GREENVILLE, N.C. - Following a seventh-straight season with at least nine victories and back-to-back Conference USA Women's Soccer Championship appearances, East Carolina Head Coach Rob Donnenwirth announced Tuesday that he will add 11 student-athletes to his 2013 roster.
Covering seven states and Canada, Autumn Berry, Gracyn Bryant, Jenna Geist, Caitlin Hite, Colleen Knier, Danielle McIntosh, Colleen Meyer, Abby Noble, Kelsey Reeves, Emma Scaro and Lana Spitler have all declared their commitment to join the Pirates.
"This could be one of our best classes," Donnenwirth said. "We have lost a large group of seniors the past two years and we feel this class is very balanced with players that can play in any position. I feel this group is talented, has a great soccer sense and are tremendous competitors. Many of them have won national championships with their club teams and that experience will help them succeed at the college level."
Autumn Berry, MF, 5-6, Woodbridge, Va. (Forest Park/VSA Heat Blue)
High School: Four-year starter for coach Mark Malloy ... Named second-team all-state as a senior helping Forest Park to the district championship ... Also earned first-team all-district, all-area, all-region and All-Metro by Washington Post as a senior ... Member of 2010 squad that captured the regional title and an ESPN Top-10 national ranking ... National Honor Roll and four-year honor roll member ... Named physical education Student-of-the-Year ... Earned Academic Letter ... Club Experience: Played for coach Steve Smith and the VSA Heat Blue ... Teammate of current ECU signee Caitlin Hite ... Anchor defender for one of the top defenses in the country ... Named to North American Finals All-Tournament Team ... Member of 2012 National Championship club ... Two-time Virginia State Champs (2011-12) ... Three-time regional champion (2010-12) ... Squad member on several championship teams: US National Cup (2010), Jefferson Cup Showcase (2011-12), Disney Showcase (2011) and PDA Showcase (2012) ... ODP Experience: Three-time member of the Super Y ODP National Select team (2009-11) ... Member of Super Y U20 team.
Berry on Choosing East Carolina: "After visiting and being surrounded by such an exciting school spirit, seeing a few familiar faces and being openly embraced by my future teammates and coaching staff, it left me no doubt that ECU would be my home. I will work my hardest to be successful on and off the field."
Coach Donnenwirth's Comments: "Autumn is an excellent outside back that loves to get forward into the attack. She is naturally left-footed and has an excellent skill level. She is a good playmaker and provides excellent service from the flank."
Gracyn Bryant, MF, 5-7, Ellicott City, Md., (Archbishop Spalding/Freestate Elite)
High School: Four-year letterwinner for coach Bob Dieterle ... Three-time All-Anne Arundel County selection (2010-12) ... Two-time All-Metro by Baltimore Sun (2011-12) .. Two-time IAAM "A" Conference All-Star (2011-12) ... Honorable Mention All-Metro by Washington Post (2012) ... Named ESPN All-Star for the state of Maryland (2011) ... Senior Captain in 2012 ... Second-Team All-State (2012) ... Helped squad to a pair of IAAM "A" Conference Championships (2009, 2012), IAAM "A" Division title (2012), Two conference championship appearances (2010-11) and a league finals appearances in 2009 ... Four-time honor roll student ... Club Experience: Played for coach Mellanie Nai of Freestate Elite ... Teammate of current ECU signee Abby Noble ... Five-time team captain for coach Shannon Cirovski and the SAC/Freestate United squad ... Helped club team to seven team titles: WAGS Division I (2009), Maryland State Cup (2010-11), USYSA Region I in West Virginia (2010), National League (2011), Jefferson Cup (2011) and Bethesda Thanksgiving (2011) ... Made finalist appearances at the FC Delco Players Cup (2010) and USYSA National Championship Series in Phoenix, Ariz. (2011) ... Recorded a pair of third place finishes at the USYSA Region I League (Spring 2010) and USYSA National Championships Series in Kansas City, Mo. (2010) ... ODP Experience: Three-time member of the Maryland State team (2008-09, 2011).
Bryant on Choosing East Carolina: "I chose ECU because when I went on my unofficial visit, it felt like home. Everyone on the team was some welcoming. When I returned for my official visit and watched the team play, I liked the game they played - great tempo and movement of the ball - and I knew this was where I wanted to be."
Coach Donnenwirth's Comments: "Gracyn is a defensive center-midfielder and is very composed on the ball. She is a one-two touch player with good vision and helps keep possession of the ball. She also has good ability in the air."
Jenna Geist, MF/F, 5-6, Bow Mar, Colo., (Heritage/Colorado Rush Nike)
High School: Four-year letterwinner for coach Adam Busek ... All-Conference selection as a freshman in 2009 (only one of two in the state) ... All-state and all-conference member as a junior (2011) ... Helped team to a quarter-final appearance in state playoffs in 2009 ... Elite Eight appearance in state playoffs in 2011 ... Owns a 3.8 cumulative GPA through spring semester of senior year ... Honor Roll member since 2009 ... National Honor Society member ... Club Experience: Played for Erik Bushey and the Colorado Rush Nike ... One of three players on the U18 team since U11 ... Team currently ranks sixth in the nation ... Member of U18 Dallas International Cup Championship team (2011) and ECNL Rocky Mountain U17 Champs (2012) ... Also participated in the U15 Far West Regionals in California (2009), U15 Eclipse Select in Illinois (2009), U15 Manchester United Cup in Oregon (2009), U15 Final Four Showcase in Texas (2009), U15 Chicago ECNL Showcase in Illinois (2009), U16 Las Vegas ECNL College Showcase in Nevada (2010), U16 Raleigh ECNL College Showcase in North Carolina (2010) and the U17 ECNL Championships in Waukegan, Ill. (2012) ... ODP Experience: ODP Invitee from 2007 to present ... Two-time State Cup Champion (2009, 2011) ... State Cup semi-finalist (2008) ... Two-time State Cup finalist (2007, 2010).
Geist on Choosing East Carolina: "ECU is the perfect fit for me to be successful both during college and long after. I was undecided on where I wanted to go, but after visiting ECU, I knew immediately it was the school for me. No other college that I visited could compare. I am very excited to be a Pirate, and start my new life at East Carolina."
Coach Donnenwirth's Comments: "Jenna is a box-to-box center-midfielder. She is a great possession player with good vision and skill, but is also dangerous around the box. She is also strong defensively and wins a lot of balls in the air. Jenna covers a lot of ground and is an outstanding competitor."
Caitlin Hite, MF, 5-6, Stafford, Va., (North Stafford/VSA Heat Blue)
High School: Three-year letterwinner for coach Joanne Szymanski ... Three-time first-team all-district (2010-12) ... Earned team MVP award in 2010 ... Two-time all-area selection (2011-12) ... Named All-Metro by Washington Post in 2012 ... Played three years on the varsity basketball team (2010-13) where she earned all-district and all-area honors twice (2011-12) ... Will graduate with honors in May of 2013 ... Club Experience: Played for coach Steve Smith and the VSA Heat Blue ... Teammate of current ECU signees Autumn Berry ... Four-time Virginia State Cup Champion (2007, 2009, 2011-12) ... Member of 2012 National Championship club ... Two-time Region 1 Champion (2007, 2012) ... Four-time Region 1 Premier League Southern Division Champion (2009-12) ... Four-year participant in the USYSA National League (2009-12) ... Squad member on several championship teams: Jefferson Cup Showcase, Disney Showcase, Wags Cup, Mead CUSA Cup, FC Delco and the PDA Showcase ... ODP Experience: Four-year Virginia state and district player (2006-09).
Hite on Choosing East Carolina: "When I first stepped on campus, I knew I wanted to be a Pirate. I really loved the atmosphere, the coaches and the players. East Carolina was a perfect fit for me."
Coach Donnenwirth's Comments: "Caitlin is a very focused and tough defender. She has excellent speed, is a good 1v1 defender and is an aggressive tackler. She is also a very good distributor of the ball and can be dangerous on set pieces."
Colleen Knier, MF, 5-9, Wall, N.J. (Wall/Freehold SL Real Shore)
High School: Played for coach Jamie Silva ... Named team captain her senior season ... Selected by the coaches for the "Unsung Hero" Award in 2012 ... Led team to the 2011 district finals and 2012 semi-finals ... Earned academic honors all four years ... Inducted into the National Honor Society for junior and senior years ... Scholar Athlete Award in 2012 ... Club Experience: Played three years for the Freehold SL Real Shore team coached by Mike Lyons and Brian Dougherty (2010-12) ... Also was a member of Freehold in 2008 under the direction of coach Kevin McDermitt ... Member of 2008 team that clamed the USYSA N.J. State Cup title and US Club Soccer Premier National Championship ... Also played three-years of lacrosse setting the single-season records in goals and points scored ... Ranks third all-time in goals scored.
Knier on Choosing East Carolina: "I have always wanted to go to a big school with a lot of spirit and fell in love with ECU the minute I walked on campus. After meeting the players and coaches, I knew ECU was the perfect place for me. I'm excited about getting a good education, continuing my soccer career and being a part of the Pirate family."
Coach Donnenwirth's Comments: "Colleen is an athletic midfielder with good size and ball-winning ability. She is good in possession and likes to get involved in the attack."
Danielle McIntosh, GK, 5-10, Newmarket, Ontario Canada (Newmarket/Master's Futbal Academy)
High School: Helped coach Laidlaw and Newmarket to consecutive undefeated seasons as a junior and senior ... Two-time team MVP (junior, senior) ... Earned junior and senior school letters in soccer, basketball and volleyball ... Named volleyball team MVP as a senior ... Honor Roll student ... Club Experience: Played for coach Junior Groves ... Senior goalkeeper that finished first in the OWSL soccer division with an undefeated season ... Trained at Just4Keepers in Canada ... ODP Experience: Played internationally in Portugal and the United States for Team Canada.
McIntosh on Choosing East Carolina: "The wide variety of academic programs that ECU has to offer, plus the opportunity to play at a high level of soccer at a great university was appealing. The coaching staff and players made me feel welcomed on my visit and I felt like part of the team right away."
Coach Donnenwirth's Comments: "Danielle is our first international player. She is a 5-10 goalkeeper that has good mobility, excellent technique and range. I love the way she trains and she should compete for the goalkeeper position right away."
Colleen Meyer, D/M, 5-7, Charlotte, N.C. (Cox Mill/Charlotte Soccer Academy)
High School: Three-year starter for coach Susan Reed ... Earned 3A North Carolina All-State honors as a senior ... Named Central Piedmont Conference Player-of-the-Year following senior campaign ... N.C. 3A Scholar Athlete Club Experience: Played for Coach Adam Denton of the Charlotte Academy ... ODP: Member of the North Carolina state squad.
Meyer on Choosing East Carolina: "I chose East Carolina because I was looking for a school that I felt I belonged to and was not just another student. The first time I walked on campus, I knew that I could see myself spending the next four years of my life in Greenville. It was welcoming and everyone seemed very friendly."
Coach Donnenwirth's Comments: "Colleen graduated early from high school and joined us this Spring. She is a solid defender with good toughness and good distributor of the ball."
Abby Noble, MF/F, 5-2, Baltimore, Md. (Hereford/Freestate Elite)
High School: Four-year letterwinner for coach Nancy Ferguson ... Four-time all-division and all-county selection (2009-12) ... Three-time all-state selection (2010-12) ... Earned Baltimore Sun All-Metro honors as a junior and senior ... Helped Hereford to 2009 AAA Regional Championship ... Club Experience: Played for coach Mellanie Nai of Freestate Elite ... Teammate of current ECU signee Gracyn Bryant ... Played four seasons for Freestate Elite ... Four-time Maryland State Champion (2007-10) ... ODP Experience: Member of Maryland state team for four years (2007-10) ... Helped team to ODP Tournament Finals in 2009.
Noble on Choosing East Carolina: "As soon as I stepped on campus I felt like I was at home. The atmosphere in Greenville is exactly what I was looking for - a big school with a small town feel. After meeting the coaching staff and players, I knew this is where I wanted to play!"
Coach Donnenwirth's Comments: "Abby is an outside midfielder or wide forward with a good tactical sense of the game along with a great work-rate. She is good at combining and has a knack for scoring goals."
Kelsey Reeves, MF, 5-4, Raleigh, N.C. (Leesville Road/CASL Chelsea Ladies '94)
High School: Four-year letterwinner for coach Paul Dinkenor ... Two-time team captain (junior, senior) ... Helped Leesville Road to several tournament wins and championship appearances in three years: Cap 7 Conference regular season title (2010), Cap 7 Tournament title (2010), N.C. state sectional champs - East Regional runner-up (2010), State 4A Champions (2011), East Regional Champions (2011), Cap 8 Conference regular season champs (2011) and Cap 8 Conference regular season and tournament champs (2012) ... Club Experience: Played for coach Damon Nanas ... Member of CASL Chelsea Ladies '94 team that were Three-time Region 3 Premier League East Champions (2009-11), Two-time N.C. State Cup Champions (2010-11), Two-time ECNL National Champions (2011-12), Two-time USYSA Region III semi-finalist (2010-11), N.C. State Cup finalists (2009), USYSA Region III Champs (2009), USYSA National Championship finalist (2009), CASL Shootout Champs (2009), Disney Soccer Showcase Champions (2009) and ECNL semi-finalist (2010) ... ODP Experience: Member of the North Carolina state squad.
Reeves on Choosing East Carolina: "I practically made my decision on my first unofficial visit. I knew I wanted to be a Pirate after just a couple of days experiencing the life on campus. ECU has everything I wanted a college to have including my intended major, great school spirit as well as the people and the level of competition on the field."
Coach Donnenwirth's Comments: "Kelsey is a center-midfielder with excellent technical ability and high soccer IQ. She works hard off the ball and gives great supporting angles. She strikes a ball very well and has a great shot from distance."
Emma Scaro, MF, 5-3, Elkhorn, Wisc. (Elkhorn Area/FC Wisconsin Eclipse)
High School: Three-year letterwinner for coach Eryca Cabe ... During freshman season scored nine goals and dished out six assists in 18 games on her way to first-team all-conference honors ... Followed rookie season garnering her second-straight first-team all-conference selection ... Named team's freshman-of-the-year and took home the Coaches Award ... Earned team MVP honors as a sophomore ... National Honors Society member ... High honor roll member every semester at Elkhorn Area ... Received Academic Letter ... Club Experience: Played for coach Christian Lowers and the FC Wisconsin Eclipse.
Scaro on Choosing East Carolina: "I chose East Carolina because I always wanted to go to school in the Southeast Region, and ECU was a perfect fit. Coach Rob was very welcoming, the university was the size I was looking for and their science programs are very good."
Coach Donnenwirth's Comments: "Emma is a hardworking forward that has a good mentality around the goal. I am impressed with her work-rate and competitive nature."
Lana Spitler, F, 5-6, Montoursville, Pa. (Montoursville/Montgomery United)
High School: Three-time First-Team All-Heartland Conference selection for coach Erin Bennett ... Two-Time team captain (junior, senior) ... Helped Heartland to three-straight conference titles (2010-12) ... District Champions (2011) ... All-State selection in 2012 ... Regional all-america selection in 2012 ... Member of the track team that claimed the 4x800 state relay crown in 2011 ... Honor Roll student ... Club Experience: Played for coach Neil Johnson and the Montgomery United for three seasons (2011-13) ... Member of the Jersey Sky Blues WPSL team under the direction of Erwin vanBemekon in 2013.
Spitler on Choosing East Carolina: "I've always wanted to attend a school in the South. When I visited ECU, I loved the Pirate Pride and how welcoming everyone was to me. I also wanted to play Division I soccer on a good team and ECU was the perfect choice."
Coach Donnenwirth's Comments: "Lana is a hard working dynamic forward. She is a good 1v1 player and can penetrate to go to goal, but is also a great passer of the ball. She covers a lot of ground and will keep opposing backlines stretched."