Cats hope new recruits help improve

UVM’s women’s soccer program prepares for the 2013-2014 season after suffering a loss in the America East semifinals. Head Coach Kristi Lefebvre anticipates that the newly-introduced recruiting class will have an immediate impact.

The women’s soccer program looks to improve upon its last season by recruiting a strong and skillful group of student athletes. Lefebvre worked hard to bring in the eight newest members of the team, who come from all regions of the nation.

The recruits are expected to aid the midfield, defense and forward positions.

The Catamounts hope to solidify their defense by introducing three experienced defenders to their roster.

Sierra Rhoads, the most recently announced member of the recruiting class, played in La Crescenta, California.

As the captain of her squad, she led her team to three Pacific League Championships, and notched 42 goals and 25 assists over her career at Crescenta Valley High School.

The Catamounts also receive important defensive help from Meg James and Alexa Pius. James played club soccer with the Scorpions ECNL, a top ranked program according to Soccer America.

During her high school career in Sharon, Mass., James was a three-time Hockomock League All-Star. Puis, a decorated high school athlete, comes to UVM from Essex, Vermont where she led her team to the state finals after an undefeated regular season in 2012.

Lefebvre claims that Pius “has great speed, excellent leadership qualities and is extremely motivated as a player and as a person.”

In the midfield, the women’s soccer program welcomes Caitie Green, Alex Jenkins, and Paige Phillips. Green and Phillips were both members of the Penn Fusion ECNL team, while also participating on their respective high school squads. At Bishop Shanahan High School, Green was her team’s leading scorer and was named “Offensive Player of the Year” in 2011.

At Penncrest High School, Phillips was a two-year captain and was selected to the All-Central League First Team in 2011 and 2012.

Jenkins played at Smithfield High School and was named an NSCAA High School Scholar All-American and a member of the NSCAA All-Region Team in 2012.

Lefebvre believes that Jenkins will be able to have a strong impact on the team. “Alex is a workhorse,” Lefebvre commented. “She covers ground quickly and is always the engine of any team she is on. She is extremely bright, a competitor, and a true leader and we can’t wait to have her bring her winning attitude to this program.”

The UVM women’s soccer program only introduced two new forwards for the upcoming 2013-2014 season.

However, Dana Buckhorn and Nikki McFarland both look forward to contributing to the Catamount attack. Buckhorn comes to Vermont from St. Louis Park, Minn., where she played for the Minnesota Thunder ECNL.

At Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School, Buckhorn was a member of the “100-point club” after tallying 59 goals and 50 assists.

She ranks second in the programs history for career points. McFarland earned all- conference honors while attending High School at Deer Park . She also played for the Albertson Fury ECNL.

“Nikki will make an immediate impact for us up top. She is great with the ball, her runs are well timed and deliberate and most of all, she scores goals,” said Lefebvre.

All eight members of the recruiting class hope to have an immediate impact on the success of the UVM women’s soccer program.

The Catamounts will commence their 2013-2014 season at Virtue Field March 24 vs. Southern New Hampshire University 2 p.m.