Goalkeeper Megan Herring and defender Kathryn Ripple of Santa Rosa, midfielder Carrie Freyer of Windsor, forward Brooke Apodaca of Rocklin and midfielder Michelle Bella of Glendora will join the Penguins next season in NCAA Division II action. The Penguins tied for fifth place in their inaugural season in the Pacific West Conference in 2009 and won three of their last four games, including a 1-0 victory on the road against previously undefeated Dixie State University.
“We finished strong last year and we have a strong recruiting class coming in this year to help us continue building this program into a championship contender,” Delano said.
Herring was the North Bay League’s Most Valuable Player and first-team All-Empire goalie who led Montgomery High School to a 22-2-1 record and the North Coast Section Division I championship last season. She allowed only eight goals in 25 games.
On November 17, 2009, Herring was named ESPN Rise’s California Athlete of the Week.
“We are very excited to have Meg's commitment. She is a very athletic GK with great size and technique,” Delano said. “She is coming to DU from a club that has produced many great GKs and we feel she has the potential to make an immediate impact on our program. The fact that she is committed in the classroom and on the field makes us feel very confident in Megs helping our program become a western region power.”
Freyer, center mid, was a four-year starter at Windsor High School where she made the All Sonoma County League and All-Empire teams every year. She also is a member of the Santa Rosa United Thunder, which is ranked among the top 50 in the country. Freyer’s age group club team was a State Cup finalist in 2008 and State Cup semifinalist in 2007 and 2009. Her team won the US Club National Championship in 2005.
“Carrie is a very good player that will help fill the void left by Eleanna Mendez (another Windsor High School product),” Delano said. “Carrie has tremendous work-rate, vision, and technical ability. Her commitment to academics and soccer makes her the ideal fit for Dominican University and the women's soccer program.”
Ripple, who is Freyer’s teammate with Santa Rosa United Thunder and was Herring’s teammate at Montgomery High, was named to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s All-Empire first team. She joined Freyer on Santa Rosa United’s state and national cup teams and starred at Montgomery, which has been in the NCS finals for the past nine years.
“We are extremely pleased to have received Kathryn’s commitment. We have followed the development of Kathryn through the years and have been impressed by her competitiveness, technical ability, and ability to play a variety of positions on the back line,” Delano said. “Every team she has ever been a part of has been successful and we know this will continue during her time at Dominican University.”
Apodaca, a forward from Rocklin, was the leading scorer in 2009 for the U-17 team in the Placer United Prestige Soccer Club. It was US Club Soccer National Champion in 2008. Before her move to Placer, Apodaca played for Cal Rush in Sacramento where she led her team in 2007 with 28 goals and 15 assists.
“Brooke has the ability to make an immediate impact here at DU. She has unbelievable pace and loves to run at defenders with the ball at her feet,” Delano said. “She has been a proven goal scorer for every team she has played for and we believe that will continue here at DU. Brooke has excelled in the class and will be a great addition to the team and student body at DU.”
Bella, a mid out of St. Lucy’s Priory High School, is team captain for the second year in a row for the Regents, who last season won the Sierra League championship and were ranked the No. 1 team in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. A two-time all-Sierra League player in high school who led the conference in assists last season, Bella also plays for the United F.C. GU 19 club team, formerly known as the LH Eclipse, which was a 2009 Surf Cup semifinalist and 2009 champion in the Eclipse College Showcase. She played for the SCU Blazers in 2008 when they won the Eclipse showcase title and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the National Cup U-15s.
“Michelle has great technical ability, which is one of the main things we look for during the identification process,” Delano said. “She comes to us battle tested from playing soccer in the Coast League as well as major tournaments like Surf, Nomads, and Regional's. Michelle has worked hard to improve her game since we first saw her play and we are excited about the potential she brings to the program.”
Dominican’s 2010 recruiting class for its men’s soccer program will be announced later this month.