The 2012 home opener for the New England Mutiny is less than two weeks away, and the team has added even more depth to their roster for the upcoming kick-off in WPSL Elite. In preparation for their Saturday, May 12th match vs. the New York Fury at East Longmeadow H.S., New England has signed six (6) more players who possess a wealth of experience in the U.S. National Team system and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
Goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo and forward Kate Howarth of the Miami Hurricanes, defenders Zoe Lombard and Casey Morrison of the Boston College Eagles, defender/forward Toni Pressley of the U.S. U-23 National Team & Florida State University and forward/midfielder Lauren Reilly of Fairfield University will join the Mutiny for the 2012 WPSL Elite season. For New England's Director of Player Personnel Brendan Faherty, these additions will add more than depth to an already solid squad.
"The goal when putting this team together was to provide competition at every position and I believe these new signings give us that," said Faherty. "We want to provide an atmosphere that will not only create competitive games, but also competitive practices."
Such will be the case in net, as the Hurricanes' Vikki Alonzo joins in the starting goalkeeping battle alongside U.S. U-23 & Boston College standout Alexa Gaul. Alonzo had a long & distinguished career for the University of Miami, starting in 66 of the 77 matches she appeared in while setting the school-record for career shutouts (25 in 37 career wins).
In 2011, the Carrolton, TX-native helped the Hurricanes make it to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament, the deepest the Canes have ever made it into the tournament. In 2008, Vikki was one of six players to start all 22 matches for Miami and became the school's single-season leader in shutouts (11), saves (114), goals against average (0.88) and minutes in goal (2,055:22) as a SoccerBuzz Freshman All-American Third-Team and Southeast All-Freshman Team selection.
"Vikki recently finished up a steller four-year career at the University of Miami, where this past Fall she helped lead the team to NCAA Tournament," said Faherty about Alonzo, who previously starred for the WPSL Miami Kickers. "She is another experienced player who will help organize our defense."
Miami Hurricanes forward Kate Howarth started and played in all 19 games of the 2011 season, capping a successful campaign with 11 goals and seven assists on the season. She led the team with 29 points and 45 shots, including three game-winning goals. Howarth was named to the 2011 All-ACC Second Team and NSCAA All-Southeast Third Team for her efforts.
The Grand Blanc, MI-native ranked fourth in the ACC at 1.53 points per game in 2011. She was also awarded ACC Player of the Week honors Oct. 18, after UM took down Top-10 ranked opponents Boston College and Maryland. That same week, she was named to three other Player of the Week lists: Disney Soccer/NSCAA, SoccerSavings.com/Soccer News Net Women's College and CollegeSoccer360.com's National Primetime.
"Kate just completed a great junior season at the University of Miami, where she lead the team to the NCAA Tournament," said Faherty. "She is another attacking option for us up top, who will score goals and create opportunities for others."
Two more stars for the nationally-ranked Boston College Eagles join the team this season, with starting defenders Zoe Lombard and Casey Morrison adding even more youth, athleticism and depth to the Mutiny backline.
Lombard played and started every game for nationally-ranked Boston College last fall, as the 12-6-3 Eagles would lose to eventual NCAA champion Stanford in the Sweet 16. In 2010, the Largo, FL-native played in 12 games (two starts) and earned her first start in the NCAA Tournament game vs. Hofstra and proceeded to score her first career goal.
Casey Morrison joined teammate Stephanie McCaffrey as two of 30 players called into training camp for the U.S. U-20 Women's National Team camp this past January. Morrison and Eagles & Mutiny teammate Kristen Mewis were honored by Soccer America, as Mewis was named to the Soccer America MVP Second Team, while Morrison earned All-Rookie Second Team honors.
The 2011 All-ACC Freshman Team selection played in 21 games with 20 starts and was a part of the defensive back line that helped the team earn 10 shutouts and have a 0.72 GAA this past season. The York, PA-native was named Team Rookie of the Year for her efforts. Before B.C., Morrison was honored as a NSCAA Youth All-American in 2010.
"Morrison and Lombard were both mainstays on the BC backline in 2011," said Faherty. "Their experience playing in the ACC and playing previously with many of their Mutiny teammates should make it a seamless transition to WPSL Elite for both players."
Toni Pressley joined Florida State teammate Tori Huster who were going to continue their soccer careers at the professional level. Both former Seminole All-Americans were selected in the 2012 WPS Draft at the NSCAA National Convention in Kansas City, MO this past January, with Pressley being selected with the final pick in the second round and 13th overall by the Philadelphia Independence.
Now, the two will face off in WPSL Elite as Huster was signed by the Western New York Flash in March. The two-time MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List candidate concluded her four-year playing career in Tallahassee tied for third at Florida State in game appearances with 96 and tallied 33 career points (11 goals, 11 assists), while serving as a three-year starter on the Seminole backline.
A member of the U.S. team that won the 2010 CONACAF U-20 Women's Championships in Guatemala to earn a berth to the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, the Melbourne, FL-native recently helped the U.S. U-23's clinch the 2012 Four Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain. In 2010, Toni was a Soccer America MVP First-Team All-American, a TopDrawerSoccer.com Third Team and NSCAA All-American Fourth Team selection.
"Pressley brings plenty of experience to the Mutiny as a 4-year standout on the backline for Florida State and has experience with the U.S. National Team program at U17-U23 age groups," said Faherty. "We expect her to be a major part of our backline this summer, but don't be surprised to see her pop up and score a few goals, too."
Forward/midfielder Lauren Reilly is another player who has made her mark in the Northeast Region. The 5-9 Boca Raton, FL-native was named to the NSCAA All-Northeast Region Second Team this past fall for Fairfield University after she netted three goals for the Stags during the year, with the game-winner in the Stags victory at Hofstra. Reilly earned Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Second Team honors in 2011, and was a MAAC All-Academic Team honoree in 2010.
"I have watched Lauren play for the past two years at Fairfield University," said Faherty about Reilly, who also starred for the WPSL Miami Kickers. "She is a versatile and dynamic player who will add another dimension to our attack this summer."
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