Women's soccer welcomes ten newcomers
List includes nine freshmen and one transfer
July 30, 2007

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Tech women's soccer head coach Kelly Cagle announced this week the addition of ten newcomers to an already experienced team that will begin the 2007 season without the services of only one starter from last year's squad.

Freshmen Kelsey Billups, Meghan Flesch, Marika Gray, Jennifer Harvey, Stephanie Hylton, Niki King, Kristi Nowak, Kelly Lynch, Jessica Varela and sophomore transfer Mallory Kimsey hail from five different states, ranging from Florida to Pennsylvania, and will be expected to provide quality depth to a team seeking its second NCAA Tournament berth under Cagle.

"Our staff is very excited about our 2007 class," Cagle said. "We think this well-balanced and athletic class is one of our best in recent years, and we also think that they are coming into one of our best returning teams we have ever had as well. We are excited about that combination.

"When I look at our 2007 class, I see a very fast class and that is no doubt something we have been lacking over the past few years - great team speed. So my thought is that these women will have the opportunity to impact our program immediately. I have no doubt that they will be a welcomed addition to our Virginia Tech family off the field as well. They are great people and they are excited about the culture we have developed, and I know will add their own special qualities to our unique culture here. We can't wait for their arrival in just two short weeks."

Kelsey Billups is a forward/midfielder from Richmond, Va., that will join the Hokies from Mills Godwin High School. Billups was named her district and region's player of the year as a junior, as well as earning first-team all-metro and all-state nods. The leading scorer for three years, she helped her team earn the central regional championship as a sophomore and a trip to the state semi-finals as a freshman. A three-time first-team all-district honoree and two-time first-team all-metro member, Billups represented her Super Y League team at the national championships, while being named to the 2006 SLY ODP National Select team. With the Richmond Strikers, she aided the team to the Jefferson Cup finals, the CASL Shootout finals and the Greensboro finals, while helping them win the Greensboro and Chesapeake championships.

Meghan Flesch is a midfielder that hails from Manassas, Va., where she played for Brentsville District High School. Flesch was honored as first-team all-district since her freshman season, while adding on all-region and all-state honors as a junior. She also earned second-team all-region recognition as a freshman. In addition to aiding her team to the regional tournament all three years, Flesch was the leading goal scorer last season. With the FCV Rockets, she helped her team reach numerous tournament finals, including three Virginia State Cup finals, the Surf Cup finals and the PDA Showcase finals. The Rockets also won the Region I Premier League championship, as well as the US Club Soccer Regional championship. A member of the Virginia State ODP and Region I ODP teams, Flesch also competed at the High School Indoor Track State competition.

Marika Gray, a forward from Alexandria, Va., joins the team after earning three letters with the Hayfield Secondary team. A two-time first-team all-district and all-region honoree, Gray earned all-metro honors as a junior after setting the school record for most goals scored in a single season. Gray also was named first-team All-Examiner and the Patriot District Player of the Year. As a freshman, she aided Team America Select to the state cup finals, and with the Springfield Youth Club, she helped her team advance to the state cup semi-finals as a senior and was nominated for the SYC Player of the Year award as a junior. A district and regional champion in the 4x200 meter relay, Gray earned all-district, all-region and all-state honors in track for Hayfield.

Jennifer Harvey joins the Hokies from Roanoke, Va., where she competed for Cave Spring High School as a midfielder and forward. A first-team all-district, all-region and all-Timesland selection in all four years of competing, Harvey also earned all-state honors as a sophomore and second-team all-state honors as a freshman. With her club team, the Roanoke Stars, she helped her team to the State Cup's final four since her freshman season. She served as the team captain for both Cave Spring and the Roanoke Stars for two years in a row. A Wendy's High School Heisman Scholar-Athlete nominee, Harvey also is an AA State Player of the Year and Prep-Volleyball All American, aiding her team in winning the 2006 state championship.

Stephanie Hylton joins the team from Springfield, Va., where she played for her club team BRYC Fury and her high school, Lake Braddock. As a center midfielder for the Fury, she contributed to their success of four consecutive Virginia state championships. As a center midfielder for Lake Braddock, Hylton helped her team to the state finals as a sophomore, and then returned the following year as a center defender, helping them win the state title. She was named MVP of the championship game for her contributions. Named All-Examiner Player of the Year, Hylton has earned all-metro honors twice, as well as earning first team all-region honors. She played with the DC United Super Y League team that was named the regional team, the Mid-Atlantic Champion and the National Semi-Finalists, while Hylton was honored on the North American all-tournament team and the National all-star team. A member of the national pool for the Olympic Development Program (ODP), Hylton is also a member of the regional ODP team and the Virginia state team.

Mallory Kimsey is a sophomore goalkeeper from High Point University, where she sat out as a freshman. Prior to joining the college ranks, the Palm Harbor, Fla., native graduated from Clearwater Central Catholic High School, where she lettered four times in soccer as a midfielder and in softball, while also lettering twice in golf. During her four years, she helped guide the team to four consecutive district titles and a pair of State Final Four appearances in 2003 and 2006. Overall, the squad captured two regional championships and earned two regional runner-up showings. Kimsey was also a member of the Countryside Lighting club team that captured a State Championship and a top-15 ranking in the nation in 2006 and also finished runner-up in 2005. Academically, she was named to the academic/athletic All-State team and was a Wendy's High School Heisman nominee.

Niki King hails from Media, Pa., where she earned three letters playing for Strath Haven High School as a forward/midfielder. King joins the Hokies as a three-time All-Delco honoree, being named to the first team her senior year when she was also named to the first-team All-Central League All-Star team and the All-Southeastern Pennsylvania All-Star team. With her club team the Spirit United Gaels, King achieved the most team success as the Gaels finished her junior year as the Disney Showcase Champions, the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association (EPYSA) state champions, the United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) Region I champions and as USYSA national finalists. Outside of soccer, King was a standout sprinter for the track team, being named to the all-state track and field team her sophomore year.

Kelly Lynch is a versatile player from Mullica Hill, N.J., where she played for Clearview Regional High School. Logging time at nearly every field position, Lynch is a four-year varsity starter, earning GC Times first-team recognition throughout high school. A three-year member of the state ODP team and a Region I Regional Pool member, she also earned Courier Post Player of the Week honors all four seasons. A two-time all-state honoree, Lynch earned all-region honors as a senior captain. With her club team, the FC Delco Lightning, she won the Jefferson Cup and was a two-time Eastern Pennsylvania state champion. Lynch also earned two varsity letters in winter track and was named a Gatorade Rookie of the Year.

Kristi Nowak will bring a defensive edge to the Hokies from Newtown, Conn., where she played four years for Newtown High School. The squad at least reached the quarterfinals each year and reached the top of the mountain in 2004, capturing the Class LL State championship, the same year Nowak was named sophomore player of the year. As a junior, Nowak earned all-division honors and the following year earned all-league and area honors. Her club team, the South Central Lightning, also achieved a lot of success on the field, finishing each of her four seasons as state finalists. Academically, Nowak earned 2006 and 2007 all-league academic team honors and was a four-year honors student.

Jessica Varela joins Tech as a forward/midfielder from Midlothian, Va. For Clover Hill High School, Varela served as team captain and was also the team MVP her senior year, which concluded with her earning first team all-district, all-region and all-metro honors. Varela was named the District Rookie of the Year, first-team All-Beach District and second-team Eastern Region as a freshman. In her junior season, she earned first-team all-district, all-region, all-metro honors and honorable mention all-state honors, while being named to the Richmond-Times Dispatch first-team. Varela, who also played for her club team, FC VA, is a member of the ODP state team and the Region I team, with whom she had an opportunity to travel with to Brazil to play against the Brazilian National women's team. She was a participant in the Region I Inter-regional this past year.

The 2007 Hokies squad will make its first appearance of the year on Fri., Aug. 17, in an exhibition game against Miami University (Ohio) at the Virginia Tech Soccer Stadium and will begin the regular season on the road against regional rival Radford on Fri., Aug. 31.