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Peninsula women ink strong recruiting class
The Peninsula College women’s soccer team is taking steps to follow in the men’s championship footsteps, thanks to a strong recruiting class recently signed by head coach Kanyon Anderson.
Players who already have signed NWAACC letters of intent include Sydney Bullington of Montesano; Morgan Atchley of Ridgefield; Kelsey Lenherr of Tumwater; Ashlyn Frizzell of Wasilla, Alaska; Emilia Stefanko of Cascade; and Deidra Woodward of Olympia, as well as Holly Jones of Liberty, who has committed and is in the process of signing.
“This is a fantastic recruiting class with players coming in from the Wenatchee, Seattle, Olympia and the Vancouver areas, as well as one of the best players in Alaska,” Anderson said. “We have a mix of solid defenders, skilled midfielders and dangerous goal scorers. By adding this talent to the already gifted group of returning players, we should be able to compete for the division title.”
■ Bullington, a striker, is a class-A All-State selection, an Evergreen League most valuable player and a 3.90 grade-point average valedictorian from Montesano High School.
“Bullington is a strong target striker with a powerful shot,” Anderson said. “I expect Sydney to be a player that is consistently finding open space in front of opposing teams’ goals. She has a knack for scoring goals and she has the physical presence to win the one-on-one battle against opposing center backs.”
■ Atchley, also a striker, was a first team all-Greater St. Helens League player and scored 27 goals her senior year, leading Ridgefield to a district championship and state playoff appearance. She held a 3.90 GPA. She also was named an all-state honorable mention.
“Her breakaway speed will force defenses to stay further back, which will free up space for our talented midfield group,” Anderson said.
■ Lenherr, a defender, was a first team all-Evergreen League and team most valuable player at Tumwater.
“She understands the game as well as any player I have seen at the high school level,” Anderson said of Lenherr. “She always is in the right spot, she cuts off passing angles and she communicates well with her teammates. Kelsey could be successful at any position on the field.”
■ Frizzell, another defender, broke the Alaska state field goal kicking record for a female kicker in boys football, and was the runner-up for Regional Soccer Player of the Year as a junior. She is a three-time first team all-region player who enters her senior season this spring at Wasilla.
“She is blazingly fast and will chase down any opposing strikers that happen to get through the defense,” Anderson said.
■ Stefanko, a midfielder, set the all-time scoring record for Cascade High School in Leavenworth with 66 goals, 45 assists and six goals in one game. She was first team all-Caribou League for all four years of her high school career and is on the school’s honor roll.
“Stefanko has the skill, vision and passing ability to play in the midfield but her accurate finishing, speed and strength make her invaluable as a striker,” Anderson said.
■ Woodward, a midfielder, led her Olympia High School team in goals and assists and earned first team all-league honors in the 4A South Puget Sound League.
“What I really like about Deidra is her physical presence in the midfield,” Anderson said of his Olympia recruit. “She tackles hard and will win loose balls for us allowing us to stay in the attack.”
■ Jones, a striker, helped her Liberty High School team to the state quarterfinals and a KingCo Conference championship this year. She played for the Seattle Synergy in the Women’s Premier Soccer League that competed up and down the West Coast.
In addition to a star-studded group of returners, Peninsula also has Jordan Dineen, who transferred to Peninsula over winter break from NCAA Division 2 New Mexico Highlands University after a great freshman year where she played more than 45 minutes a game and scored a goal in the first round of the NCAA playoffs.