Women's soccer adds seven newcomers
Group includes one All-American and two All-Region players
April 3, 2008

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Tech women's soccer head coach Kelly Cagle has announced this week the addition of seven newcomers to the 2008 Hokie squad, including a NSCAA All-American midfielder, a Regional All-American forward and a Regional All-American goalkeeper. With the incoming freshmen class, the team will be seeking its second straight winning season under Cagle after finishing 8-7-3 overall and 3-5-2 in the difficult ACC with an RPI of 51.

Freshmen Rachel Beaumont, Kristin Carden, Katie Cramp, Amanda Gerhard, Sarah Mather, Brittany Michels and Brittany Popko hail from three different states, including Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. They will be expected to help bolster a lineup that posted quality wins last year against highly-ranked Tennessee and Boston College and also allowed a program record-low 20 goals against 18 opponents, including 11 NCAA Tournament invitees.

"We are very excited to welcome this outstanding 2008 class," head coach Kelly Cagle said. "We believe that these special players will impact our program immediately, and I have no doubt that they will add something special to our program. I like this class not only for what they will be able to add, but also for the varied qualities that they will each bring to the table.

"Recruiting has been the corner stone to the growth we have undergone in the past four years," she added. "We think this is yet another class that will not only produce individual ACC standouts, but will help us get back to the ACC and NCAA tournaments. We were within reach this past season, and we have expectations to be back there this fall."

Beaumont, born in nearby Roanoke, is a midfielder from Bent Mountain, Va., where she served as team captain for Cave Spring High School and the Roanoke Stars. She will reunite next fall with Jennifer Harvey, who played for the same high school and club team. A three-time first-team All-District and All-Region honoree, Beaumont also received All-Timesland defender honors as a junior, while helping guide the Knights to two Group AA semifinals (2005, 2007). An outstanding student, she has served as the student government president her junior and senior year while also playing varsity volleyball.

Carden, one of two goalkeepers in this year's class, is a 6-foot-1 NSCAA Regional All-American from Frank W. Cox H.S. in Virginia Beach, Va. As a sophomore and junior, she earned first-team All-Beach District, All-Region and All-State honors, while helping her team finish as state finalists both seasons. Her junior year, she recorded 14 shutouts to also earn 2007's All-Tidewater Player of the Year honors. With her club team, the Virginia Nike Rush, she compiled a record of 31-10-1 while posting a 0.81 goals against average. Serving as team captain, she helped the squad win the 2007 Disney Showcase Tournament Championship in December.

Cramp, a midfielder/forward from Centreville H.S. in Clifton, Va., will also be playing alongside a former high school teammate, rising junior Emily Jukich. A four-year starter, Cramp is a three-time second-team All-Concorde District honoree and was named a Washington Post All-Metro honorable mention as a junior. She helped lead the squad to three Concorde District championships and two state semifinal appearances. A member of the Virginia Olympic Development Program (ODP) and the Washington Freedom U-20 Girls team, she served as team captain four straight years for the MPS Freedom Elite, which won two state cup championships. Cramp is also a scholar athlete award winner.

Gerhard is a midfielder/forward from Catasauqua, Pa., where she plays for two-time Colonial League champion Catasauqua H.S. and the three-time defending EPYSA State Cup champion FC Delco Fury. Already with 113 goals and 37 assists going into her senior season, she has scored 100 career goals faster than anyone in District 11 history. As a junior, she scored 51 goals, earning NSCAA Regional All-American, PSCA All-State Team and first-team All-Colonial League and Morning Call All-Area honors. A true all-around athlete who has achieved success in four different sports (basketball, field hockey, soccer and track), she will conclude her high school career with 14 varsity letters. She is a member of the National Honor Society and serves as a student representative for the Catasauqua Area School District School Board. Her father, Chris, played one year as a defensive back for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Mather, the other goalkeeper in this year's class, hails from Sparks, Md., where she helped lead Maryvale Preparatory to three state finals and two state championships. A two-time team MVP and All-Baltimore County honoree, the 5-foot-10 keeper may have had her best overall performance as a junior when she posted 15 shutouts with 66 saves, only allowing five goals. As a freshman, Mather was an All-Metro team honoree at Catholic High in Huntsville, Ala., before transferring to Maryvale Prep. She also played for Huntsville's United Soccer Club, the Women's Premier Soccer League's (WPSL) Maryland Pride and both of Alabama and Maryland's ODP squads. Besides lettering in soccer, Mather was a four-year letterman and a team captain in basketball. Academically, she was on the school's honor roll and also received the McCormick's Unsung Hero Award, which recognizes the highest examples of teamwork and sportsmanship among Baltimore area high school athletes.

Michels, a midfielder from Virginia Beach, Va., earned NSCAA All-American and All-South Region honors her junior year playing for Floyd E. Kellam H.S. Last season she was the leading scorer in the region, earning her second first-team All-Beach District, East Region and All-Tidewater honor. As a freshman, she earned second-team All-District honors as Kellam H.S. won the state championship and followed that season by earning first-team All-State and NSCAA All-South Region Team honors as the team reached the state semifinals. Michels has played for the Region 1 and Virginia State ODP teams and with the club Beach FC MajiX alongside rising sophomore Jessica Varela. Michel's club teams have medaled at the Disney Cup and finished as the indoor U-18 National Champions (2006). She is a member of the National Honor Society and has been named to the school's honor roll all four years in high school.

Popko, a midfielder from Leesburg, Va., played for both Heritage H.S. and club team MPS Freedom Elite along with Cramp. As a freshman at Heritage, Popko was the team MVP and a second-team All-Dulles District honoree, following that up as a sophomore with first-team All-Dulles District honors. At the club level, Popko helped her team win the U16 State Cup in 2006 and the U18 State Cup this past year. She has served as a pool player for the Region 1 ODP squad and spent a year with the Washington Freedom Soccer Club. An outstanding student in the classroom, Popko also spent two years as the starting point guard for the varsity basketball team.