season, 11 goals and six assists during senior season…Averaged 10 goals per year and seven assists per year during high school career…Was team golden boot winner all-four high school seasons…Team was state runner-up in 2009…Also played for Rapid City Rushmore club soccer team, winning three state championships…Daughter of Mike and Sherry Post…One younger brother, Matthew…Cousins with current Lumberjacks Georgia and Shelby Foltz…Father, Mike, played basketball and baseball at Cal Poly Pomona…Mother, Sherry, played soccer at Cal Poly Pomona.
Emily Roth D 5-9 Coto De Caza, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic
Plans to study environmental science…3.70 high school GPA…Two-year letter winner and starter in soccer, one-year letter winner in golf…Named most valuable defensive player as a freshman…Team was 2009-10 Trinity league champions and CIF semi-finalist…Named MVP of golf team as a freshman…Also played for So Cal Blues club soccer team for five years…Club team is nationally ranked and reached several premier level and national soccer tournaments …Has been a bible school teacher for three years and taught special needs athletes for the Top Soccer organization…Daughter of Peter and Sheila Roth…One older brother, Matthew.
Malia Tano D 5-7 Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro
Plans to study hotel and restaurant management…3.30 high school GPA…Three-year letter winner, four-year starter, one-year team captain in soccer…Also started one year in cross country and track and field…Team reach CIF semifinals during sophomore season…Received most improve award during sophomore season…Also played for So Cal Blues club soccer team…Club team went undefeated in 2010…Daughter of Karen and Ken Tano…One older sister, Chelsea.
Kelly Whelan M 5-5 Laguna Niguel, Calif./Dana Hills
Plans to study early childhood education…3.30 high school GPA…Four-year letter winner, three-year starter, one-year team captain in soccer…Also competed two years in track and field and one year in cross country…Soccer team currently in first place in Sea View league…Also played for So Cal Blues and Laguna Hills Eclipse club soccer teams…Club team went undefeated in 2010…Daughter of Michael and Patti Whelan…One older sister, Sarah, played soccer at San Francisco State.