PASADENA (June 8, 2017) – Head Coach Taylor Houck has announced the Caltech women's soccer program's first-ever recruiting class for the Fall of 2017, as well as the full initial roster. The class consists of six incoming freshmen, five rising sophomores, two juniors and two seniors.
Nayla Abney (Sewell, N.J. / Deptford Township)
Vandana Agarwala (New York, N.Y. / Stuyvesant)
Krystin Brown (Trabuco Canyon, Calif. / Trabuco Hills)
LC Chen (Mercer Island, Wash. / Mercer Island)
Netra Ravishankar (Fremont, Calif. / American)
Rachel Sun (Tustin, Calif. / Arnold O. Beckman)
Maquelle Tiffany (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos)
Caroline Atyeo (Parkland, Fla. / Marjory Stoneman Douglas)
Gabriella Chan (Colleyville, Texas / School for the Talented and Gifted)
Noelle Davis (Fort Worth, Texas / Texas Acad. of Math & Science)
Megan Durney (Escondido, Calif. / Escondido Charter)
Hana Keller (Sammamish, Wash. / Tesla STEM)
Madelyn Stroder (Springfield, Mo. / Greenwood Laboratory)
Gabby Tender (Bethesda, Md. / Walt Whitman)
Shuxian "Sherry" Wang (Falls Church, Va. / Thomas Jefferson Math & Science)
Mackenzie Wooten (Las Vegas, Nev. / NW Career and Tech Acad.)
Sewell, N.J. / Deptford Township
A three-time All-Conference selection, the league's top defender and team captain, Abney headlines the inaugural class after starring for Deptford Township High School and the SJEB Rush. The stalwart and versatile defender also served as her class Vice President for three years and is a member of the National Honor Society. Her team at the Rowan College at Gloucester County Women in Technology Fair won the Outstanding Design and Construction Award for building a launcher and she helped develop the Spartan Mentoring program at her high school. Abney also started her own nonprofit, OneGoal, which sends soccer gear to less fortunate countries.
"Nayla comes to us from a very competitive club team in NJ and will bring a solid foundation of technical skill and tactical awareness along with a great physical presence in our backline," Houck said. "She is both a skilled outside back with the ability to get up and down the flanks and an impenetrable center back."
New York, N.Y. / Stuyvesant
Agarwala was a three-year Varsity team member at Stuyvesant High School, captaining the team to its first playoff appearance in three years as a senior.
"Vandana joins us with a great enthusiasm to make our team better," Houck said. "She comes from a competitive playing background where she held a leadership position. We will look for her to come in and continue to work hard and compete."
Trabuco Canyon, Calif. / Trabuco Hills
5-2, Defender, Midfielder, Forward
Brown also boasts a distinguished club career with the Slammers ECNL. She won both the 'Pursuing Victory with Honor' and Coaches Award for Trabuco Hills High School and served as President of the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honors Society club. Another versatile player with a solid fundamental base, she has also interned with Printronix Software as an engineer.
"Krystin is a very technically sound player who can play a variety of positions, from holding central midfield to outside defender," Houck said. "She does exceptionally well combining with her teammates and moving off the ball. Krystin has an incredibly clean first touch and is crafty with the ball at her feet. I am very excited about her potential to come in and immediately take control of the middle of our field."
Mercer Island, Wash. / Mercer Island
A two-sport recruit planning to dive at Caltech, Chen earned NCWIT Washington State Honorable Mention honors as a senior and is an Eastman and Knopp Scholarship recipient. She was also a three-year member of her high school gymnastics team as a balance beam specialist.
"LC comes to us with a very athletic background in gymnastics," Houck said. "She has a great work ethic and a willingness to learn and get better each day. I suspect she will improve rapidly."
Fremont, Calif. / American
5-8, Midfielder, Defender
A three-sport star in soccer, tennis and track, Ravishankar captained American High School as a four-year varsity player, helping her team to qualify for the North Coast Sectionals. She twice garnered All-MVAL honors, in addition to Newbie and Most Outstanding Player recognition, and was named a Scholar Athlete. She also qualified for North Coast Sectionals in both tennis and track, earning All-MVAL First Team honors for doubles in tennis and the 4x400 relay in track.
"Netra has a fantastic work rate and is incredibly coachable," Houck said. "She is a good athlete who has the ability to play a variety of positions, which will be vital in our first season."
Tustin, Calif. / Arnold O. Beckman
Another accomplished player with her club team, Sun played for FC Golden State and served as team captain for Arnold O. Beckman in addition to earning Defensive MVP honors. She is also an AP Scholar with Distinction, a National Merit Scholarship finalist and was President of the Science Olympiad Club, for which she won first place in the Disease Detectives event.
"Rachel has the potential to be a steady impact player for us," Houck said. "She is a center midfielder with great size and good vision. She has the potential to be a serious playmaker for us in a variety of critical positions."
Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos
5-7, Midfielder, Forward
Tiffany led her high school team to the division title as a senior and two-time captain. She split her time between forward and midfield, where her speed and service play particularly well on the outside.
"Maquelle is a player who will give us a great option from the flank," Houck said. "She has the ability to serve dangerous crosses in to the box from the wide position which will add another element to our attack."
Parkland, Fla. / Marjory Stoneman Douglas
5-8, Midfielder, Forward
Ranked fourth on the Caltech cross country all-time list and eighth in the 800-meter run on the track & field list, Atyeo brings a wealth of youth soccer experience and veteran leadership as the only senior on the squad. Although she played only one year of soccer in high school, instead captaining both the cross country and track & field teams while winning district titles in the 800m and 1600m, Atyeo played club soccer for eight years, including captaining Coral Springs United as a sophomore.
"Caroline possesses good skill and great athleticism, having done a variety of sports at Caltech," Houck said. "She is quickly becoming a leader within our team as our only rising senior from Day One."
Colleyville, Texas / School for the Talented and Gifted
Chan was a member of the Caltech men's soccer team as a freshman this past Fall after starting as a defender and captained the Dallas Texans Soccer Club. A National Merit Scholar, National AP Scholar, National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar and member of four National Honor Societies in addition to Mu Alpha Theta, she was the youngest athlete to complete a stage of the Marathon des Sables, a self-supported footrace across the Moroccan Sahara.
"Gabriella is a reliable defender who isn't afraid to really stick a strong tackle," Houck said. "She was ecstatic when we announced the addition of women's soccer. She is eager to compete in the challenging SCIAC and help develop strong team chemistry as we start out."
Fort Worth, Texas / Texas Acad. of Math & Science
5-5, Midfielder, Defender, Forward
Davis also participated on the Caltech men's soccer team as a rookie in 2016 following three years of co-ed high school competition, where she was named District Newcomer of the Year and made the All-District Team. A National Merit Scholar, FIRST Robotics team member and Community Service Director for her engineering club, she also placed fourth in the TAPPS cross country meet twice.
"Noelle is both technically sound and athletic, allowing her to play a variety of positions," Houck said. "That versatility will be key for us in the early going, especially knowing she'll make an impact wherever we play her."
Escondido, Calif. / Escondido Charter
Durney, a rising sophomore, played two years of soccer at Escondido Charter High School following her youth career. Already an aggressive presence in the box, she is intent on further polishing her skills.
"Megan is a fearless goalkeeper," Houck said. "She never hesitates to put herself in front of a shot – an essential quality in a GK that I am thrilled to build on this season."
Sammamish, Wash. / Tesla STEM
5-4, Midfielder, Defender
Keller boasts the most experience of any player on the initial roster, having played for 16 years – 11 with the Crossfire Select club team, with which she was named the Gonzaga Best Player in the State while leading her team to the state championship. She was a National Merit Scholar and Commended Student in high school, twice placing among the top four in the Imagine Tomorrow competition. A rising junior, Keller has played on the Caltech women's water polo team over her first two years as a Beaver.
"Hana comes from a successful youth soccer experience," Houck said. "One of our most technically sound players, Hana has a fantastic first touch and ability to run at you while maintaining possession of the ball. She is strong on connecting passes, building the attack and taking players on 1v1."
Springfield, Mo. / Greenwood Laboratory
A two-year player on the Caltech women's basketball team, Stroder played on her high school varsity team all four years after a youth career stretching back to first grade. A consummate teammate with an eternally positive attitude, her high school accolades include Class Valedictorian, National Merit Scholar, various Science Olympiad awards and membership in the National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta.
"Madelyn is a fantastic teammate who approaches each session with a determination to get better, make her teammates better and set a foundation for our program," Houck said. "She is a perpetual learner, interested in improving each skill and piece of the game."
Bethesda, Md. / Walt Whitman
Falls Church, Va. / Thomas Jefferson Math & Science
5-5, Midfielder, Defender
A rising sophomore, Wang joins the team without prior soccer experience but a strong work ethic and team attitude.
"Sherry is an extremely hard worker with a passion to learn and improve," Houck said.
Las Vegas, Nev. / NW Career and Tech Acad.
Wooten contributed on the Caltech women's water polo team in her first year and has shown a determination to develop as a soccer player despite having no prior experience.
"Mackenzie has a great work rate and an even better attitude," Houck said. "Her strongest quality is her ability to make intelligent runs in the gaps between defenders."