The Commerce Journal
Texas A&M University-Commerce head soccer coach Neil Piper today announced the seven incoming freshmen that comprise the 2013 recruiting class. Each of these future Lions will begin competing for A&M-Commerce this fall.
“Overall, this recruiting class is very dangerous,” Piper said. “Each player brings us something we were missing last year. We have added depth at goalkeeper, size at midfield and natural goal scorers up front. I am very excited to get the season started. With the return of all our injured players from last season, 2013 looks to be very promising.”
Three forwards will be looked upon to add to the Lions’ scoring threat, highlighted by Dani Chantry, Savannah Henderson and Jessica Tait. All three have had explosive prep careers as Henderson was named the unanimous All-East Texas Player of the Year after logging 75 goals as a senior at Mabank, bringing her career total to just shy of 140. Chantry was the District 9-4A Offensive Player of the Year from Frisco Liberty, adding 22 goals of her own, while Tait was a key player for the British Colleges National Team in 2012, hailing from York, England.
A pair of midfielders will add some depth to the A&M-Commerce roster with the additions of Ally Cannon and Ashley Phillips. Cannon was a second team all-district selection after helping lead Justin Northwest to the playoffs while Phillips was tabbed the District 3-5A Defensive Player of the Year, helping pace Arlington Martin to the district title and a regional quarterfinal appearance.
One of the largest holes on the A&M-Commerce roster was at the goalkeeper position, a gap Piper fills with a pair of talented freshmen between the pipes. Callie Ballard was a two-time all-district selection from Richmond Travis that tallied 17 shutouts with a 0.79 goals against average in the last two seasons while Emalee McMillan was another first team all-district honoree from nearby Sulphur Springs, posting 385 saves and 22 shutouts during her prep career.
The seven incoming freshmen will be looked to bolster a talented A&M-Commerce roster which was riddled by injuries in 2012. Piper is hoping the combination of veteran leadership and young talent will help lead to a turnaround season for the Lions in 2013, which begins Sept. 6 against nationally-ranked Fort Lewis.