JONESBORO (AStateRedWolves.com) – Arkansas State head women's soccer coach Tafadzwa Ziyenge has announced the signing of eight student-athletes to national letters-of-intent to join the Red Wolves program this fall. A-State added players at every position, tapping into three states and Canada to fill this year's class of recruits.
The group includes: Alexis Philippe, Ballwin, Mo.; Briana Williams, Waldorf, Maryland; Alexis Riggs, Fort Worth, Texas; Sara Wicks, St. Johns, Canada; Jenna Vaught, St. Louis, Mo.; Nina Simon, St. Louis, Mo.; Tayler Carter, Bremerton, Wash.; Lauren Crimi, Seattle, Wash.
"Our goal remains to create a winning tradition and improve the reputation of the Red Wolves program," Ziyenge said. "We have taken significant steps clinching a playoff spot each of the last three years and more importantly recording two straight winning seasons. These incoming players possess the standard required to lift our program to new heights. They however are aware that they are joining a group of returners who are now used to winning. Together we hope the two groups can become one and continue making Arkansas State a respected and feared soccer team."
A-State advanced to the semifinal of the Sun Belt Conference tournament for the first time in school history and set numerous scoring records. The Red Wolves set the school for most points in a year with 114 and finished with the second highest goal total by a Red Wolves' soccer team with 39.
2014 WOMEN'S SOCCER SIGNING CLASS
1. Alexis Philippe: 5-8, Fr., Goalkeeper, Ballwin, Mo. (Cor Jesu Academy)
2. Brianna Williams: 5-7, So., Defense, Clinton, Md. (College of Southern Maryland) (North Point High School)
3. Alexis Riggs: 5-3, Jr., Midfield, Fort Worth, Texas (Navarro College) (Fossil Ridge High School)
4. Sara Wicks: 5-8, Fr., Goalkeeper, St. John's, Canada (St. Mary's Prep School)
5. Jenna Vaught: 5-5, Fr., Defender, St. Louis, Mo. (Francis Howl High School)
6. Nina Simon: 5-4, Fr., Defender, St. Louis, Mo. (St. Joseph Academy)
7. Tayler Carter: 5-8, Fr., Midfield, Bremerton, Wash. (Central Kitsap High School)
8. Lauren Crimi: 5-8, Fr., Defender, Lake Tapps, Wash. (Auburn Riverside High School)
Missouri (3): Alexis Philippe (GK), Jenna Vaught (D), Nina Simon (D)
Washington (2): Tayler Carter (MF), Lauren Crimi (D)
Maryland (1): Brianna Williams (D)
Texas (1): Alexis Riggs (MF)
Canada (1): Sara Wicks (GK)
DEFENDER (4): Jenna Vaught, Ninna Simon, Brianna Williams, Lauren Crimi
GOALKEEPER (2): Alexis Phillippe, Sara Wicks
MIDFIELDER (2): Tayler Carter, Alexis Riggs
HIGH SCHOOL SIGNEES: 6
Alexis Philippe: 5-8, Fr., Goalkeeper, Ballwin, Mo. (Cor Jesu Academy)
CLUB TEAM: Played for the SLSG-Elite squad where she helped the squad reach the Elite Clubs National League playoffs from 2010-13 … participated in the Olympic Development Program in 2010-11 … played on the same club team as fellow signees Nina Simon and Jenna Vaught.
HIGH SCHOOL: Helped lead Cor Jesu Academy to a state championship in 2012 as a junior … finished the 2013 spring season with 120 saves … named second-team all-conference … has earned high honors (3.75 GPA or higher) in each of her last seven semesters … member of the National Honors Society … named Penny Queen Freshman of the Year (Charity Fundraiser Event).
Ziyenge Quote: "Alexis has good size and an especially great presence in the box. She controls the defense very well and has good feet."
Brianna Williams: 5-7, So., Defense, Clinton, Md. (College of Southern Maryland) (North Point High School)
COLLEGE OF SOUTHERN MARYLAND (PREVIOUS SCHOOL): Played one season at the College of Southern Maryland where she helped lead the team to a 14-0 record a District L Championship and the Region XX Championship … participated in the national tournament in Melbourne, Fla. … earned several honors in her first season at the JUCO level including being named to the District L first-team … also garnered second-team 2013 NJCAA Division I Women's Soccer All-American honors … named to the 2013 NSCAA Continental Tire College Division I Women's All North Region Team and 2013 NSCAA Continental Tire Junior College Division I All-American accolades … was a JUCO first-team and JUCO Tournament first-team honoree.
CLUB TEAM: Played for the Freestate Elite and Freestate Fury where she helped lead the squad to 2012 State Champions Cup … led her squad to the Jefferson Cup finale and the Hershey Invitational Championship … won the Maryland Fustal Championships in back-to-back seasons … were district and national runner-ups.
HIGH SCHOOL: A four-year varsity starter at North Point High School … helped led her school to the 2013 Southern Maryland Athletic Conference co-championship … earned 2012 all-county first-team and all-SMAC first-team accolades … a 2013 all-county and all-SMAC first-team honoree.
Ziyenge quote: "Briana is a strong and hardworking center back. Her physical play is a welcome addition to our defense."
Alexis Riggs: 5-3, Jr., Midfield, Fort Worth, Texas (Navarro College) (Fossil Ridge High School)
NAVARRO COLLEGE (PREVIOUS SCHOOL): Helped lead Navarro College to the 2013-14 XVIV NJCAA championship and the 2013-14 NJCAAA District 7 championship … placed second in the 2013-14 NJCAA National Tournament … 2012-13 and 2013-14 All-Region selection … 2013-14 third-team All-American laurels … a 2013-14 first-team coaches selection All-American.
HIGH SCHOOL: Four-year varsity player at Fossil Ridge High School … helped lead her team to the 2011 and 2012 state playoffs … won a district championship in 2011 and tied for first in 2012 … as a freshman was named the team's Offensive Player of the Year … a three-year All-District and All-Academic honoree … participated in the 2012 Senior Showcase Tournament.
Ziyenge Quote: "Lexi will bring a wealth of experience to our backline. She is a proven competitor who led her team to the junior college finals."
Sara Wicks: 5-8, Fr., Goalkeeper, St. John's, Canada (Shattuck St. Mary's Prep School)
CLUB TEAM: Served a team-captain of the Canadian U-16 team that won the Atlantic championship … named MVP of the Atlantic U-18 tournament and won a silver medal at the National Club U-16 Tournament … participated in the Canadian regional training program.
Ziyenge quote: "Sara is a very athletic goal minder who is very technical and has good hands. She is a fierce competitor and has trained at very high levels."
Jenna Vaught: 5-5, Fr., Defender, St. Louis, Mo. (Francis Howl High School)
CLUB TEAM: Played for SLSG-Elite squad since 2010 where the team reached the Elite Clubs National playoffs in each of the last three years … participated in the ECNL National Championships in 2013 … also played in the Midwest Regional Premier Division in the spring of 2010 … teammates with fellow signees Nina Simon and Alexis Philippe.
HIGH SCHOOL: A four-year varsity player at Francis Howell High School where she helped lead the school to a No. 5 ranking in the St. Louis High School Sports ranking system after her freshman year … has scored 11 goals and assisted on 15 goals in her prep career … was a two-time second-team GAC all-conference selection … a three-time all-academic GAC team honoree … voted as team captain in 2013.
Ziyenge quote: "Jenna is a very calm and composed playmaker. She sees the field very well and has a great defensive presence."
Nina Simon: 5-4, Fr., Defender, St. Louis, Mo. (St. Joseph Academy)
CLUB TEAM: Played for SLSG-Elite squad that reached the Elite Clubs National playoffs in each of the last three years … participated in the ECNL National Championships in 2013 … teammates with fellow signees Jenna Vaught and Alexis Philippe.
HIGH SCHOOL: A four-year varsity player at St. Joseph Academy where she was a two-time all-conference team selection.
Ziyenge Quote: "Nina is a very fit and hardworking outside defender. She reads the game pretty well and is equally capable of joining the attack."
Tayler Carter: 5-8, Fr., Midfield, Bremerton, Wash. (Central Kitsap High School)
CLUB TEAM: Played for the Washington Premier FC 95 team … won the Washington State cup in 2011 and advanced to the semifinals of the regional tournament.
HIGH SCHOOL: A four-year varsity player at Central Kitsap High School … a first-team all-league selection during senior year … named her team's MVP during her junior and senior seasons.
Ziyenge Quote: "Tayler is a very gifted central and outside mid. She is a talented ball distributor who links very well with the attack."
Lauren Crimi: 5-8, Fr., Defender, Lake Tapps, Wash. (Auburn Riverside High School)
HIGH SCHOOL: A four-year varsity starter at Auburn Riverside High School … a two-time first-team all-league selection and a two-time second-team all-league selection … led the team in goals and assists in each of her final two seasons … voted the team's MVP and a team captain in her senior season … also played basketball as a freshman.
Ziyenge Quote: "Lauren brings speed to our backline. She is a tireless player who loves to push forward."