LEXINGTON, Va. - VMI women's soccer announced its incoming class for the 2017 season on Wednesday, a group that consists of nine players that will start their VMI careers this coming August.
“We are very excited about this year's incoming class,” said VMI head coach Chris Bergmann. “The class is comprised of tremendous student-athletes who love soccer, desire an extraordinary college experience, have a team-first mentality and all will have an immediate impact on our program. We are a highly competitive group and these ladies will fit extremely well with the returners. Our returning team has taken the program to a whole new level with commitment and focus and train hard day in and day out. It is an exciting time here at VMI and I can't wait to see what is in store in the future.”
Capsules on each of the nine new players appear below. Stay tuned to VMIKeydets.com in the coming weeks for the 2017 women's soccer schedule release.
Natalie Carpenter, M, Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road (Triangle Futbol Club Alliance)
High School/Personal: Four-year letterwinner at Leesville Road HS...state finalist...regional competitor in summer of 2016...also played at the Disney/ESPN Showcase in both 2015 and 2016...played club for 99' Select and Triangle Futbol Club Alliance...Vice President of National Technology Honor Society...intends to major in international studies.
Coach's Quote: “Natalie is a dynamic, hard-working midfielder who also has the versatility to play out wide. She has a tremendous work rate and will raise the level of our team training. She loves to attack and has a great shot from distance. Natalie also has a team first mentality and will sharpen those around her.”
Marilyn Cardenas, M, Ashburn, Va./Stonebridge (Loud 99G Red)
High School/Personal: Three-year varsity member of Stonebridge HS...two-time state runner-up...played club soccer for Loudoun FC, Virginia State Cup semifinalist and Disney Showcase Champion...also played for CYA Premier of Super Y League...honor roll and National Spanish Honor Society.
Coach's Quote: "Marilyn is a complete player who can play at most positions. She also has a great ability to score goals and will fight for the valuable space anywhere in the field. She has great vision and can bring us depth anywhere on the forward line and midfield."
Kiley Cropper, F, Greeley, Colo./Greeley West (Northern Colorado Soccer Club)
High School/Personal: Originally part of 2016-17 class, but joining VMI this season due to knee injury incurred during senior season...four-year letterwinner at Greeley West...Andy Borg MVP and Sam Chuenchit MVP...scored 30 points her junior year and 15 in her first four games of her senior season...honor roll...intends to major in economics and business.
Coach's Quote: “Kiley is a super athlete. She played five sports in high school, and will bring an explosive, physical presence and a nose for the goal mentality to our front line. Kiley has a tremendous competitive spirit and will sharpen her teammates around her. She is also very versatile and will bring depth to our overall team.”
Onika Hammond, M, Portsmouth, Va./Churchland (Beach FC)
High School/Personal: Four-year letterwinner at Churchland...team's player of the year...played club soccer for Beach FC, club team of former Keydet Amanda Berrios-Jackson (who shares the VMI record for career games played)...2012-2015 ODP, ODP International Travel Team 2014...National Art Honor Society, National Honor Society and National English Honor Society...intends to major in biology.
Coach's Quote: "Onika adds both speed and intensity to the team. She has played both in the attack and on defense. She raises our overall team speed and brings depth to several positions. She is dynamic in her attacking movements and has a great shot on goal."
Paige Miller, GK, Plainville, Conn./Plainville (FSA FC ECNL)
High School/Personal: Four-year letterwinner at Plainville HS...All-Conference and All-Colonial...Honorable Mention SWC...PDP Northeast Select...regional pool ODP select...national finals for ECNL...also lettered one year in track and field as a shot put competitor...intends to major in international studies.
Coach's Quote: “Paige brings exceptional work ethic and great experience as a goalkeeper. She is a tremendous shot blocker who is quick off her line and fights for everything in the box. Paige has great leadership skills and will fit right in with our servant mentality.”
Ashlee Oaks, M/F, Good Hope, Ga./Prince Avenue Christian (Atlanta Fire ECNL)
High School/Personal: Three-year letterwinner at Prince Avenue Christian...first team all-region...first team all-area...Athens Banner-Herald Top 10 Player...coaches' award...area player of the week five times...holds school record for goals and assists...also played for Atlanta Fire ECNL and Dalvid Revolution R3PL...Georgia ODP...Vice President of the National Art Honor Society...intends to major in biology.
Coach's Quote: “Ashlee brings a wealth of experience, including competing with the Atlanta Fire ECNL. She has set numerous scoring records for her school and team, and possesses a battle mentality, never backing down to anyone. She is a strong 1v1 player and looks to penetrate on the dribble and use her speed.”
Amber Risheg, M, Henderson, Nev./Foothill (Heat FC 99 ECNL)
High School/Personal: All-state at Foothill HS with 18 goals and four assists...2017 Nevada All-State Academic Team...2016 Girls State...Surf Cup Semifinals...also lettered one year each in cross country and track, as well as flag football...intends to major in biology.
Coach's Quote: “Amber brings great experience and versatility to our program. She played as a defensive midfielder for Heat FC ECNL out of Nevada and as a central forward – finishing her senior year as an all-state honoree – in high school. She has great vision, athleticism and a nose for the goal. She will add depth in multiple positions.”
Sidney Swoope, GK, Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam (Beach FC)
High School/Personal: Four-year letterwinner at Kellam...all-coference and All-Tidewater Second Teams...played club soccer for Beach FC alongside fellow signee Onika Hammond...also lettered two years in basketball and one in field hockey, where she won the sportsmanship award...intends to major in psychology.
Coach's Quote: "Sidney is a strong goalkeeper who bring great presence to a back line. She is a great shot stopper and communicator. She is having a tremendous senior year helping her team compete for a state title. She possess great leadership skills and desires to make those around her better."
Sarita Walters, D, Grantville, Pa./Lower Dauphin (LDC United Galaxy)
High School/Personal: Four-year letterwinner at Lower Dauphin HS...All-Mid-Penn Conference, Keystone Division...second team all-state sophomore and junior year...all-state first team senior year...Penn Live Girls' soccer all-state second team....also played club for LDC United Galaxy...Leadership Award...Soccer Excellence Award...Subway Scholar-Athlete of the year for her high school...distinguished honor roll (all A's) since ninth grade...Woman Student of the Month at Lower Dauphin HS...multiple "PRIDE" (Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Discipline, Excellence) awards from high school...EDP Cup Spring Showcase...2016 PA Classics Mid-Atlantic Cup champions...sponsored by Lingelstown Auxilary to attend Keystone Girls State program...intends to major in international studies.
Coach's Quote: “Sarita is a tenacious defender with a great mind for the game. She constantly wants to know more about soccer and how to impact the game in a positive direction. She brings a wealth of leadership experience as well, which will help create a great training environment. She is very quick and can help anywhere on the back line.”