Aug. 2, 2004
Columbus, Ohio - The Ohio State women's soccer program will welcome its highest-rated recruiting class to preseason camp later this month. Head coach Lori Walker announced the official signings of the seven-member group in February and has watched several soccer publications rank the class among the nation's best. In July, Soccer America tabbed the signees at No. 7 in their in their overall rankings, while SoccerBuzz.com placed the Buckeyes at No. 9 in the nation in May and more recently released a regional ranking, where the publication positioned Ohio State at No. 2 behind Notre Dame in the Great Lakes region. Both magazines touted Texas A&M with the No. 1 recruit class for 2004.
The class features the No. 1-ranked field player signing in the nation in Lara Dickenmann, who has led her club team in Switzerland to the national championship in each of the last two seasons. A native of Kriens, Switzerland, Dickenmann, who can play both forward and midfield, was deemed the No. 2 signing overall by Soccer America. She placed behind Ashlyn Harris, a goalkeeper from Satellite Beach, Fla., who is headed to North Carolina.
"I am proud of the class and excited to see how they will stack up against the other ranked classes in the country," Walker, who enters her eighth season at Ohio State, said. "Lara's ranking is a tremendous honor. However, it is a strong cross for a freshman to bear. Fortunately, she has a strong group of supporters to help her carry that responsibility."
The class also is highlighted by a pair of standouts from the state of California in Carla Arbulu and Heather Young as well as three additions from Ohio in Keiana Mitchell from Cincinnati, Lindsay Mays of Columbus and Jessica Roberts, a native of Strongsville. Canada's Lisa Collison also is an official member of the class, but will wait to join the team in 2005 as she competes for the Canadian national team in 2004.
Young, a star player for the San Diego Surf Soccer Club, is a six-time member of the Southern California state team, a five-year member of the Region IV Olympic Development (ODP) team and also has participated in the U.S. Soccer Youth National Pool. Young competed for the USYS National All-Star Team in April 2003, playing matches against the national teams from Germany and Holland. Young also excelled in softball and field hockey for Torrey Pines High School.
Arbulu is a five-year member of the Southern California state team and a four-year competitor on the Region IV ODP team or pool. A member of the So Cal United Soccer Club, Arbulu also had a standout career at Arroyo Grande High School, earning first team all-league honors each year of her scholastic career. Arbulu is a well-rounded athlete that excelled in volleyball, basketball and track and field.
The Buckeyes added offensive punch in Mays, a three-time member of the Region II ODP team who also captained her club team, Ohio Premier, to a state championship and the regional semifinals. She also was recognized for her outstanding play at Dublin Scioto High School in both soccer and basketball, receiving conference awards in each sport.
Mitchell and Roberts come to Ohio State as renowned defenders and multiple all-league selections at their respective schools.
Mitchell, a Region II ODP Pool Player, earned All-Miami Valley Conference (MVC) awards from 2000 to 2003 and was named to the Cincinnati All-City team following the 2001, '02 and '03 seasons. The Cincinnati Enquirer named Mitchell to its all-star squads from 2001-03 as well. The MVC co-MVP in 2003 was named second team All-Ohio in her senior season. Mitchell also helped the Dayton Soccer Academy to a youth state championship in 2003. In addition to her soccer exploits, Mitchell was a 2003 MVC first team performer on the track as a member of the Country Day 4x100 and 4x400-meter relay teams.
Roberts, a Region II ODP Pool Player, will join Mitchell in the Ohio State backline. She climaxed her scholastic career honored as All-Ohio, All-Midwest and Pioneer Conference (PC) player of the year in 2003. Roberts also was named a NSCAA All-American after finishing second in the voting for 2003 Ohio Player of the Year. A PC honoree in each of her four seasons at Strongsville High School, Roberts helped the Mustangs to the 2002 state championship and regional championships in '01 and '03. Roberts was the PC rookie of the year in 2000 and went on to garner 2002 Cleveland Plain Dealer Player of the Year honors.
Collison, a forward from Niagara Falls, Ontario, is a starter for the U-19 Canadian National Team and recently represented her country in the Pan American Games. Collison also has been the top goal scorer for her Ontario provincial team, leading the squad to three consecutive national championships.
The seven-member class will bolster an Ohio State unit that returns all 11 starters from 2003 and is coming off its best season in the 10-year history of the program. In 2003, the Buckeyes advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament and recorded its best winning percentage at 13-5-3 despite playing the year without two-time offensive most valuable player Lisa Grubb, who was lost for the 2003 campaign after suffering a season-ending injury in the season-opener. The Buckeyes also played the 2003 campaign without K.C. Rosenfeld, a top recruit from 2003, who will join the class of 2008 after a red-shirt season.
Ohio State head coach Lori Walker is thrilled with the talented players the team has added in the recruiting class and expects each to make immediate contributions to the nationally-recognized Buckeye program.
"Each year Ohio State looks to set the bar one notch higher," Walker said. "We have done that each of the last three seasons and this class will allow us to continue our rise to national prominence. To return all 11 starters from last year and then add Lisa Grubb, K.C. Rosenfeld and this special incoming class to the team is a dream come true for any coach. We cannot wait for August and the start of the season."
2004 Soccer America Top Recruiting Classes
1. Texas A&M 2. North Carolina 3. Texas 4. Penn State 5. Notre Dame 7. Ohio State
2004 SoccerBuzz.com Top Recruiting Classes
1. Texas A&M 2. Notre Dame 3. North Carolina 4. Penn State 5. Texas 9. Ohio State
Ohio State Women's Soccer 2004 Recruiting Class
Player Hometown Club Team Highest ODP Carla Arbulu Grover Beach, Calif. So Cal United Regional Team Lisa Collison Niagara Falls, Can. Oakville Angels U19 National Team Lara Dickenmann Kriens, Switzerland Sursee Full Women's National Team* Lindsay Mays Powell, Ohio Ohio Premier Regional Team Keiana Mitchell Cincinnati, Ohio DSA Regional Pool Jessica Roberts Strongsville, Ohio Ohio Premier Regional Pool Heather Young Del Mar, Calif. Surf National Pool
SOCCER AMERICA TOP 25 COLLEGE WOMEN'S RECRUITS 2004
Athlete Pos. Hometown School 1. Ashlyn Harris G Satellite Beach, Fla. North Carolina 2. Lara Dickenmann M/F Kriens, Switzerland Ohio State 3. Diana Matheson M Oakville, Ontario Princeton 4. Kerri Hanks F Allen, Texas Notre Dame 5. Sheree Gray F/M Toms River, N.J. Penn State