COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Women's Soccer and Head Coach Matt Ogden are looking to return to the NCAA Tournament in 2017. To help in the effort, the Purple and White welcome seven incoming freshmen to the team to elevate their play and fill some key needs both in the short and long terms.
Coach Ogden, now entering his third year as head coach, expressed high praise for his incoming freshman class, citing experience against top-level competition being an advantage that can be used in its favor.
"I am very excited to see what this class can do," said Ogden. "They all come in with the opportunity to make an immediate impact on the team, which will be great for the program. They bring in a lot of experience playing at the highest levels at club soccer. Juliana [Rotolo], Kelly [Bachmann] and Bridget [Mallin] each have ECNL experience. Abby [Gruber], Sydney [Dion], Jenna [Ward], and Jayde [Hoffmann] all come from top clubs who have competed in and experienced a high volume of success in some of the strongest leagues across the Midwest."
Ogden brings in three defenders, two pure midfielders, one player that can contribute on the attack or in the midfield, and one goaltender. The Crusaders saw 13 members of the 2016 team graduate, including two goaltenders, four midfielders, five defenders, and two forwards.
"This class is athletic and technically very strong," continued Ogden. "Our freshmen will slide seamlessly into the style of play I have installed in the program."
Now, the Capital Women's Soccer 2017 freshman class:
Abigail (Abby) Gruber
5-3 | Defense
Westerville, Ohio | Westerville North
Club team: Club Ohio (Green)
Gruber played her prep soccer at nearby Westerville North High School under Brett Weiss, and was a four-year starting defender. As a junior, Gruber was named OCC honorable mention. She returned to captain the Westerville North as a senior and was named Second Team All-OCC that year. Over her career she scored four goals, three of which came in 2017. She also added three assists as a senior and anchored a defense that pitched eight shutouts. Her club team, Club Ohio Green, is consistently ranked in the top five in Ohio South, according to GotSoccer, and was State Cup semifinalists in 2015.
Gruber graduated from Westerville North with honors and earned multiple awards including the AP Award of Distinction, Presidential Award of Education Excellence, and the Medallion Award. She was also a member of the National Honors Society. At Capital, she plans to study nursing.
5-6 | Defense
Carmel, Ind. | Carmel
Club team: FC Pride
Mallin will reunite with current Capital goaltender Hannah Klotsche and add to the defense in front of her. While Mallin was an all-conference athlete at Carmel High School, her club team accomplishments account for some of her greater successes. As a member of FC Pride, her teams were crowned USYS Indiana State Cup Champions in 2016 after three consecutive years in which they were State Cup finalists. In both 2016 and 2017, Mallin and her squad were USYS regional champions. The 2015 season was a big season for her team after they were both the US Club National champions and Crossroads of America champions.
Academically, Mallin graduated as a member of National Honors Society with an academic honors diploma. She was also named a Carmel High School Scholar-Athlete.
5-6 | Midfield
Liberty Township, Ohio | Lakota East
Club team: CUP
Hoffmann was a two-year varsity letterwinner at Lakota East High School, and brings with her a resume indicative of a true student-athlete. While at Lakota East, Hoffmann earned Academic All-Southwest laurels, the Academic Excellence Award, and Greater Miami Conference Outstanding Scholastic Achievement honors. At Capital, she plans to study exercise science.
5-6 | Defense
Hilliard, Ohio | Hilliard Darby
Club team: Club Ohio, Hilliard
In the two years that Ward played for the Hilliard Darby varsity women's soccer team, she was placed on the all-conference team in each of those seasons. As a junior, she was named Second Team All-OCC. In addition to her play on the soccer pitch, Ward also competed in basketball, softball, gymnastics, and CrossFit.
In the classroom, Ward was a member of the National Honor Society and earned the Presidential Award at Hilliard Darby. While her major has not been declared, she is interested in studying exercise science, criminology and/or social work at Capital.
5-1 | Midfield
North Olmsted, Ohio | North Olmsted
Club team: Ambassadors FC
A midfielder by trade, Dion possesses a host of individual honors with a healthy collection of team accomplishments, as well. As a member of Ambassadors Futbol Club, her teams have been a USYSA regional qualifier and in back-to-back years (2015-16) won the Ohio North state championship, and are en route to repeating that effort for a third straight season. Just recently, Ambassadors was crowned Spring MRL Premier 1 Champion.
At North Olmsted High School, Dion began collecting all-conference accolades as a sophomore when she earned honorable mention All-Greater Cleveland Area laurels. She did so in back-to-back seasons before being named second team all-conference and all-area as a senior in 2016. Dion was named the team's "Unsung Hero" in 2015, Best Offensive Player in 2016, and ended as a three-year letter winner and starter. Her teams were district finalists in both 2014 and 2015.
Dion is planning to major in nursing upon arriving at Capital.
5-6 | Goalkeeper
Zionsville, Ohio | Zionsville Community
Club team: Indiana Fire
Bachmann, the lone keeper of this freshman class, will come to Capital to study exercise science and add to the short list of goaltenders on the roster. While at Zionsville Community High School, Bachmann helped lead her team to two sectional championships. Zionsville also won the Indiana Challenge Cup and the Indiana State Cup while Bachmann defended the cage. Bachmann not only competed in the Indiana Elite North vs. South all-star game, but also named most valuable player of the match.
5-7 | Forward/Midfield
Dublin, Ohio | Bishop Watterson
Club team: Ohio Premier
Before heading west, Rotolo was a member Ohio Premier FC of the ECNL where her team advanced to the national tournament on two occasions. At Bishop Watterson High School, she was a varsity starter all four years and a two-time team captain. As a senior, Rotolo was named the team's most valuable attacking player and helped Bishop Watterson win the conference championship in all four years she played.
Upon her arrival at Capital, Rotolo plans to study journalism.