Cagle and Staff Excited About 2004 Recruiting Class
Hokies add strength in numbers as 14 commit to Virginia Tech
February 12, 2004

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The hard work put in on the recruiting trail for the Virginia Tech women's soccer staff paid dividends this week as 14 newcomers committed to join the Hokies for their transition into the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. Head coach Kelly Cagle and her staff are excited about their 2004 recruiting class.

"My staff and I are very pleased about the quality and quantity of the talent in this years' recruiting class to Virginia Tech. Fourteen young ladies is not your typical recruiting class, but we have put together a fantastic group that will lay the foundation for the future success here at Tech," said Cagle.

"Each player had many opportunities to chose from but in the end chose Virginia Tech because they wanted to make a difference and impact a program's future. I have no doubt that this group, combined with our returners, is up for the challenge and is excited about competing in the best conference in the country (ACC) this fall."

Defender Lindsay Alexander, from Oakton, Va., will join the Hokies after a successful career at Oakton High School where she has been named all-District, all-Region and all-State during her career with one season left to play. The daughter of Gregg and Beverly Alexander, she will enroll in the engineering program. At Oakton, she was named first-team all-District and first-team all-Region in 2003. She also earned Honorable Mention all-State and all-Metro honors. In 2002, Alexander was named second-team all-District. She led Oakton to third place in the region in 2003. She also has nine years club experience with the VISTA Firestars - a team that won six Virginia State titles and the Region I championship in 2002. Alexander played four years with the Virginia State ODP Team and was recently named to the Region I Super-Y League team.

"Lindsay is a well-rounded defender that has the ability to play with either three or four in the back," said Cagle. "Her versatility, combined with her competitiveness and leadership qualities, will give her an opportunity to make an immediate impact for us on defense"

Defender Meghan Devine, from Alpharetta, Ga., prepped at Milton High School. The daughter of Kathy and Jack Devine, she intends to major in pre-med. Devine led Milton to the state quarterfinals in 2003 and had six goals and 20 assists during her career. She also played four seasons with the Concord Fire Elite club team, leading her team to the Region III Premier League championship in 2001. The team was also a State Cup finalist in 2002, earning a top 15 national ranking. From 1999-2003, Devine played for the Georgia State ODP Team, and in 2003, she played with the Region III ODP Team.

"Meghan is a tall, strong defender who has excellent feet," said Cagle. "She reads the game very well and can challenge in the air with anyone we will face. We are delighted she is coming to Virginia Tech and expect big things from Meghan right away."

Midfielder Meredyth Gehrig, from Virginia Beach, Va., is finishing her successful career for Cox High School in Virginia Beach this spring. The daughter of Jackie and Jerry Gehrig, she intends to major in engineering at Tech. At Cox, she helped her team capture the VHSL Eastern Region and Beach District championship during her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. Cox was also a state semifinalist her freshman and sophomore years and a state quarterfinalist during her junior campaign. As a junior, she was named Honorable Mention all-State and first-team Eastern Region and Beach District. She earned second-team all-Beach District accolades as a sophomore and Honorable Mention as a freshman. In addition to her prep career, she also played for the Virginia Rush Nike club team for one season, leading the team to the State Cup Championship in 2003. Gehrig also played for the Virginia State ODP Team and the Region I ODP Team from 2000-2003 and was a member of the ODP National Pool Team in 2002.

"Meredyth is a player that we came onto a little later in our recruiting process, so needless to say we were very excited she chose Tech," said Cagle. "She is a skillful, left-footed midfielder that we think can make an impact in several roles for us this fall."

Midfielder Liz Guise, from Midlothian, Va., will join the Hokies after a successful career in high school, club and ODP soccer. The daughter of Ben and Lynne Guise, she attended Midlothian High School and helped her team to the 2002 state semifinals and the 2001 state quarterfinals. She was named all-District, all-Region and all-Metro during her career. On the club level, she played for the Richmond Strikers Orange team and led the team to the state finals in 2003. In 2002, she helped the squad reach the state semifinals. In addition, she participated with the Virginia State ODP Team for two years.

"Liz is a blue-collar, soldier-type midfielder, she doesn't care who gets the credit, she only cares about the result. This approach will be invaluable in creating a professional environment and will give her a chance to make an impact on the game," said Cagle.

Midfielder Heather Hallberg, from Richmond, Va., led the Collegiate School to four consecutive League of Independent Schools (LIS) titles during her prep career. The daughter of Marc and Bettie Hallberg, she expects to enroll in human nutrition, food and exercise. Hallberg was named to the all-LIS, all-Metro Richmond Girls and all-Richmond Times-Dispatch teams in 2001, 2002 and 2003. She was also named all-Region III South by the NSCAA in 2003. Her club team experience included 11 years with the Richmond Strikers - a team she led to the state finals in 2003. The Strikers were also State Cup semifinalists in 2000, 2001 and 2002. On the ODP level, she spent four years with the Virginia State Team.

"Heather is one of the most well-rounded players in our class. She has the ability to give us minutes in the back, in midfield, or potentially up front," said Cagle. "Her fearlessness and willingness to do the "extras" will make her a true asset to our program. We are glad she is coming to Tech."

Defender Ashley Kinser, from Johnson City, Tenn., prepped at Science Hill High School. The daughter of Mark and Lindy Kinser, she intends to study for a career in physical therapy. She played one season at Science Hill where she was named all-District and all-Region. She was also a standout player for the Greenville Futball club team for three years. During her season with Science Hill, she led her team in goals and assists. During her time with Greenville, she helped the team become a Region III semifinalist. She also played four years on the Tennessee '85 ODP team and played on the Region III ODP team in 2001.

"Ashley is a hard-nosed defender that will bring 100 percent everyday," said Cagle. "Her professional approach will help us create the environment for success - now and in the future. Ashley's versatility will enable her to compete right away in a couple of spots for us. We are very excited she is joining our family."

Midfielder/Forward Erin Moore, from Poolesville, Md., will join the Hokies after a successful career at Poolesville High School. The daughter of Bob and Sharon Moore, she intends to major in exercise and health promotion. She was named Honorable Mention all-State in 2003 and all-Metro and all-County in 2002 and 2003. Poolesville won the 2002 1A state championship. In 2003, she was also named to the NSCAA/adidas Honorable Mention Scholar all-American team. Moore also has nine years experience on the club team level, including five with the Bethesda Excel. She helped Bethesda win the state championship in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003. In addition, the Excel was the Region I champs in 2003 and a national finalist in 2003. Her team won the Nike Cup in 2001. She was recently selected to a Region I Super-Y League team. In addition to soccer, Moore is an accomplished track athlete, winning numerous regional and state awards and holding several school and state records.

"Erin comes to Tech as a two-sport prep star. She was a state champion in quite a few middle distance track events while also playing on one of the best U-17 soccer teams in the country," said Cagle. "Her fitness and athleticism combined with her ability to beat players one versus one will make her an exciting player to watch in the ACC. We expect big things from Erin."

Defender/midfielder Mary Elizabeth Newton, from Adairsville, Ga., lettered four seasons at The Walker School. The daughter of Erle and Donna Marie Newton, she intends to study for a career in the medical field. Newton was a prolific offensive player for Walker, scoring 47 career goals along with 28 assists. She was named all-Cobb County as a senior captain. Newton's club team experience came with the United Red Quest '85's where she led her team to four state titles in five years (2000, 2002-2004). The team was also a Region III finalist in 2002. She spent five years as a member of the Georgia State '85 ODP Team and one year with the Region III ODP Team.

"Mary Elizabeth is a natural left back that can defend, tackle and attack. Her positional sense, as well as her timing of when to get forward, is as good as any left back in the country," said Cagle. "She is also good in the air for a player of her size. We are extremely happy she is at Tech and expect her to make an immediate impact at left back."

Midfielder Gina Om, from Fairfax, Va., will join the Hokies after a prolific career at W.T. Woodson High School. The daughter of Neang and Rithonn Om, she intends to study bio-engineering. Om led Woodson to the Virginia AAA state championship in 2001 while earning second-team all-District honors. She was also named second-team all-District in 2001. In addition, Om helped Woodson become a AAA regional finalist in 2001 and 2002 and led her team to the district championship in 2002 and 2003, earning first-team all-Distrcit honors in 2003. She has four years experience on the club level - one with BRYC Electra and three with the VISTA Firestars. She led Electra to the state championship in 1999 and 2003. She also led VISTA to the state championship in 2002 and 2003 and the Region I championship in 2002. In addition, she played five years with the Virginia State ODP Team and was recently selected to the Region I Super-Y League team.

"Gina is a skillful player coming out of northern Virginia this year. She has the ability to control the tempo and be a calming influence on the game, which is a great quality to possess," said Cagle. "As Gina becomes stronger and more aggressive, we expect her to help us greatly."

Goalkeeper Ashley Owens, from Greensboro, N.C., joins the Hokies after a successful prep, club and ODP career. The daughter of Mitchell and Donna Owens, she will enroll in university studies with a plan for a career in nursing. At Western Guilford High School, she helped her team become a NCHSAA semifinalist in 2003 and led her team to the championship match in 2002. In 2002, she was named as an NCHSAA Scholar Athlete. Owens played seven years with the Greensboro Twisters club team, helping her team rise to a fourth-place national ranking in 2003. In 2003, the Twisters were the Region III champions and went on to compete for the national club championship. In 2002, she helped them become the Region III Premier League champions. Owens also played six seasons on the North Carolina State ODP Team.

"Ashley was a highly recruited goalkeeper out of Greensboro, N.C. She has great size, is extremely athletic, and has big-game experience," said Cagle. "These intangibles, combined with working under former WUSA keeper Erin Fahey, will enable Ashley to be an unbelievable goalkeeper. She can compete for the starting job right away."

Midfielder Lauren Pope, from Plano, Texas, played on the nation's highest ranked high school and club team. The daughter of Robert and Marilyn Pope, she intends to study human nutrition, food and exercise. She has lettered three years and started two at Plano West High School. Plano West was the nation's highest ranked team in 2001 and 2002, and Pope led her team to three consecutive UIL state championships from 2000-2002 while winning 58 consecutive matches. In 2003, she had eight goals and nine assists. She was named first-team all-District in 2002 and 2003. As a member of the Dallas Texans '85 and '86 club teams, Pope led her squads to 16 different tournament championships, including the national championship in 2003. As an ODP player, she was a member of the '85 North Texas State Team and the '85 Region III ODP Team.

"Lauren was our first commitment. That's something that is certainly special to my staff and me, but also special for her as well," said Cagle. "She has been in the Region III pool for many years and has won a national championship with her club team. These experiences will be a tremendous asset to our program's growth."

Forward Ashley Stinson, from Acworth, Ga., has played two seasons at North Cobb High School and is already her school's career goal leader with her senior year remaining. The daughter of Ken and Judy Stinson, she was injured her freshman season but has played the past two where she holds the school's career record for goals with 54. She also holds the record for goals in a season with 28 and assists in a season with 18. Stinson led North Cobb to the regional championship in 2002 and the regional finals again in 2003, where it finished as runner-up. She teamed with fellow Tech signee Mary Elizabeth Newton on the United Quest Red '85's club team, helping the team win the State Cup championship four consecutive years and the Region III finals in 2002. She also helped the team to a third place showing at the 2000 Nike Premier Cup World Finals. Stinson has four years playing experience with the Georgia State ODP Team.

"Ashley is a hard working forward who is extremely intelligent off the ball and has the uncanny ability to get herself into good scoring situations," said Cagle. "Add in quality flank service, and she should see plenty of scoring opportunities this fall. We expect her to impact our program right away."

Midfielder Kristen Verbit, from Newtown, Pa., prepped at Council Rock North High School where she led her team to two state championships. The daughter of Steve and Vicki Verbit, she intends to study communications. Verbit led Council Rock North to the PIAA state championship in 2001 and 2002 where they captured the title both years. She was named Bucks County Courier Times Player of the Year in 2002 and was a Philadelphia Inquirer Athlete of the Week in 2002 as well. She also played for the Pennsylvania Strikers club team for six years. Her team won the Eastern Pennsylvania State championship in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 and was a Region I finalist in 2003. In 2000, she led her team to the Region I championship, while in 2000, the Strikers were Nike World Cup finalists. Verbit also has one year experience with the Eastern Pennsylvania ODP team.

"Kristen is the backbone of one of the most successful clubs in Region I. She is steady as they come, which is an important quality to have from the defensive midfield position" said Cagle. "Combine this consistency with her leadership qualities and competitive background and we feel we have a true gem. We are very excited she is coming to Virginia Tech."

Midfielder Rachel Young, from Gaithersburg, Md., played in every match for four seasons at Thomas S. Wootton High School. The daughter of Scott and Alice Young, she intends to study engineering. In 2003, she was named first-team all-Gazette and Honorable Mention Washington Post all-Metro. She helped her team win the division championship all four years while advancing to the state semifinals her freshman season. In 2003, she earned an NSCAA/adidas all-Academic Team Award. In addition, Young spent nine years with the Bethesda Rowdies club team where she has been a co-captain since 1998. She helped the Rowdies win the State Cup championship in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Young was also a member of the Maryland State ODP team for two seasons.

"Rachel is a player we identified at our summer camp and will provide us with much-needed depth in the midfield. She has the desire and athletic abilities to compete at the Division I level," said Cagle. "Once she gets in our training environment, she will continue to improve and challenge for playing time."

The Hokies are coming off their final season in the BIG EAST when they finished 9-9, tying a school record for wins in a season.

2004 Virginia Tech Women's Soccer Signees
NamePos.Ht.Hometown High SchoolClub Team
Lindsay AlexanderD5-6Oakton, Va.OaktonVISTA Firestars
Meghan DevineD5-9Alpharetta, Ga.MiltonConcord Fire Elite
Meredyth GehrigMF5-4Virginia Beach, Va.CoxVirginia Rush Nike
Liz GuiseMF5-6Midlothian, Va.MidlothianRichmond Strikers
Heather HallbergMF5-3Richmond, Va.Collegiate SchoolRichmond Strikers
Ashley KinserD5-2Johnson City, Tenn.Science HillGreenville Futball Club
Erin MooreMF/F5-8Poolesville, Md.PoolesvilleBethesda Excel
Mary Elizabeth NewtonD/MF5-0Adairsville, Ga.The Walker SchoolUnited Quest Red '85's
Gina OmMF5-8Fairfax, Va.W.T. WoodsonBRYC Electra
Ashley OwensGK5-10Greensboro, N.C.Western GuilfordGreensboro Twisters
Lauren PopeMF5-3Plano, Tex.Plano WestDallas Texans '85
Ashley StinsonF5-6Acworth, Ga.North CobbUnited Quest Red '85's
Kristen VerbitMF5-6Newtown, Pa.Council Rock N.Pennsylvania Strikers
Rachel YoungMF5-5Gaithersburg, Md.WoottonBethesda Rowdies