The South Dakota State women’s soccer team welcomed nine student-athletes to the team, eight of which signed national letters of intent on national signing day…
The 2012 class has its hands full, joining a program that graduated seven seniors from its 2011 regular season championship team and 13 seniors over the past two seasons.
Two of the nine student-athletes hail from the state of South Dakota, while the recruiting class spans from California to Illinois to Canada.
The Jacks welcome six defenders, one forward, one midfielder and one goalkeeper.
Head coach Lang Wedemeyer believes these student-athletes have what it takes to fill those voids and succeed on the field, as well as in the classroom.
“We have a great group of players coming to South Dakota State this fall,” Wedemeyer said. “Many of the signees are defenders, but these are good players that can play all over the field. This is one of the best soccer savvy classes that we have signed. We are expecting big things from this class right away, as we graduated seven influential seniors.”
Diana Potterveld comes to SDSU from Fort Collins, Colo., as the only true forward in the recruiting class. Potterveld was a four-year letterwinner and first team academic all-state at Poudre High School.
“Diana is a great post-up forward who has a true nose for the goal,” said Wedemeyer. “She is strong and comfortable with defenders on her back and has a great knack for playing support players into the attack.”
Alyssa Brazil did not have to travel far to make an impact, joining the Jacks from O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls, S.D. Brazil was a two-time first team all-state selection in high school.
“Alyssa is one of the best players in South Dakota and we are very excited to have her coming to SDSU,” Wedemeyer said. “She is a dynamic midfielder that can play up front, as well. She is tough in the tackle, but also a good ball distributor.”
Six of the nine signees are of the defensive variety, playing mostly in the back line.
Katie McNeary also chose to stay close to home, attending SDSU from Aberdeen Roncalli High School in Aberdeen, S.D. McNeary was a four-year starter, three-time first team all-state selection and two-time team Most Valuable Player.
“Katie is in that class as one of the best players from the state,” said Wedemeyer. “She is as tough of a competitor as they come. She plays mostly in the back, but is versatile enough to move around. We are looking for her athleticism and competitive mentality to help us out right away this fall.”
Delaney Ratcliffe joins the team as the fourth student-athlete from Canada and the second from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Junior defender Stéphanie Bérubé is also from Winnipeg. Ratcliffe was a member of the Manitoba Canada Summer Games team in 2009.
“Delaney is another player who is a great defender and can play anywhere in the back,” Wedemeyer said. “She loves to attack out of the back and will bring some more international experience to our team.”
Bri Ismale joins the team from Eastview High School in Apple Valley, Minn. Ismale was an all-conference selection from the South Suburban Conference this past season.
“Bri is a left-sided player with great skill in her passing and in initiating attacks out of the back,” said Wedemeyer. “She can play up front as well, but either way, she is always looking to get involved in the attack, making her dangerous from a number of places on the field.”
Also joining the defense is Dani Patterson.
“Dani is a tenacious defender who can play just about anywhere on the field,” Wedemeyer said. “She is equally good playing on the left side or the right, and has the potential to be one of our best all-around players.”
Sheridon Newberry did a skip and a hop two states to the northwest, joining the Jacks from Lemont, Ill. Newberry was captain of her club team and part of a state championship team in high school.
“Sheridon came to our camp this past summer and really impressed our coaching staff,” said Wedemeyer. “She is a very composed center back who is as good with her distribution as she is tough in the tackle.”
(Information on the 2012 Field Player and Goalkeeper Camp is available on the SDSU athletics website)
Also joining the defense is Megan Graf, who has been accepted for admission at SDSU and plans to play soccer. Hailing from Woodstock, Ill., Graf was an all-conference selection in high school and a member of the fourth-place national championship club team.
“Megan comes from one of the best club teams in the nation,” Wedemeyer said. “She has played alongside youth national team players and against some of the best youth players in our country and not missed a step. She is a back that has a great ability to read the game.”
Blaklee McMillen, a goalkeeper from Laguna Niguel, Calif., will compete with junior Tina Ehrett and sophomore Elisa Stamatakis to fill the void left by Kat Donovan. McMillen was a team captain and received the 2011 Most Inspirational Award.
“Blaklee is a six-foot goalkeeper with a wingspan of a condor,” said Wedemeyer. “She is an imposing figure in the goal and has a tremendous amount of potential to carry on our string of all-conference keepers.”
South Dakota State is focused on continued success following a season in which it won the regular season conference title, posted a scoreless minutes streak that spanned the entire conference schedule and had numerous student-athletes climb the SDSU leaderboard.