SAVANNAH, Ga. Savannah College of Art and Design women's soccer coach Andy Williamson announced that eight players Sydney Benda, Ryanne Frazier, Eliza Janssen, Demi Mummaw, McKenzie Nelson, , Hannah Papa and Alexandra Weinberg - have committed to play for the Bees next season.
The Bees, who lost in The Sun Conference Tournament semifinal and went 11-4-4 in 2010, are returning nine starters but Coach Williamson believes that the freshmen can come in and make an instant impact.
There will be a lot of competition for spots this year as we have a very talented incoming class in addition to a strong returning group, said Williamson. The depth we have at every position make this one of the strongest teams we have had in a while. I am eager to get everyone in and begin the work to get us back into the top 25. He adds, This group is very competitive and driven to add to the success we have enjoyed recently.
Benda, a 5-foot-4 forward from Rockford, Mich., played four seasons at Rockford High School. She has been the team MVP, assists leader and team captain as well earning all-conference and all-district awards during her career.
Sydney is an excellent addition to our forward line, said Williamson. She is strong, tough and composed in front of goal. She has a relentless work rate and will be a nightmare for defenders. We had a chance to spend a week with her at camp and she was very impressive. We have expectations for her to make an instant impact. I think she will complement our current attackers very well.
Frazier, a 5-8 midfielder from Billings, Mont., played soccer for four seasons as well as basketball at Billings Central High School. The first Montana native to play for the Bees led the Rams to three consecutive Montana High School Association State Championships in soccer, six straight State Cup Championships in club soccer, a state title in basketball, team MVP and all-conference and all-state awards.
What I love about Ryanne is her eagerness, said Williamson. She just loves to play soccer and is excited about the chance to test herself at the collegiate level. She is the type of person that is successful at whatever she chooses to do and I think that trend will continue for us here. She is a great athlete and has had a lot of success in basketball as well, which shows her versatility.
Janssen, a 5-2 midfield from Morsbach, Germany, is the second German to join the Bees in the past two seasons. Her club team Bayer Leverkusen won the German Second Division title in May 2010 and earned a promotion to the Bundesliga, Germany's First Division.
Eliza has so much experience to offer, said Williamson. She has played the highest level in Germany. She has represented her region as well as played for a title winning team, Bayer Leverkusen. She is an intelligent player with a calm demeanor. I think she will make those around her even better.
Mummaw, a 5-3 midfielder from Boca Raton, Fla., has played soccer for both Boca Raton Community High School and Team Boca. She has been an MVP in high school and her club team has been successful in many of the nation's best tournaments.
She is a tough, combative midfielder that is efficient on the ball, said Williamson. She does her job well and makes those around her better. I think she will fit in nicely as a ball-winning midfielder that will free up our attacking players to be more aggressive going to goal.
Nelson, a 5-7 goalkeeper from Lawrenceville, Ga., joins the Bees from Greater Atlanta Christian School and GSA Phoenix. Her high school has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the state of Georgia and No. 10 in Region III. She has posted double-digit shutouts in high school and has led her team to the final four in 2009.
McKenzie has good size and hands and I am pleased she agreed to join us, said Williamson. There is a good competition for our goalkeeper position and I think she will fight hard to earn some valuable time. She comes from a successful high school and club program so she is used to winning. She will help us make our good defense even better.
Papa, from Anchorage, Alaska, played soccer, ice hockey and cross country at South Anchorage High School. She has been on the Olympic Development Team (ODP) since 2007 and her club team has been to the state championship every year since 2007, winning it twice. Her team has travelled extensively and done well in several of the nation's largest tournaments, notably winning the 2011 Disney Showcase.
I have seen Hannah play several times and in several positions, said Williamson. Hannah is effective in midfield as a holding player but I think she will play in the back for us. She has a good soccer brain and is confident on the ball. She is the type of player that is underappreciated because they aren't flashy but never seem to make any mistakes. She just goes about her business effectively.
Potts, a 5-4 defender from Raleigh, N.C., has played soccer at Sanderson High School. She was the first player to commit to attend SCAD back in April 2010. Holly has been a member of the North Carolina ODP team and has been an all-conference award winner twice.
Holly agreed to join us last year and I am so glad that it is finally official. We have had the chance to spend a lot of time with her and her family and she will be a great addition to our team, said Williamson. Holly can play anywhere in the backline and will make her presence felt. She is fearless in the tackle and loves to be physical. I love her attitude and can see her growing into a leader eventually.
Weinberg, a 5-3 midfielder from Boca Raton, Fla., played soccer for both Saint Andrew's School as well as Team Boca. She led the team in goals in 2011 and received all-conference and all-star team recognition.
Allie has remarkable vision, control and technique. I know several of her coaches and they all are impressed by her maturity as a player. She can score goals as well as create them for others. I am eager to see her play.