Aug. 19, 2010

Courtesy of Messiah

— Even though the bar has been set ridiculously high, the Messiah women’s soccer program appears willing to continually push its own levels of greatness.

Head coach Scott Frey announced another stellar incoming class Monday, highlighting four freshmen and two college transfers that look to help the Falcons maintain an almost absurd streak: Messiah has won the last two NCAA Division III National Championships behind a composite 49-0-3 record, advancing to the Final Four in each of the last six seasons.

“This is another extremely talented class,” Frey said of his 2010 newcomers. “I think the strength of this group is their versatility. You’re talking about players who can play a variety of positions, and I think they’ll help us all over the field.”

Messiah’s newcomers will have plenty of experience to pull from, as the Falcons return six of eight All-Commonwealth Conference selections from last year’s title team, including senior and 2009 Commonwealth Player of the Year Erin Hench.

Hench earned the 2009 NSCAA National Player of the Year honor as well, giving Messiah back-to-back national players of the year, as senior Amanda Naeher earned the award following the 2008 campaign.

Like Hench, Naeher will return to the team this fall, electing to use her fourth year of eligibility after playing basketball at Messiah as a freshman.

“I think we’re looking for a similar situation to what we had last year,” Frey said. “We have a talented group returning and we’ve got some incoming players who are athletic and very technical. I think this group will prove to be another very skilled class for our program, and we’re excited to get started.”

In addition to releasing its 2010 roster, Frey also announced the team’s 2010 schedule Monday, detailing multiple early-season tests: Messiah will travel back to Johns Hopkins University Sept. 8, the site where the team punched its Final Four ticket last fall. Other games against 2009 NCAA Tournament qualifiers include trips to Virginia Wesleyan College (Sept. 4) and Denison University (Sept. 25), while Eastern University visits Oct. 6. The Falcons will also have a re-match against fellow Final Four participant Lynchburg College on Sept. 18 — a team that dealt the Falcons their only tie of the season last year.

“We feel we’ve put together a good schedule that will give us a good sense of where we’re at early on,” Frey said.

A detailed look at Messiah’s six newcomers appears below.

Alex Brandt (Annapolis, MD/Mechanicsburg High School)
“Alex comes to Messiah after a season at the University of Central Florida. She played her high school soccer at neighboring Mechanicsburg High School where she earned All-State honors during her sophomore and junior seasons. Alex is a very dynamic attacking player with great quickness and speed plus the ability to break down defenses on her own. This past fall her play at UCF earned her recognition on the Conference USA All-Freshman team, registering two goals and three assists while seeing action in 23 games. Expect Alex to add yet another attacking threat in the Messiah midfield.” - SF

Alicia Frey (Dillsburg, PA/Northern High School)
“Alicia comes to the Falcons with a wide range of technical skills that will allow her to be effective in almost any area on the field. Alicia was named All-Conference First Team two consecutive years playing at center back for Northern High School under former Messiah All-American Mindy Smith (Miller). Her strengths lie in her strong technical skills and solid understanding of the game as well as good speed. Her overall athleticism is evident in her selection as a First Team All-Conference Field Hockey player this past fall.” - SF

Aly Platek (Chesterland, OH/West Geauga High School)
“Aly is a outstanding all-around athlete. Not only did she excel as a soccer player, earning All-Conference honors for three straight seasons and being named to the All-Cleveland Area Team, but was a district qualifier in swimming and a state qualifier in track (800-meter run). Aly will likely develop in the Messiah defense where her strong athleticism and technical ability can be utilized. Her Cleveland Alliance Soccer Academy team qualified for the Midwest Regional in 2009.” - SF

Ali Rogers (Hershey, PA/Hershey High School)
“Ali is another very versatile player with experience in many different positions. This spring she was a key defender (sweeper) for her Hershey High School team that captured the 2010 Pennsylvania Spring AAA State Championship. Ali plays with a tenacious spirit along with great skills and knowledge of the game. Her club team, Hershey Kit Kats, is recognized as one of the top club teams in the area. She was named All-Conference this spring as Hershey also captured the conference, league and district titles. Look for Ali to be involved in the Falcon midfield.” - SF

Rachel Scheibeler (Montoursville, PA/Loyalsocks Twp. High School)
“Rachel spent the fall of 2009 at St. Francis University before coming to Grantham. She suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the season and is back on the field after having surgery. Rachel is an attacking style player that will bolster an already talented midfield. She netted 85 goals and recorded 60 assists in her high school career. In 2007 she earned All-State honors. Rachel played her club soccer with Second to None and advanced to the 2008 U.S. Club Soccer Regional Tournament Final.” - SF

Emily Schneider (Allentown, PA/Parkland High School)
“Emily is a very technical left sided player with exceptional pace that makes her a very dangerous attacking threat. She was twice named her high school’s Most Valuable Offensive Player. This spring Parkland advanced to the District 11 final after winning their conference championship. Emily played her club soccer with Vincent United. She will possibly fill a role on the Falcons left wing to utilize the skills she brings. Another outstanding all-around athlete, she was an All-State field hockey player in the fall.” - SF