@HerdWSoccer Inks Six to National Letters-of-Intent
The Thundering Herd signed six players for the 2017 freshman class
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall women’s soccer team signed six players for the 2017 freshman class, head coach Kevin Long announced Monday. The class includes standouts Abi Dropik (Lititz, Pa.), Emily Mathias (Delaware, Ohio), Mary Lawman (Winfield, W.Va.), Molly Preston (Lancaster, N.Y.), Rene Ross, (Lititz, Pa.) and Lauren Wilson (Marietta, Ga.).
“We were real keen on the quality of this class rather than the quantity,” Long said. “After losing three important players in Sydney Arnold, Kayla Byrnside and Jordan Parkhurst, we were focused on filling in those holes. We are bringing in defense, attacking and midfielders that fill in those gaps. After not getting in the tournament last year, we expect these players to come in and contribute immediately.”
Lawman, a 5-9 midfielder/forward, is a name Herd fans should be familiar with, as her sister, sophomore Jayne Lawman, is on the team. The Winfield, W.Va., native played soccer at Winfield High School, where she helped lead the Generals to four Class AA-A state soccer championships. Individually, she was named the 2016 Kanawha Valley Girls Soccer Player of the Year, was a member of the All-State first team and First Team All-Kanawha Valley for four consecutive years and finished her career having scored 120 goals and 47 assists. Club-wise, Lawman played for WVFC, where she helped lead the team to become state champions and made it to the semifinals in 2015. Lawman’s ability stretched beyond the pitch, as she won two state championships in track and field and played basketball.
“Mary brings some of the same attributes that Jayne is known for, but she’s a little more assertive,” Long said. “She’s aggressive and plays with a fierceness. She’s stellar in everything she does and I think that comes from her competitive spirit. We think that competitiveness will elevate our training and games right away.”
Wilson, a 5-4 midfielder, comes from Pope High School, where she led the team to a region Championship in 2014. She played club soccer at NASA Tophat, which were the 2015 Georgia State Champions.
“Wilson plays a more central midfielder role and we expect her to challenge for minutes early on,” Long said. “She loves controlling the tempo of play, attacks very well and understands pressure. We are eager to imprint our playing style in her, because her play at the club level is what we look for in our players.”
Preston, a 5-6 forward, played her club ball for the WNY Flash from 2016-17 and Buffalo Soccer Academy from 2010-15. While switching times between the two clubs, she helped lead the two sides to become New York State Cup Champions for six consecutive games, Region 1 Premier League Champions for two years and runners-up for two years and Kick It 3-v-3 champions. Preston also scored 52 goals and collected 83 assists combined for the two clubs. During her career at Lancaster High School, Preston was a member of the varsity team for all four years and scored 53 goals and collected 47 assists.
“There is a lot of speed in this class, but I would say Molly is our fastest player coming in,” Long said. “We recruited her as a forward, because she can get behind defenders with her pace. Since we’ve seen her play more, we’ve seen her play outside back as well. She’s versatile and brings that pace, which makes her dangerous. She’s technical, so we are eager to bring her on the team”
Ross, a 5-5 midfielder/forward, played at Warwick High School, where she led the team in goals and assists in all four years she played there. To go along with her individual achievement, she was selected as a LL League All Star for four years and selected to the NL League “Big 11” by coaches her junior and senior year. Ross was not limited to just one sport, as she also played basketball and softball.
“Rene attacks well, controls tempo and is very technical,” Long said. “She has a great one-on-one ability where she can take players on and get a good look at goal. She can finish very well for us with her technical ability.”
Mathias, a 5-8 defender, plays her club ball for OP ECNL, where it is currently the No. 1 club team in the nation. While with her former club team, the Ohio Premier, she was the teammate of early enrollee Annie Springer. While with the Ohio Premier, she helped lead the team to a No. 9 ranking in the country.
“We are bringing in Emily as a center back,” Long said. “She brings a great understanding on positioning and how to play in that spot. She’s a player who finds feet, so she is good at initiating the attack, while also being calm under pressure. We hope she solidifies our backline this next year.”
The Herd’s final signee, Dropik, is a 5-2 defender from Manheim Township High School. While, at Manheim she started 84 times in 84 games during her four-year career, was a Lancaster-Lebanon League All Star from 2013-16, the captain of her high school from 2015-16, helped lead her high school to become Lancaster-Lebanon League Section 1 Champions from 2015-16, Lancaster-Lebanon League Champions in 2016, Pennsylvania District 3 AAAA finalists in 2016 and PIAA State AAAA Semi Finalists in 2016. Dropik was also the Carrie Wertz Award recipient in 2016, which is given to players who exemplify Character, Leadership and Sportsmanship. While with her club team, the Penn. Legacy Soccer Club, she was the captain from 2014-16 and led the team to Delco Champions in 2015 and Bethesda Champions in 2015.
“We are looking at Abi as an outside back,” Long said. “She’s a defender and can play on the outside as well, but we think her quick first step and aggressiveness on the ball might make her an outside player for us.”
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