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ODU Women's Soccer Welcomes Class of Ten in 2009

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: March 09, 2009
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March 9, 2009

NORFOLK, Va. - Head coach Joe Pereira and the Old Dominion University women's soccer team welcome the signing of ten recruits to National Letters of Intent. They are Brianna Alvarado (Cincinnati, Ohio), Laura Bush (Ft. Thomas, Ky.), Gabrielle Carragino (Virginia Beach, Va.), Ashlee Coutu (Lebanon, Conn.), Meghan Cozens (Virginia Beach, Va.), Kelly Evans (Ashburn, Va.), Aubrie Ewell (Richmond, Va.), Taylor Mertz (Midlothian, Va.), Halloran Rogers (Midlothian, Va.) and Erin Stephenson (Gastonia, N.C.).

Brianna Alvarado is a goalkeeper from Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a four year varsity starter, Alvarado was named First Team Miami Valley Conference her senior year and was an Honorable Mention her junior year. She holds the high school shutout record with 28 over four years and broke the single season mark with nine in 2007. She participated in the ODP District Training from 2005-07 and played four years for the Cincinnati United Premiere-Red club team as well as two for the Sycamore Arsenal. She was also a First Team All-Conference cross country runner and an Honorable Mention All-Conference softball player.

"Bri is a very strong and athletic player," said Coach Pereira. "She should compete to play a very significant role from the start."

Alvarado will be joined at ODU by CUP teammate Laura Bush, a goalkeeper from Highlands HS in Ft. Thomas, Ky. Bush also played for the Cincinnati United Premiere and was also the starting keeper for Kentucky's ODP team from 2002-07. For Highlands, Bush was named MVP her senior year and was a state finalist three of the four years, including two state championships. She was named an NSCAA Scholar All-American and was named to the All-State Second Team. As a four-year varsity player, Bush never lost a home game, posting a 33-0-4 record.

"I think Laura is a very intelligent and experienced goalkeeper who should be a major factor for us immediately," Pereira said.

The Lady Monarchs will welcome Virginia Beach native Gabrielle Carragino to the midfield from Kempsville HS. Carragino was team captain and All-Beach District First Team her senior season for head coach and former ODU alumna Lauren Tucei, as well as being named to the All-Eastern Region Second Team. Carragino earned the Kempsville High School Leadership Award in 2008 and was named Kempsville's Rookie of the Year in 2007. She played and was co-captain for the Virginia Rush and played for the Virginia ODP from 2003-2006. In addition, she was a right outside hitter for the volleyball team.

"Gabby has very good size and is a great player technically, who we will look for to play a significant role centrally for us," Pereira said of the Hampton Roads native.

Ashlee Coutu is a midfielder/forward from Lebanon, Ct. out of Lyman Memorial HS. A four-year starter, Coutu was selected as an All-Conference and All-State player all four years. She was named the Connecticut Girls Soccer Coaches Association All-New England Player her senior year and was a three-time Player of the Year for the Norwich Bulletin, three-time Player of the Year for the New London Day and led the team to a pair of state semi-finals and one quarterfinal. Coutu broke the school record with 91 goals and was team captain her senior year. She played for the prestigious Oakwood Soccer Club Premier and was a four-year starter on the softball field as well as a three-year varsity indoor track runner.

"Ashlee is a very versatile and well-rounded player that will certainly enhance our attack," stated Pereira.

Meghan Cozens will also add depth to the midfield, out of Hickory HS in Virginia Beach, Va. Cozens was team captain at Hickory and was a First Team All-District, First Team All-Region and Honorable Mention All-State player her senior year. She was named Second Team All-Tidewater and teamed with Carragino on the Virginia Rush. In her first two years, she was a state and region competitor in both cross country and track.

"She sees the game well," Pereira complimented. "Meghan is a very intelligent player and is clean on the ball. She should add a strong dimension to our midfield"

Also joining Coach Pereira's team in 2009, coming from the 2008 AA Virginia State Championship Broad Run HS team ranked 14th in the nation is Kelly Evans, from Ashburn, Va. Evans was a two-year team captain at Broad Run, named First Team All-District, First Team All-State, First Team All-Region and the Washington Post Second Team All-Met. She was the team's offensive MVP and had a team-high 72 goals in three seasons headed into her senior campaign. She played for the Virginia ODP team and also played for the Loudoun Hotshots, a division 1 WAGS team that has been ranked as high as eighth nationally.

"Kelly is a very athletic attacking player, mostly on the flank. She will provide the ability to get in behind defenders," said Pereira.

Coming to ODU from Richmond, Va. and James River HS is forward Aubrie Ewell. Ewell was a versatile athlete in high school, running track all four years, playing field hockey for two and soccer for four. Her soccer accolades include First Team All-District, First Team All-Region, First Team All-Met, Honorable Mention All-State in 2008 and Second Team All-District, First Team All-Met in 2007. She was team captain and MVP of the Indoor track team as a sprinter and qualified for the state meet in the 500 meter dash.

"Aubrie is a very fast and physical attack-minded player who will stretch defenses along the flanks," Pereira pointed out.

Also recruited out of the Midlothian area of Richmond and James River HS was Ewell's high school teammate, Taylor Mertz. Mertz is a defender with All-District and All-Academic accolades and was also named Digital Sports Soccer Player of the Week in 2008. She played forward and defense for the FC Richmond Mystx for six years and was captain for the last two years. Mertz also played two years for the Virginia ODP and was in the Super Y league for one.

"She is a very physical left marking back who attacks well and should add a nice dimension," Pereira said of Mertz.

Halloran Rogers rounds out the trio of recruits from the Richmond area this year, coming from Monacan HS in Midlothian, Va. Rogers is a midfielder who has played for the FC Richmond Soccer team for 14 years. She played for the VCCL Select U-14 Team and then excelled as a four year varsity player at Monacan. She was named the Richmond Times-Dispatch Athlete of the Week her freshman year, All-District three years and Second Team All-Region twice. She was a district and regional qualifier for the indoor track team.

"Hallie is a very physical, high energy, competitive midfielder on attack who should make an immediate impact," asserted Pereira.

Finally, the Lady Monarchs will welcome Erin Stephenson, from Gastonia, N.C. and South Point HS. The 5-8 defender was on the NCYSA Premier League Co-Championship team in 2007, the North Meck SC Red team. The North Meck SC team captured several tournament championships while Stephenson played with them and she also played for the North Carolina ODP for three years. She is a member of the National Honor Society at South Point HS.

"Stephenson is a very strong presence in the air defensively who will be a big-time ball winner for us in the back," the Lady Monarchs coach finished.

The incoming class of 2009 boasts a flexible group of ten student-athletes that will help fill the void of the nine graduating seniors leaving the team this season. With seven of those seniors holding starting spots in 2008, the newcomers will have room to battle for playing time immediately. ODU went 14-4-2 overall in 2008 with four players honored with All-Region accolades.

NOTE: Six of the signed recruits are Virginia natives, including two from the Hampton Roads area.

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