GVSU soccer signs 12 players for 2017 season

GVL/Kevin Sielaff - Head coach Jeff Hosler directs his team. Grand Valleys womens soccer team defeats #4 ranked Minnesota State by a score on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff – Head coach Jeff Hosler directs his team. Grand Valley’s women’s soccer team defeats #4 ranked Minnesota State by a score on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.

Josh Peick

Last season, the Grand Valley State women’s soccer team came one win away from winning its fourth consecutive NCAA National Championship. As a result, the team is losing the most successful class in the program’s and in Division II history.

The best way to ensure continued success is not only to recruit but to reload. The Lakers recently signed the biggest class in recent years with 12 freshmen joining the team for the 2017 fall season.

“The difference is that we had so much lost to graduation and retirement that it’s not a matter of roster growth but restocking,” said GVSU coach Jeff Hosler.

The incoming class of 12 players has been in the making for three years. Knowing that eventually there would need to be an overhaul of players after the 2016 season, Hosler started building the class of 2020 early.

“We started working on this class the first day I was hired,” Hosler said. “Women’s soccer recruits very early.”

What is unique about this class is the expanded range of where the recruits are coming from. Typically GVSU recruits heavily from Michigan and the rest of the Midwest, which it still does, but this year’s signees include two players from outside of the region.

The eight signees from Michigan are Nicole Cataldo (Walled Lake), Ava Cook (Battle Creek), Angela Davis (Trenton), Madison Mohr (Kentwood), Brinley Nieuwenhuis (Wayland), Gianna Parlove (Brighton), Caitlin Rebera (Mason) and Cecilia Steinwascher (Sterling Heights). The two Midwest recruits both come from Illinois, Erin Kuyawa (Plainfield) and Makenna Schoolman (Aurora).

Two recruits coming join the Lakers from the east side of the country, Hannah Klingerman (Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania) and Jori Sheats (Fredricksburg, Virginia).

“This class is the start of several classes that have players that are outliers in terms of where they are from,” Hosler said. “It speaks to the Grand Valley soccer brand. With the success that we’ve had, people are taking notice.”

One thing all of the recruits have in common is that they play for some of the top soccer clubs in the nation. They all have experience playing in some of the top tournaments in the country, and many times they play against each other.

“I think they all feel pretty comfortable with each other already,” Hosler said. “They are all playing at the same events and playing against each other. They have that little bit of gabbing at each other before games and having bragging rights with each other.”

Along with the 12 freshmen brought in, the Lakers acquired junior transfer Katrina Giantsopoulos from Davis and Elkins College. In her freshman season, Giantsopoulos led the nation in points with 70. She led the Senators to their first NCAA Tournament in program history in 2016.

“What I liked most about her was the fact that this wasn’t about anything other than her wanting to be challenged more and be in a more competitive culture on a daily basis,” Hosler said.

Typically freshmen will have a year to become acclimated with the pace of college soccer, but with the number of departures from last year’s team, the newcomers will need to quickly adapt.

“Some of them are going to have to (contribute) right away based on sheer roster turnover and positions in need,” Hosler said. “We’ve got kids in every line of play.”

If the Lakers want to continue the culture of winning that the departing class instilled in the program, the incoming freshmen and transfers will need to be ready to compete at a high level in the GLIAC and nationally.