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RICHMOND, Va. – The University of Richmond women’s soccer head coach Marty Beall announced the addition of 12 freshmen for the 2019 season on Tuesday. This class is comprised of three defenders, one goalie, four midfielders and four forwards.

Taylor Fine (San Diego, Ca.), Madelyn Grassi (Ridgewood, N.J.), Catie Groves (Denver, Co.), Alex Helbling (Highlands Ranch, Co.), Emma Kennedy (Blacksburg, Va.), Maddie Loughead (Swedesboro, N.J.), Gianna Lucchesi (Hamilton, N.J.), Sara Moushegian (Apex, N.C.), Jessie Prillaman (Magnolia, Del.), Nora Santelli (Shaker Heights, Ohio), Caitlin Sutton (Clifton, Va.) and Molly Wierman (Sea Girt, N.J.) will enroll at Richmond in the fall and join the Spiders for the upcoming season.

“I am very excited to announce our incoming freshmen for 2019,” Beall said. “This group of players will make an immediate impact on our program. Each player brings their own unique strengths to the team and I can’t wait to see them play with our returners. Something that is vital for me during this recruiting process is not just bringing in talented players, but more importantly is that we bring in great people. That’s what I’m most excited about. These young ladies understand what our culture is and have chosen to be a part of it. The future of Spider Soccer is very bright.”

Taylor Fine – defender – San Diego, Ca. – Albion San Diego
Fine is a defender from Santa Fe Christian Schools in San Diego Ca. She was named to the Coastal League second team as a sophomore and was the 2015-16 Rookie of the Year. Fine also played for the U.S. Soccer development academy for the Pateadores U-16/17 squad. She played in 31 games, making 29 starts as a defender.

Fine on why Richmond: “I chose Richmond not only for the school but for the people and to continue my soccer career at a high level. This is a valuable opportunity for me to branch out of my comfort zone and experience a new thing in hopes of making lifelong connections with the people that I meet along the way. Normal students come in either knowing nobody or only knowing a few people, but being a part of the team is so unique since you already have friends. There is also so much to do around Richmond and the people are always so active which I love. There will never be a dull moment in Richmond that’s for sure.”

Madelyn Grassi – midfielder – Ridgewood, N.J. – Cedar Stars Academy
Grassi is a midfielder and defender from Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, N.J. She was named captain in 2018, All-League in 2017 and a two-time captain of her club team. Grassi helped her team finish as a state sectional finalist in 2017 and a county finalist in 2016. She was a multi-sport athlete earning letters in basketball, Lacrosse and track and field. Grassi helped her club team be a semi-finalist in the New Jersey State Cup in 2018.

Grassi on why Richmond: “Making the decision to play soccer at Richmond was an easy one for so many reasons. Most important was the overall positivity I felt from the coaches, which was reflected in the radiant energy and optimism I felt any time I stepped on campus. That spider feeling is hard to put into words but it is something I value. I am beyond excited to play for a new coach who values our growth as people as well as our growth as soccer players. The reputation of Richmond speaks for itself in terms of education and opportunities and I am looking so forward to challenging myself both academically and athletically and learning the skills I can take with me throughout my entire life.”

Catie Groves – defender – Denver, Co. – Colorado Rapids ECNL
Groves is a defender from Colorado Academy in Denver, Co. She is a four-year letter winner and will be the team captain for her senior season. Groves was named CHSSA first team All-Conference and All-State in 2018. She helped her team finish as a CHSSA State Champion Cup semi-finalist in 2018. Groves helped her club team finish third at the ECNL Championships in 2018.

Groves on why Richmond: “I chose to play at Richmond because I instantly became a part of the family and felt so welcomed by the team and the coaching staff. I felt like I was meant to play for this team with these people. I wanted to also challenge myself academically and athletically.”

Alex Helbling – goalkeeper – Highlands Ranch, Co. – Colorado Rush DA
Helbling is a goalie from Highlands Ranch High School in Highlands, Co. She is a three-year starter and letter winner and was named 2016 Continental League honorable mention. Helbling played for the U.S. Soccer development academy for the Colorado Rush U-18-19 team. She played in 13 games and made eight starts in net.

Helbling on why Richmond: “I knew Richmond was the school for me after meeting the coaching staff. As I walked around the campus it was gorgeous and it felt like home. The school has amazing facilities and great academics; who wouldn’t want to be part of the one and only Spiders.”

Emma Kennedy – forward/midfielder – Blacksburg, Va. – NC Fusion ECNL
Kennedy is a forward and midfielder from Dayspring Christian Academy in Blacksburg, Va. She is a five-year varsity starter and was a three-year team captiain (2017-19). Kennedy is a two-time National Association of Christian Athletes (NACA) first team All-American in 2017-18. She was named the 2018 Player of the Year for NC Fusion U-17 team and is a member of the Virginia ODP State team. Kennedy finished her 2018 season with 106 career goals and 47 assists.

Kennedy on why Richmond: “I chose the University of Richmond because it has everything I am looking for in a college: the competitive soccer program, prestigious academics, beautiful campus, and top-notch athletic facilities. The coaches are amazing and I love the philosophy and culture that the team is built upon.”

Maddie Loughead – defender – Swedesboro, N.J. – Penn Fusion DA
Loughead is a defender from Episcopal Academy in Swedesboro, N.J. She is a four-year letter winner and was named team captain for her senior season. Loughead was named the 2017 All-Mainline second team and All-Delaware county second team. She helped her team rank number four regionally on Top Drawer Soccer and were the 2016 PAISSA Champions. In 2017, her team finished the PAISSA in second place.

Loughead on why Richmond: “I chose to play at the University of Richmond for many great factors. The academic rigor as well as high athletic competition fit what I wanted in my college experience. The campus is in a perfect location and student life all around was spectacular. On top of all this, the new athletic facilities and outstanding coaching staff and team was something I am excited to become a part of.”

Gianna Lucchesi – midfielder/defender – Hamilton, N.J. – FC Bucks ECNL
Lucchesi is a midfielder and defender from The Pennington School in Hamilton, N.J. She is a four-year letter winner and was named team captain in 2018. Lucchesi was one of 20 players to be chosen to play for the East squad in the 6th annual High School All-American game on Dec. 1. She is a two-time Mercer “33” selection – top 33 soccer players in Mercer County and a first team NJ All-Area selection in 2017. Lucchesi is a 2018 Top Drawer Soccer All-American nominee and has scored 14 career goals as a defender. She has helped her team win three NJ State Prep A championships, including the school’s 14th title this season.

Lucchesi on why Richmond: “The academic rigor and core values that drives our elite soccer program made me decide on the University of Richmond because it illuminates the positivity I felt when I first stepped on campus.”

Sara Moushegian – forward – Apex, N.C. – NCFC ECNL
Moushegian is a forward from Apex High School in Apex, N.C. She is a four-year letter winner and was named a co-captain for the 2019 season. Moushegian was named All-Southwest Wake Conference second team in 2018. She finished as one of the leading scorers on her high school team. In 2017, Moushegian helped her club team win the USYSA Southern Regional Championship tournament and finished in the top eight of USYSA National Championship tournament.

Moushegian on why Richmond: “I chose to commit to Richmond because I knew I would find my second family within the team. Coach Marty seems like such a family guy and he places emphasis on respecting and loving your teammates. I loved that about his coaching style. I also knew Richmond would be a great place for me to challenge myself academically, so I would be ready for a great career after college.”

Jessie Prillaman – forward – Magnolia, Del. – Coastal Atlantic Futbol Club
Prillaman is a forward from Caesar Rodney High School in Magnolia, Del. She is a two-time team captain and a two-time Henlopen Conference Player of the Year (2017-18). Prillaman was ranked the number two player in the state by the Delaware Soccer Coaches Association in 2018 and was selected to the NSCAA High School All-Atlantic Region team. She was nominated for the Delaware Gatorade Player of the Year award in 2018 and is a prolific goal scorer with 74 career goals in three seasons. Prillaman has helped her team win three Conference Championships and has made the State Championship final twice.

Prillaman on why Richmond: “I chose the University of Richmond because I saw a future here not only with new experiences and exposure, but also with success. The atmosphere of Richmond is unique and unforgettable. I know I will be truly happy here. I am so excited for the opportunities that await me at the University of Richmond.”

Nora Santelli – forward – Shaker Heights, Ohio – Cleveland F utbol Club
Santelli is a forward from Hathaway Brown School in Shaker Heights, Ohio. She is a four-time letter winner and was named to the All-Cleveland second team in 2017. Santelli was named most improved in 2016 and best offensive player on her team in 2017. She helped her team to an Ohio Division 1 District semi-finalist in 2018 and a Regional finalist in 2017. Santelli also played for the Cleveland Futbol Club helping them finish the OYSAN State Cup in second place in 2017 and 2018.

Santelli on why Richmond: “I knew the University of Richmond was a top liberal arts college, so I was excited to visit and meet coach Beall and coach Grant. The positive vibes from all the students on campus was undeniable. I absolutely loved the campus and became excited about the opportunity to be a part of the soccer program that Marty, Kelly and Brandon were building. I really like Marty’s three core values for the team, including wanting all his players to be the best version of ourselves on and off the field. I am excited to play very competitive soccer in the Atlantic 10 and to study business at one of the best undergraduate business schools in the country.”

Caitlin Sutton – midfielder – Clifton, Va.- Washington Spirit DA
Sutton is a midfielder from SN Academy in Clifton, Va. She played for the U.S. Soccer development academy as part of the Washington Spirit Academy U-16/17 and U-18/19 teams. In 2017-18, Sutton played in 27 games, making 23 starts and three goals. She helped her team win the 2017 ECNL Regional championship and was an ECNL National semi-finalist in 2017. Sutton was a two-time team captain for her club team and a SYL Regional All-Star in 2016.

Sutton on why Richmond: “I chose the University of Richmond because it has the right combination of academic excellence and a competitive division one soccer program with great coaches and teammates in a growth-based family atmosphere.”

Molly Wierman – midfielder – Sea Girt, N.J. – Match Fit ECNL
Wierman is a midfielder from Manasquan High School in Sea Girt, N.J. She is four-year letter winner and was named one of the top 85 soccer seniors in New Jersey. Wierman finished her career with 22 goals and 22 assists, and was named one of the top dangerous forwards in N.J. in 2018. She also played for the Match Fit Academy 2001 ECNL team and won the North American Cup championship in 2016. Wierman was selected for the 2018 North East PDP (Player Development Program).

Wierman on why Richmond: “While narrowing down the college search process, I had visited several college campus settings but none made me feel quite as at home as the University of Richmond. Knowing that I will be away from home but surround by a team of people that truly care about each other is very comforting. So, when asked why I chose the University of Richmond it is because I will have the opportunity to study what I love, play the sport I have a passion for, and be alongside students who generally have the same mindset of work hard, play hard.”

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It looks like a mix of DA, ECNL, and non DA/ECNL clubs. It looks like DA and ECNL are not the only pathways as they claim.

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