Feb. 10, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame head women's soccer coach Randy Waldrum announced Wednesday that six student-athletes have chosen to continue their academic and athletic careers with the Fighting Irish, signing National Letters of Intent to enroll at Notre Dame beginning in the fall of 2010. Mandy Laddish, a 5-7 midfielder (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit HS/Blue Valley Stars), Adriana Leon, a 5-3 forward (Maple, Ontario/The Country Day School/Mississauga Falcons), Kecia Morway, a 5-3 defender (Lake Villa, Ill./Lakes Community HS/Eclipse Select), Elizabeth Tucker, a 5-6 midfielder (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny HS/Jacksonville Fury), Rebecca Twining, a 5-4 midfielder (Houston, Texas/Second Baptist HS/Challenge SC) and Elizabeth Wilson, a 5-9 defender (Kansas City, Mo./St. Teresa's Academy/KCFC Alliance Jazz), each made their official commitments to Notre Dame during the current signing period, which began Feb. 3.
Three of the six incoming Fighting Irish freshmen are ranked among the top 100 in the latest Top Drawer Soccer club soccer player ratings, with Morway leading the way at No. 5, followed by Laddish (No. 26) and Twining (No. 98).
"I think we have a very solid class coming in for 2010," Waldrum said. "We filled the needs that we had due to graduation. I love the personalities of the incoming class, as they are all creative, committed, talented, and are all very team-oriented. Chemistry is such a huge part of success, and this class will fit in nicely with a very talented group of returning players."
Notre Dame will return 19 players, including nine starters, from last year's 21-4-1 squad that advanced to the NCAA Women's College Cup for the fourth consecutive season and the fifth time in six years. The Fighting Irish also fashioned a 19-match unbeaten streak during the final two months of the season, leading to their 12th BIG EAST Conference regular-season title, as well as their 11th BIG EAST post-season crown.
A capsule look at the newest additions to the Notre Dame women's soccer program follows:
MANDY LADDISH, 5-7, Midfielder (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit High School/Blue Valley Stars)
Prep & Personal Data: On track to graduate from Lee's Summit High School in Lee's Summit, Mo., this spring ... plays for head coach Dave Wiebenga ... piled up double-digit goals and assists in each of the past two seasons (combined total of 36 goals and 40 assists) ... Parade All-American (2009) ... NSCAA Youth All-American (2009) ... ESPN/Rise second-team All-American (2009) ... two-time NSCAA Youth/High School all-region choice (2008, 2009) ... two-time all-state selection (first team 2009, second team 2008) ... Kansas City all-metro and all-district honoree (2009) ... two-time first-team all-Suburban Big 7 Conference pick (2008, 2009) ... recorded 24 goals and 16 assists in 2009 ... tallied 12 goals and school-record 24 assists in 2008 ... holds school records for assists in season and career ... helped LSHS to 2008 conference title and 2009 district crown ... member of LSHS Principal's Honor Roll (2006-09) ... twice earned Academic Letters (2007, 2009) ... has participated in local Susan G. Komen For The Cure walk (to benefit breast cancer research and awareness) for five years ... born May 13, 1992 ... daughter of Debbie Heineman and Chris Laddish ... one of five children ... hails from the same hometown as Notre Dame rising senior forward/midfielder/defender Lauren Fowlkes ... will be one of four Missouri residents on the 2010 Notre Dame roster, along with Fowlkes, Fighting Irish rising junior midfielder/defender Ellen Jantsch (Kansas City), and fellow signing classmate Elizabeth Wilson (Kansas City) ... Laddish also will be one of five players on next year's Notre Dame roster from the Kansas City metro area, joining Fowlkes, Jantsch, Wilson and Fighting Irish rising junior defender Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan.).
Waldrum on Laddish...
"Mandy brings a wealth of experience to our program, even as a young player. Her time spent with our U-17 National Team during the Youth World Cup in New Zealand, as well as her time with both our U-20 and U-18 National Teams, will bring some valuable international experience to our squad. She is a very technical player with the versatility to play in multiple positions within our system here at Notre Dame. Her strengths come as an attacking player who is capable of helping in the midfield or even as a forward."
ADRIANA LEON, 5-3, Forward (Maple, Ontario/The Country Day School/Mississauga Falcons)
Prep & Personal Data: Played soccer for the Country Day School under head coach Jennifer Cooper ... earned Team MVP honors in each of her seasons from 2005-09 ... named The Country Day School's Athlete of the Year in 2008 ... the only over-age player to finish in the top 10 for goalscoring in the Ontario Youth Soccer League in 2006 ... earned Rugby Team MVP honors in 2009 ... an honor roll student from 2008-10 ... born Oct. 2, 1992 ... daughter of Lucia and Edward Leon ... one of three children.
Waldrum on Leon...
"Adriana brings to us some valuable international experience just having competed in the CONCACAF U-20 World Cup Qualifying games in Guatemala. She is a physically strong and athletic player, and one who has a nose for the goal. She led Canada in scoring in these qualifying games, and led all scorers in the Canadian games last year. She should blend in very well with our other forwards as she brings a different dimension to the field. We like for our three forwards all to have differing qualities, and Adriana clearly is a different kind of player than Melissa Henderson, Taylor Knaack, Erica Iantorno, and Lauren Fowlkes if we choose to continue playing her as a forward. She certainly brings a competitiveness to our program, and a mental toughness. It's great to add another player to our 2010 class of recruits that has national team experience."
KECIA MORWAY, 5-3, Defender (Lake Villa, Ill./Lakes Community High School/Eclipse Select)
Prep & Personal Data: On target to graduate from Lakes Community High School in Lake Villa, Ill. this spring ... did not play high school soccer at Lakes Community ... competed for the track and field teams, earning conference championships in 2008 and 2009 ... qualified for the all-state track meet in 2008 and 2009 ... holds the Lakes Community records for the 100m and 200m dashes ... member of Athletes Committed to Excellence (A.C.E.) ... born Aug. 25, 1991 ... daughter of Deidra and William Morway ... one of five children ... first name is pronounced "KEE-shuh" ... played her club soccer with Eclipse Select, which also produced Notre Dame rising senior forward/midfielder Erica Iantorno, class of 2010 members Amanda Clark and Michele Weissenhofer as well as 2009 graduates Elise Weber and Brittany Bock (Weissenhofer, Weber and Bock all were later selected in the Women's Professional Soccer Draft) ... will be one of three Illinois residents on the 2010 Notre Dame roster, along with Iantorno and Fighting Irish rising junior defender Ellen Bartindale (St. Charles).
Waldrum on Morway...
"Kecia comes from the Eclipse Soccer Club out of Chicago which has produced some the top talent in the country, year in and year out. Coach Rory Dames does an outstanding job of preparing his players for the Division I level. Kecia is a creative and exciting outside back, clearly one of the best in the country coming out this year. She is very comparable to another Eclipse alum, Elise Weber, who was one of our very best attacking outside backs ever at Notre Dame. Kecia's ability to create and to attack out of the left side is amazing. She is a very smart player, and one that has a natural ability to play in wide areas."
ELIZABETH TUCKER, 5-6, Midfielder (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny High School/Jacksonville Fury)
Prep & Personal Data: Did not play high school soccer ... a track and basketball standout at Bishop Kenny High School ... on pace to graduate this spring with 10 varsity letters including four with track and basketball as well as two from cross country ... anchored the three-time state championship winning 4x800m relay team in 2007-09 ... part of the teams that hold Bishop Kenny records for the 4x400m, 4x800m and 4x1600m relays ... member of 2008 state championship cross country team ... 2009 first-team all-state cross country selection ... also earned all-city first team honors for basketball in 2009 ... currently the basketball team captain ... a 2010 National Merit Scholar semifinalist ... earned President's Honor Roll status in all four years of high school ... ranked first in her class and serves as the president of the National Honor Society and Letterman's Club at Bishop Kenny, while also serving as the vice president for her class since freshman year ... born June 25, 1991 ... daughter of Julie and John Tucker, both of whom graduated from Notre Dame ... one of four children ... sister, Kate, currently is a sophomore at Notre Dame.
Waldrum on Tucker...
"Liz is another midfield player who, like Mandy and Rebecca, is very technical with the ball. She brings a ton of energy and has a fantastic engine. Her work rate is incredible and the amount of ground she covers in a game is extremely impressive. Like most of our midfield players here at Notre Dame, she can play in multiple positions."
REBECCA TWINING, 5-4, Midfielder (Houston, Texas/Second Baptist School/Challenge SC)
Prep & Personal Data: Played high school soccer for Second Baptist under head coach Geoff Brooks ... led team to a first place district finish as a freshman ... was a TAPPS first-team all-district and an all-state honorable mention selection as a freshman ... followed with TAPPS first-team all-district and SBS Offensive Player of the Year, as well as second-team all-state honors as a sophomore ... was also an all-district and state TAPPS tournament qualifier in cross country at Second Baptist ... a four-year honor roll student ... honored as a Gold Award winner for Latin I, II and III ... born Feb. 26, 1992 ... daughter of Lee Ann and Kent Twining ... one of three children ... will be one of six Texas natives on the 2010 Notre Dame roster, along with Fighting Irish rising senior forward Taylor Knaack (Arlington), rising juniors Courtney Barg (Plano), Melissa Henderson (Garland) and Jessica Schuveiller (Plano) and rising sophomore Jazmin Hall (Highland Village).
Waldrum on Twining...
"Rebecca comes to us out of south Texas and brings great versatility to our program, which is what we have thrived on in recent years. She is a very technical player and understands the game extremely well. She can play in midfield in either attacking or defensive roles, and could even play as a defender if needed. She is very similar to Mandy Laddish, and both these players have the skill and intangibles necessary to play at Notre Dame. Rebecca has spent some time with our U-17 National Team as well."
ELIZABETH WILSON, 5-9, Defender (Kansas City, Mo./St. Teresa's Academy/KCFC Alliance Jazz)
Prep & Personal Data: On pace to graduate from St. Teresa's Academy this spring ... three-year starting defender for St. Teresa's Academy ... led team to a third place finish at the Class-2 state tournament in 2008 under head coach Scott Siegel ... served as team captain as a junior and senior ... earned all-tournament and all-district honors as a junior ... earned a Windmoor academic scholarship to attend St. Teresa's ... serves as the managing editor of copy for the St. Teresa's school newspaper, The Dart ... earned honor roll status in each semester at St. Teresa's ... earned the 2008 Kansas Journalism Institute editorial writing award ... received the 2008 Presidential Service Award ... President of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) ... character chair of St. Teresa's chapter of the National Honor Society ... born July 11, 1991 ... daughter of Linda and Tad Wilson ... one of two children ... hails from the same hometown as Notre Dame rising junior midfielder/defender Ellen Jantsch ... will be one of four Missouri residents on the 2010 Notre Dame roster, along with Fighting Irish rising senior defender/midfielder/forward Lauren Fowlkes (Lee's Summit), Jantsch, and fellow signing classmate Mandy Laddish (Lee's Summit) ... also will be one of five players on next year's Notre Dame roster from the Kansas City metro area, joining Fowlkes, Jantsch, Laddish and Fighting Irish rising junior defender Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan.).
Waldrum on Wilson...
"Elizabeth has been to several Notre Dame summer camps, which is where we first saw her play. She is a central defender from the Kansas City area, and impressed me with her soccer intelligence. She is calm and composed on the ball, and she makes really good decisions with her distribution. This is what you need at the central position in our system of play. She is extremely coachable and seems to be the ultimate team player."