April 4, 2008

Soccer Signs Seven Student-Athletes for 2008 Season

April 4, 2008

Seven student-athletes have signed letters of intent with the Eastern Washington University women's soccer team for the 2008 season, including a couple of forwards and defenders and three midfielders, head coach George Hageage announced.

Forward Kirsten Fausko, from Auburn Mountainview High School in Auburn, Wash., was a three-year varsity letter winner and was named All-South Puget Sound League 3A as a forward in 2006 and 2007. Fausko is the all-time leading scorer for her high school team and was named Offensive Player of the Year in both 2006 and 2007. In 2006 she helped her team to the Sweet 16.

"Kirsten has the potential to be a dominate addition to our team in the middle or up top," said Hageage. "Her size and strength will be a wonderful asset in the Big Sky Conference."

Kylie Balstad is a defender out of South Kitsap High School and Port Orchard, Wash. In 2007, Balstad was named team captain of her soccer team. That year, she was named Offensive MVP and first team All-Narrows League, as she scored five goals and contributed 12 assists. In 2006, she was named to the league's second team with five goals and 14 assists. Her junior and senior seasons, the team made it to districts; her freshman and sophomore years, it qualified for state.

"Kylie will bring a physical style to the middle of the park," said Hageage. "Her experience at the state level will help, as we will look for her to compete for a spot in the middle."

Midfielder Melanie Kitsman was a four-year varsity letter winner from Ponderosa High School in El Dorado Hills, Calif. From 2005-07, her team won the Sierra Valley Conference championship. In 2006 and 2007, she was named first team All-Sierra Valley Conference. In 2007, she was named second team All-Metro by The Sacramento Bee. In 2006, Kitsman was named the school's Most Valuable Player.

"Melanie is tough as nails," commented Hageage. "She is a big, dominant force and can play a holding center midfield position or center back. I look for her to help considerably in both areas next year."

Whitney Brannan, a forward out of Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, Wash., led the Columbia Basin League in goals (15) and assists (8) as a senior. She was named to the league's first team and was Kamiakin's Most Valuable Player that year. Her junior year, she was named second team All-CBL.

"Whitney will look to help fill the void left by Cyeeta Mott," said Hageage. "She has an explosive first step and a nose for the goal. By the time she is done with her career, I think she should challenge Cyeeta's records."

Defender Sara Byrne, out of Thomas Jefferson High School in Auburn, Wash., was named first team All-South Puget Sound League and was the team's Most Valuable Player her senior year. She helped her team to two league championships the four years she was there. Three times, she was named All-SPSL.

"Sara is a versatile athlete who can play outside back or anywhere in the middle of the park," added Hageage. "Her speed will immediately pay dividends on the outside."

Midfielder April Coffin, out of Fraser Heights Secondary School in Surrey, B.C., was a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps U18 travel team for four years. In high school, she was named to the honor roll every year. She was named the team's Most Valuable Player in 2003 and 2004 and the school's Athlete of the Year for three consecutive years.

"April is a real find for us," said Hageage. "She will be asked to fill in on the flank. She brings tremendous experience, good pace and a great work ethic."

Maria Herrera, a midfielder out of Centaurus High School and Lafayette, Colo., was a three-year varsity letter winner and helped the team to the Skyline League championship her junior year. She was named second team All-Conference that year.

"Maria will give us a player who has a passion for taking players on," added Hageage. "She has good speed and is very crafty. Her club team is currently ranked 46th in the nation and 11th in the region, so she brings some tremendous experience."

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