Soccer inks eight new recruits for 2013

GVL / Archive
Head Soccer Coach Dave DiIanni

GVL / Archive Head Soccer Coach Dave DiIanni

Tate Baker

After completing a season with a class that included six graduating seniors, who were the centerpiece for two national championships (2009, 2010) and four final four appearances (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), the Grand Valley State women’s soccer program hopes their newest class can build a similar legacy.

GVSU’s 2013 recruiting class includes eight newcomers, featuring four all-state athletes.

“This class has been on campus together numerous times,” said head coach David Dilanni. “They seem like a tight knit group. All of these girls truly love the game. That’s really the key to being successful.”

Unlike in years past, every athlete in the 2013 class prepped in the state of Michigan. This has subsequently resulted in several of the incoming freshmen having already played together throughout high school.

“We have had all Michigan kids I think two classes in a row now,” said assistant coach Erica Demers. “It’s reassuring to know that these kids have already created a bond with each other before they even step foot on campus.”

Clare Carlson and Marti Corby played together at Forest Hills Central High School, while Alexis Mencotti, Emily Bush and Gabbie Guibord played together at Northville High School. Many of the girls have also played club soccer together for the past four years.

“Playing together in club and high school can be a good and also a bad thing,” Dilanni said. “The chemistry is already there, so there’s an easiness with the transition, but that could also be a bad thing because you don’t want them to get too relaxed.”

GVSU had to deal with the task of replacing the NCAA Division II all-time shutout leader and three-time All-American Chelsea Parise. To lighten the blow of Parise’s departure, Dilani and the Laker coaching staff have brought in Jessie Bultsma, goalkeeper from Grand Rapids Christian High School.

“If you look back on it, Parise had to follow an outstanding goalkeeper as well,” Demers said. “Of course, no one is going to be able to do the things that Chelsea did right away, but we have a couple more-than-capable girls at that position. It should be interesting to see who makes the biggest improvements throughout the spring and summer.

Making the transition from high school to college athletics can be hard for some. Hopefully for GVSU, the chemistry built between some of the incoming freshmen during high school will transfer over when they first walk on the field as Lakers in August.

“The familiarity that everyone in this class already has with each other is something that we have not had in my tenure here at Grand Valley,” Dilanni said. “The chemistry that they have built in those years playing with each other should help the transition in the fall.”

Erika Bradfield (Rockford, Mich.) and Michelle Foote (Lowell, Mich.) round out the recruiting class for GVSU. The current roster of Lakers anticipates their arrival.

“We graduated a great class,” said freshman Katie Klunder. “We are really excited to see this incoming class join us this upcoming fall.”

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