GVSU finds recruiting pipeline in Northville High School

GVSU finds recruiting pipeline in Northville High School

Josh Peick

The Grand Valley State women’s soccer team recruits players from all over the state and Midwest in order to stay in the national championship picture every year. While many of the players come from the surrounding Grand Rapids area, four current players are from the opposite side of the state, all from the same high school.

Gabriella and Alexis Mencotti, Gabbie Guibord and Emily Maresh all played on the Northville High School women’s soccer team. During Alexis Mencotti and Guibord’s senior year in 2013, all four of them were on the varsity roster.

“That area is very talent rich with a lot of great clubs,” said GVSU head coach Jeff Hosler. “We have a lot of kids from the Northville and Novi area and we have a lot that are going to be on our roster in the future, too.”

This group of four are not the first players from Northville High School to don the Laker blue. Emily Bush and Kelsey Fiscus are just two other Northville grads that have played at GVSU in the past five years. The consistent Northville presence on the Lakers’ roster has made the school a pipeline of talent to GVSU.

Fiscus played a major role in the recruiting of Guibord and Alexis Mencotti. Fiscus, along with the success of the GVSU program, helped point Guibord and Alexis Mencotti in the right direction.

“We were all hanging out after a soccer game, and Fiscus had a ring on,” Guibord said. “It happened to be a national championship ring, so that kind of caught my eye.”

With Alexis Mencotti already on the GVSU roster, the decision for Gabriella Mencotti to come join her sister was an easy one.

“I thought that would be a unique experience to play with my sister, and not many people can say that,” Gabriella Mencotti said.

The train of recruits from Northville continued when Maresh was in her senior year of high school. Gabriella Mencotti, having played with her in club soccer and at Northville, gave Hosler her recommendation in recruiting Maresh.

“I had been playing with (Maresh) for a while. Every time she is on net, I never worried,” Gabriella Mencotti said. “(Hosler) mentioned it to me that he was recruiting her, and I gave him positive feedback because I wanted her to come here. I knew she would do good things.”

Maresh started at goalie her freshman year. She helped the Lakers win their third straight national championship in 2015.

Seeking out the opinions of current players is something that Hosler utilizes often in the recruiting process.

“I try to gather as much information as I possibly can,” Hosler said. “I put a lot of value on the opinion of our current players because they are in our culture to know if (recruits) can be competitive daily.”

By recruiting players that have played together before, the Lakers have a unique dynamic in the roster. Some players enter the program already having chemistry with other players.

“College has definitely increased the amount of chemistry that we have,” Guibord said. “There definitely is a special connection both on and off the field from being around each other so long.”

The chemistry will inevitably be there after playing together for four years in high school and at GVSU, but a couple of players have played together for even longer than that.

“Gabbie and I have been playing together since rec (league), so we have been on the same team since we were four years old,” Alexis Mencotti said. “High school, both club teams, college, everything.”

“We’re going to raise our kids together,” Guibord said.

After playing with each other for so long, these players have formed friendships that will last a lifetime and extend well off of the field.

“Not many people get this experience, to play with girls you have been best friends with for years. It’s like your family,” Alexis Mencotti said.