FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University women's soccer team has added eight future Lumberjacks to an already skilled roster of players. Under the direction of Head Coach Andre Luciano and his staff, the newest additions from across the country will join the team in the fall of 2017.
"This year we have a truly balanced class with impact players in all four positions who will push for starting spots as soon as they come in," said Luciano. "They are well-coached players who have all had success on their high school and club teams. They will enhance our team's competitive spirit and push for a Big Sky Conference championship. I'm proud to now call them Lumberjacks in our NAU family."
Benham is a tri-sport varsity athlete in soccer, basketball and cross country at Millard North High School out of Omaha, Neb. Benham was a one-year starter and captain for the soccer team, and was named the club player of the year as a goalkeeper for the Nebraska Olympic Development Program team. In basketball, Benham was a three-year starter and one-year captain. She also ran a year on the cross country team as a starter. She comes to Northern Arizona as a dental hygiene major.
"Taryn [Benham] is a very athletic and rangy goalkeeper," Luciano said. "We identified her at camp as someone who could push for a top two or three spot immediately."
Canzona, a Denver, Colo. native, will come to Northern Arizona University from Campo Verde High School in Gilbert, Ariz. as a goalkeeper. She was a multi-sport varsity athlete in soccer and track, serving as a starter on both. In soccer, Canzona served as a captain on her high school team and received Defensive Player of the Year and Region Player of the Year in 2016.
"Amanda [Canzona] is extremely versatile," Luciano said. "She is remarkably athletic post-to-post and a great field player, so we have options."
Kapustka will join the Lumberjacks as a forward from Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs, Colo. where she served as captain and two-year starter on the soccer team. She also played for Pride Soccer Club for 12 years, garnering three state championship titles, two regional championship titles and came in third place in Nationals. Kapustka comes from an athletic family where her father Tony Kapustka lettered in track at the University of South Dakota and her younger brother plays football at Pine Creek.
"Super dynamic on the ball and she played for a good club team in Pride," Luciano said. "Kylie [Kapustka] has a coach's mindset and has the ability to attack wide up top."
Yarnell-Williams is a multi-sport athlete in soccer and basketball at Del Oro High School. She also served four years on the San Juan soccer team as a forward where she was honored with the 2017 Humanitarian Award for her outstanding involvement and dedication to community service and advocacy. Yarnell-Williams then left traditional high school to attend Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning where she was actively involved in trail running, snowboarding and rock climbing.
"Mak [Yarnell-Williams] is a physical opposing player with quick feet," Luciano said. "She will be a great target forward up top for us."
A four-year starter and two-year captain from Desert Vista High School, Maling will join the Lumberjack family to continue her soccer career as a forward. Maling has garnered many accolades including three offensive MVP awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016, the Most Valuable All-Around Player in 2015, two-time Most Goals Award, All-State 1st Team, two-time All-City 1st Team, All-Section 2nd Team, All-East Valley Tribune 1st Team and All-Division Honorable Mention. In addition to high school play, Maling competed for eight years as a midfielder for Ahwatukee Foothills SC. Her team was state champions for four consecutive years, while she was a top scorer for five years and led in assists for three years.
"Paige [Maling] is a creator of goals and has an incredibly high work ethic," Luciano said. "She has the ability to find the back of the net."
Robson comes to Northern Arizona from Hamilton High School where she was a three-year starter and one-year captain. With a 90 percent passing average per game, Robson was All-Selection 2nd Team, All-State, All-Division 1st Team. She was also named Defensive Player of the Year after breaking the school shutout record with 17 for the season. Robson also competed for Ahwatukee Foothills SC for seven years and served as a two-year captain. Her team was state champions for four consecutive years. She also started on Arizona's Olympic Development Program team for two years.
"Emma [Robson] is an athletically gifted soccer player," Luciano said. "She has a deep tactile understanding of the center back position and will also push for a starting spot."
Terhune will stay in her home state of Arizona to continue her soccer career under Luciano as a midfielder. She attended Thunderbird High School where she started on the soccer team for three years and was a captain, before she transferred to Greenway High School where she started and named captain her senior year. Terhune earned All-District 1st Team, All-State 2nd Team and was three-time MVP. In addition to high school, Terhune competed with Banat for seven years where she served as captain for three years. Her team was named State Champions in 2013. She also played for SC Del Sol for four years where she was captain for a year.
"Kayla [Terhune] reminds me of an Iniesta from FC Barcelona," Luciano said. "She always has her head on the swivel and is an engine that never quits."
Rounding out this year's signing class is Votto who is coming to Flagstaff from Phoenix, Ariz. Votto attended Desert Vista High School where she played for four years, starting in two. Her team was 2015 State Champions and State Runner-ups the year before. In addition to high school play, Votto competed for seven years as a forward for Ahwatukee Foothills SC. Her team was four-time state champions. Off of the field, Votto was named three-time Scholar Athlete and was in the National Honor Society and Rho Kappa Honors Society.
"Lauren [Votto] is a player who has the physical tools to be successful in conference," Luciano said. "She can create goals."