Wilkins unveils 2012 signing class


ON WISCONSIN <b>Head coach Paula Wilkins is bringing in 11 players for the fall of 2012.</b>
ON WISCONSIN
Head coach Paula Wilkins is bringing in 11 players for the fall of 2012.
ON WISCONSIN

Feb. 10, 2012

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin women’s soccer coach Paula Wilkins has announced that 11 high school seniors have signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Badgers beginning in the fall of 2012.

Signed on to play for the Badgers are Lindsey Holmes, Molly Laufenberg, Becky McGrath, Courtney McHugh, Kinley McNicoll, McKenna Meuer, Lexi Peterson, Diamond Simpson, Brianna Stelzer, Marta Wangard and Zoe Ziegler.

The class features a mixture of local and international talent. Six players hail from Wisconsin, while two are natives of Illinois, one is from Minnesota and two represent Canada.

Lindsey Holmes – F – Verona, Wis. – Verona HS
Holmes, a forward from Verona, Wis., trained with the Region 2 Olympic Development Program in 2008-09 and was invited to the inter-regional ODP camp in 2009.  She also has spent time in the Elite Clubs National League, participating in the league’s camp in 2010 and playing as a forward for the 2011 ECNL U17 All-Event team. She was also invited to 2012 ECNL Player Development Program. Holmes elected to play for FC Milwaukee in her junior and senior seasons after playing her freshman and sophomore seasons at Verona High School.

While playing for FC Milwaukee, her teams won the State Cup in 2010 and 2011. Holmes also spent time with the Madison 56er WPSL team in 2011. At Verona High School, Holmes was a two-year starter. She finished second in Division I in total points as a sophomore and was named first-team all-state as her team won the Division I state championship. Holmes was also named first-team All-Big 8 and all-area as a forward in 2010. Off the field, Holmes has volunteered at Fitchburg Veterinarian Hospital and the Red Cross in Madison. She intends to major in kinesiology.

“Lindsey is an attacking player who can play centrally in the midfield or as a forward,” Wilkins said. “She is dangerous from long range with her shooting capabilities along with her ability to distribute the ball in the final third.”

Molly Laufenberg – MF/F – Waunakee, Wis. – Waunakee HS
Laufenberg (LAW-fen-BERG), a midfielder and forward from Waunakee, Wis., started her high school career by being named all-conference honorable mention as a freshman after leading her team to a 21-2-1 record and sectional final. She made all-conference first team and all-area second team as a sophomore, in addition to taking home the team’s Outstanding Offensive Player Award. Laufenberg moved from forward to outside mid as a junior, where she made her second consecutive all-conference first team and was an all-state first team selection and earned the second of her two career Hustle Awards. A captain as a senior, Laufenberg also played basketball throughout high school and was a member of the National Honor Society and high honor roll.

“Molly is a left-sided player that has the dimension of being able to beat players on the run 1 v. 1, along with the technical ability to cross dangerous balls,” Wilkins said. “She’s a local product who has seen great success in high school soccer, being a part of a state championship. Molly will strengthen our flank play for years to come.”

Becky McGrath – D – Wauwatosa, Wis. – Wisconsin Lutheran HS
McGrath, defender from Wauwatosa, Wis., received Wisconsin Lutheran High School’s Best Defender Award as a freshman. She followed that up by being named team MVP as a sophomore and junior while also earning first-team all-conference in both years. McGrath was also an all-area honorable mention honoree and team captain as a junior. She will play for FC Milwaukee in the spring. McGrath also plays basketball, is a tutor at her high school in addition to making the honor roll. A member of three-time defending Wisconsin state champion FC Milwaukee, McGrath hopes to major in special education.

“Becky is a tenacious flank defender who has the ability to shut down an opponent’s best player,” Wilkins said. “She is an FC Milwaukee player with experiences playing at the high club level and has shown a willingness to get into attack.”

Courtney McHugh – F – Elmhurst, Ill. – York Community HS
McHugh (Mc-Q), a forward and native of Elmhurst, Ill., played in the National League from 2008-12, winning a championship in 2011. McHugh won a 2011 USYSA National Champion with the NSA Premier Fury and was a member of the Olympic Development Program state team from 2006-08. She won two State Cup Championships in 2008 and 09, before winning a Region II Championship in 2010. McHugh played in the National 5v5 Champions in 2006, placing seventh at the World Championships in Munich, Germany.

A four-year starter on her York Community High School varsity team, McHugh was named all-conference, honorable mention all-section and all-area as a sophomore after leading the team in assists. She also led the team in assists and was second in points as a freshman. McHugh also competed in basketball, volleyball and track and field. In the classroom, she was an Illinois State Scholar, a member of the National Honor Society, a student ambassador, a high-honor student and attended the J. Kyle Braid Conference. McHugh plans to major in business or biology.

“Courtney is a multi-dimensional attacker that can play on the flank or up front as a forward,” Wilkins said. “Her willingness to take on players 1 v. 1, combined with her speed, makes her a dangerous player both finishing and creating scoring opportunities. Courtney has won a national championship with her club team NSA, and her mentality will be an important element to our program.”

Kinley McNicoll – MF – Oakville, Ontario – White Oaks Secondary School
A midfielder from Oakville, Ontario, McNicoll is a member of Canada’s U20 player pool and was selected to Canada’s national team for the 2010 U17 World Cup. She was also a member of the U14, U15 and U16 Ontario Provincial Team and has toured internationally in Trinidad and Tobago, Chile and Costa Rica. McNicoll made her school’s honor roll all four years and intends to major in kinesiology.

“Kinley is a great addition to our midfield as she brings international experience to Wisconsin,” Wilkins said. “Kinley, along with Diamond Simpson, were instrumental in helping the U17 Canadian National Team qualify for the 2011 U17 World Cup. Her soccer brain and work rate in the midfield are some of her strengths. She is a competitor that knows what it is like to play in big games.”

McKenna Meuer – MF – Madison, Wis. – Memorial HS
Meuer (MOY-er), a midfielder from Madison Memorial, is the latest member of her family to play for the Badgers. Her father, Kelly, played for the men’s soccer team from 1977-79, while her sisters Molly and Katy played for the women’s team. McKenna’s brother, Keegan, currently plays for the men’s hockey team at Wisconsin.  A three-time all-city team honoree, Meuer was named to the all-state team as both a sophomore and junior and was also all-region as a junior. A 2011 national champion with FC Milwaukee, which featured current Badgers Cara Walls and Olivia Tehan, she also played in the prestigious Elite Clubs National League. At Madison Memorial, Meuer was a member of the high honor roll and Spanish Honors Society.

“McKenna is a defensive-holding center midfielder who was instrumental in FC Milwaukee’s national championship in 2011,” Wilkins said. “She comes from a great tradition of women’s soccer players within the family and brings vision and a defensive presence in the midfield, often shutting down opponent’s center midfielders.”

Lexi Peterson – MF/F – Wheaton, Ill. – Warrenville South HS
A midfielder and forward, Peterson is a native of Wheaton, Ill., and Warrenville South High School. She played for the Olympic Development Program Illinois State Team in 2008 and 2009 and was a member of the NSA Fury, along with Courtney McHugh, which won the 2011 US Youth Soccer National Championship. The NSA Fury also won the US Youth Soccer 2010 Region championship and finished third nationally. A team captain as a senior on her high school team, Peterson was injured during her junior season.

She earned all-conference, all-section and Warrenville South’s Offensive Player of the Year honors as a sophomore and was the team’s leading scorer as well as an all-area honoree by the Wheaton Leader. As a freshman, Peterson was named all-conference, honorable mention all-section and was tabbed all-area by the the Wheaton Leader. She was also named her team’s Offensive Player of the Year after leading the squad in scoring. A three-time academic all-conference honoree, Peterson served on the student council executive board and was a member of the Key Club and Athletic Leadership Council. A finalist for the J. Kyle Braid Leadership Foundation, Peterson intends to major in pre-med.

“Lexi is a flank-attacking player that is skillful and dangerous attacking 1 v. 1 and crossing the ball,” Wilkins said. “Her work rate is fantastic, and she has the ability to wear opponents down.”

Diamond Simpson – MF/F – Mississauga, Ontario – Mississauga HS
A midfieler/forward from Mississauga, Ontario, Simpson helped the Canadian women’s national team win the 2010 Concafe gold medal in Costa Rica and another international tournament in Brazil in 2010. Simpson also was a member of the 2008 Under-17 World Cup team that won a bronze medal, joining the squad when she was just 14 years old. She was a Provincial silver medalist in Quebec in 2008 and a Canada Games bronze medalist (PEI) in 2008.  In 2007 she received the highest honor as an athlete on the Ontario Provincial team.  The Athlete of the Week for soccer and volleyball during her freshman and sophomore seasons, Simpson also competed in “ringette” and horseback riding and helped coach youth soccer in Canada.

“Diamond was the keystone of the Canadian U17 center midfield at the last FIFA World Cup, but she has the versatility to impact all over the field,” Wilkins said. “She took off the last year to train with the women’s Canadian National Team. Diamond will add to our outstanding group of center midfielders with her ability to cover ground and shutdown opponents. Diamond will come to Wisconsin having played at the highest levels of women’s soccer internationally.”

Brianna Stelzer – D – Lakeville, Minn. – Lakeville South HS
A defender from Lakeville, Minn., Stelzer earned first-team all-state and all-conference honors as a senior and was also tabbed the St. Paul Pioneer Press Player of the Year. Stelzer was an all-state honorable mention and all-conference selection in her junior year, while as a sophomore, she was named all-conference and her team’s MVP. As a freshman, she was named honorable mention all-conference. Stelzer also competed in track and won Outstanding Academic Math and Outstanding Academic Science Awards. Away from the field, she spent time volunteering at Petsmart, the Twin Cities Marathon and youth soccer camps. Stelzer intends to major in biomedical sciences.

“Brianna is a very strong and determined defender who has a wealthy experience at the national championships with her club team, the Minnesota Thunder,” Wilkins said. “She is extremely competitive and a strong 1 v. 1 defender. Brianna will make an impact in the defensive group along with being a threat on set pieces.”

Marta Wangard – MF – Brookfield, Wis. – Brookfield East HS
A midfielder from Brookfield, Wis., Wangard was a member of the Wisconsin Olympic Development Program from 2007-10 and the Olympic Development Program Region 2 Team from 2010-11. She played with FC Milwaukee in the ECNL from 2005-10, winning two Wisconsin state championships, appearing twice in the Region 2 Championship and made it to the regional semifinals in 2011. Wangard played for Sockers FC as a senior after spending her junior season at IMG Academy, playing year-round. She also played with FC Milwaukee during sophomore season, while her freshman season was spent at Brookfield East as the lone freshman on a team that lost in the state sectional semifinals. Wangard made her school’s honor roll all four years and graduated a semester early. She volunteered with Special Olympics and with the Tri-ing For Children’s Triathlon and intends to major in business management.

“Marta is a technically smart player who will improve our midfield group with her ability to keep possession and create opportunities in the final third,” Wilkins said. “She has spent the past few years at IMG, preparing for the next level.”

Zoe Ziegler – MF/F – Mequon, Wis. – Homestead HS
A midfielder and forward from Mequon, Wis., Ziegler helped her team to conference and regional championships as a freshman. She was named first-team all-conference as a sophomore and also made second-team all-area as she led her team to the state championship game. Ziegler missed her junior season with an injury, and was a member of FC Milwaukee and the Olympic Development Program state team for four years. She was named to the Summer Camp All-Star Team in Santa Clara, Calif., in 2008 and won the Badger Award at the UW-Madison Summer Elite Camp in 2010. Ziegler also competes in tennis and is active in Homestead High School’s Student Council, the Milwaukee Service Club and Homestead Students Against Cancer, among others. She is a member of the National Honor Society, earned Milwaukee Academic Achievement-Student Achievers Award, made the high honor roll and intends to major in pre-med or engineering.

“Zoe is a busy, quick flank midfielder from FC Milwaukee,” Wilkins said. “Athletically, she has the ability to get behind defenses and will help the improvement of our midfield group.”

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