Feb. 9, 2010
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The University of Iowa soccer team announced its 2010 recruiting class Monday. Head Coach Ron Rainey welcomes six standouts from around the Midwest, including Ashley Catrell, Leah DeMoss, Alex Melin, Katie Nasenbenny, Allex Strang and Jessica Yagla.
Strang and Yagla won’t have to travel far to join Rainey and the Hawkeyes. The pair are Iowa City natives and cross town rivals. The daughter of Mitchel and Kim Strang, Allex, plays for West High and was named team captain for her senior year. She is a two-time all-conference selection and was named to the all-state tournament team as a junior. The 5’7 forward has scored 30 goals for West.
“Allex is an athlete who is big and strong and will only get better in college,” said Rainey. “She has played with, and against, Jessica (Yagla) the last few years and has received good club and high school training. She works hard, and has a great personality both on and off the field.”
Yagla comes from a family that bleeds Black and Gold with her three uncles and her father all wrestling for the Hawkeyes, and a sister that played soccer. The daughter of Steve and Diane Yagla has a lengthy resume, including leading the team in assists her freshman season and being named City High’s team MVP her sophomore and junior years. She was also named team captain for her junior year. Adding to her accomplishments on the soccer field, is a team state title in cross country in 2006 and a 4×800 championship at the 2009 state track and field meet.
“As a local player, I am excited about the improvements we have seen in Jessica’s game over the last few years,” Rainey said. “She has the correct mentality to be a Big Ten athlete, and has received solid coaching at the club and high school level. We look forward to adding her to the team.”
Catrell comes to Iowa from Overland Park, KS. The offensive-minded recruit has scored 24, 21 and 17 goals through her first three seasons in high school, respectively, and has recorded 27 assists. The 5’5 forward is a three time first team all-conference and two time first team all-state selection as well as being named first team all-district as a sophomore. The daughter of Ron and Ragene Catrell also holds three records at Blue Valley West for most goals in a single season (24), most goals in a career (62) and most assists in a career (27).
“Ashley has given opposing defenses, both in the Midwest and on the national stage, fits,” Rainey said. “She is a goal scorer, and we need her to continue to do those things for the Hawkeyes. Her experience with her club, high school, and both Kansas and Region 2 ODP teams have given her a good sense on the movement off the ball needed to score at a high level. She will combine with our current attackers to allow us to be more dangerous in the attacking third.”
Melin brings experience as a player on the high school and club level to Iowa. The Verona, WI native has competed for the Madison 56ers for seven years. Melin has won two Wisconsin State Cups with the 56ers at the U-13 and U-16 levels, while serving as a team captain. The daughter of Tim and Liz Melin has scored 27 goals for her high school and tallied 10 assists. She was named team captain her junior year.
“Alex brings a lot to the table,” Rainey said. “First, she has a superior work ethic. She will get better each year over the next four years because of the desire to improve. Second, she competes. She does not like to lose, and that is essential for high level athletes. Finally, she is technically sound on the field. She receives and plays balls well and connects with teammates.”
Nasenbenny is a two-time all-conference and all-sectional selection, as well as being named to the all-state all-area and Pepsi showdown all-tournament teams her junior year. The daughter of Dane, former Purdue wrestler, and Mary Nasenbenny, has competed nationally and internationally with her club and ODP teams, including tournaments in Costa Rica, Germany and Portugal. In addition to her dedication to soccer, Katie serves as an excellent role model in the community. She is the co-founder of the Celiac Attack soccer tournament organized for charity, as well as a volunteer for the IYSA Inner City Program and a tutor for elementary school students.
“Katie is a soccer player,” Rainey said. “She knows and understands the game and she enjoys playing it. She comes from a great family and an excellent club and ODP background. She is fun to be around and that translates onto the soccer field.”
DeMoss is a three-time all-are and two time all-conference selection, as well as being named to the all-state team in 2009. The daughter of Gary and Laurelyn DeMoss, she was named team MVP her junior season after scoring 18 goals and tallying 13 assists. In addition to her high school experience, Demos competed on the Fox Valley Premier team and was the team’s leading scorer the year they placed third in the US Soccer Club National Tournament. In 2009, she was named second team Chicago Sun Times all-Area and ESPN all-American honorable mention.
“Leah is going to be a great Hawkeye addition,” Rainey said. “She can play at many places on the field and is a strong athlete who will thrive in the Big Ten. Her attitude and effort are excellent, and her club and high school coaches have prepared her to play at the next level.”
The Iowa soccer program is excited with the new potential the incoming class brings. The wealth of experience this class brings will help Iowa compete in the tough Big Ten Conference.
“We are excited to add these players to the Hawkeye family,” Rainey said. “I feel they will combine well with our current team. They will add to our program as students, as athletes and as members of the Hawkeye community. We feel, as a group, they will be the kind of hard working players that Hawkeye fans have come to enjoy watching and representing Iowa. I, along with our staff and current players, welcome the class of 2010.”