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HOUSTON -- Rice head soccer coach Chris Huston announced the signing of nine players from the high school and club levels on Wednesday (Feb. 7), the first national day to sign with the sport.
The 2007 Rice signees are Kate Edwards (MF, Westlake Village, Calif.), Beth England (MF, Arlington, Va.), Meghan Erkel (GK, Granite Bay, Calif.), Catherine Fitzsimmons (GK, Ann Arbor, Mich.), Ashley Gowda (MF, Carrollton, Texas), Jordan Holloway (D, Carrollton, Texas), Elizabeth Nesbit (MF/F, Waterford, Va.), Ariel Rogers (D, Los Altos, Calif.), Korey Taylor (MF/F, McKinney, Texas).
The Owls' recruiting process went nation-wide, from coast-to-coast and from Texas up to Michigan, to find the top student-athletes who can excel in Division I soccer and in Rice's challenging academic curriculum. The program's seventh recruiting class addressed an immediate need of finding two goalkeepers to offset the graduation of two senior goalkeepers from a year ago. Two other signees are defenders and five have experience in the midfield, but coach Huston said the seven non-keepers are versatile enough to play a wide range of positions. She had high praise for the program's newest members, and hinted the signees could have an immediate impact after injuries took a toll on the 2006 squad.
"I think that this one of our strongest classes yet." Huston said. "We're very excited. A key position for us is goalkeeper since we had two seniors last season. The two girls we have coming in are going to be great. We also really helped ourselves in the midfield. It's going to be good competition for that spot, and starting positions all the way around next fall. This class definitely has the talent to come in and compete for those starting positions right away.
"The more that this program has established itself, the more looks that we're getting from great players across the country," Huston added. "When we had started the program just a few years ago no one had heard of Rice soccer. Now, every kid we've contacted knows what we've accomplished and has a great interest. These recruits expect to maintain our winning tradition. They understand the hard work that has to go into a championship program and they have the desire to do that work. They're a great addition to the team and I'm excited about the 2007 season."