Women's Soccer Inks Seven Recruits

Feb. 6, 2003

CORVALLIS, Ore. - -

Seven student-athletes signed national letters of intent to play women's soccer for Oregon State University, head coach Steve Fennah announced Thursday.

Catherine Betts (Piedmont, Calif.), Jennifer Crump (Santa Maria, Calif.), Amy Johnson (Eugene, Ore.), Sara LaFleur (Sandy, Utah), Melissa Onstad (Castro Valley, Calif.), Ali Vislay (Mission Viejo, Calif.), and Kelli Washburn (Santa Barbara, Calif.) will begin their careers at OSU next fall.

Five of the seven signees hail from California, and six have experience in the Olympic Development Program. In all, the class includes three midfielders, two defenders, and two goalkeepers.

'We're very pleased with the class,' Fennah said. 'Top-to-bottom, it's probably the strongest group we've brought in. In particular, we also feel some things that were very important to us - apart from bringing very good players in - were addressed in that we brought players in to fill positions that we really needed.

'Their qualities, apart from being very talented, are as simple as adding some size and height to our team. Five of the players are 5-foot-8 or taller and will bring some ability in the air to our squad.

'Their pace is good, and the ability to pass and play the ball is there as well. They will allow us to continue to play the style that we've developed,' Fennah said.

Betts has been at Piedmont High School, where she earned all-league recognition each of her four years as a midfielder. She has played for the Bay Oaks club team, and has been in the Northern California ODP state pool for five years.

'Catherine is a quick, busy midfield player who we expect to come in and develop over time into a good player on our squad,' Fennah said of the 5-foot-5 Betts.

Crump, from Ernest Righetti High School, is a three-time all-league selection and also plays for coach Scott Murray on the So Cal United club team. The 5-foot-9 defender is a four-year member of the Southern California ODP state pool.

'Jennifer Crump will come in and play at the back for us,' Fennah said. 'She's a very versatile player who can play the left side or the right, but we feel that she will challenge for a position on the left side of the field. She has good pace, is a very aggressive player, is strong in the air, and likes to get forward out of the backfield as well.'

Johnson, the lone transfer in this year's class, comes to OSU from Utah State University but grew up in Eugene, Ore. A 5-foot-8 goalkeeper, Johnson will be a sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining.

At Utah State, Johnson played in six games, posting a goal-against average of 1.33 and making 15 saves in 270 minutes of action.

'She impressed us when we were able to watch her train, and we're expecting her to come in and do very well for us,' Fennah said. 'She has experience having played a year at the collegiate level at Utah State, which is a plus.'

LaFleur, a 5-foot-8 central midfielder, was a three-year member of the ODP state team in Utah. She also earned four letters at Skyline High School and competed at the club level with the Utah Firebirds.

'Sara LaFleur is a central holding midfield player who plays very much with the exact style that we like our team to play,' Fennah commented. 'She will keep the ball moving and distribute it very well - her vision is very good and she's strong in the air. Also, she has played for the very successful Utah Firebirds team.'

'We've watched her play for a long time because her club team is mostly a year older than her, and we've been very impressed with her for a number of years.'

A 5-foot-9 goalkeeper from Castro Valley High School, Onstad was a three-year member of the Northern California ODP district state team as well as a one-year state team pool member. Onstad earned league Defensive Player of the Year honors at Castro Valley, and played for the club team MTV United.

'Melissa impressed us with her range and athleticism,' Fennah said. 'She's got good hands, and I feel confident that she'll develop into a very good goalkeeper. With her and Johnson, along with our current keeper, Alicia Artuso, there should be some very good competition at that spot.'

Vislay is at Capistrano Valley High School. A 5-foot-6 central defender, she plays for the So Cal Blues club team, coached by Hugh Donald, and was teammates with current OSU players Stacey Mescher and Tessa Baker. Vislay spent three years on the ODP regional team and four on the Southern California state team. At Capistrano Valley, she was an all-league selection and second-team all-CIF.

'Ali is an outstanding central defender from southern California,' Fennah said. 'She's been an important element of her regional team for a number of years and plays for the very successful Southern California Blues club.'

'Ali is able to read the game, organize, pass, and really is a complete all-around central defender. We're very excited that Ali is joining our team. She can come in and provide a sense of leadership for our defenders.'

Washburn, a 5-foot-9 midfielder, comes to OSU from San Marcos High School, where she was an all-league selection as a central midfielder for two years. She was also a two year ODP regional pool player, and has spent three years in the ODP system overall. Washburn also plays for So Cal United and was teammates with fellow signee Jennifer Crump.

'Kelli is a central midfielder who has been involved in the regional pool and team levels,' Fennah said. 'She's tall, very aggressive, strong, and a good passer of the ball. She can really be a difference-maker in the center of the park. She fills an area of need with her ability in the air, - she'll be very important to us.'

Oregon State women's soccer letters of intent, as of 2/6/03

Catherine Betts, Mid., Piedmont, Calif. (Piedmont HS)

Jennifer Crump, Def., Santa Maria, Calif. (Ernest Righetti HS)

Amy Johnson, Goal, Eugene, Ore. (Utah State Univ./South Eugene HS)

Sara LaFleur, Mid., Sandy, Utah (Skyline HS)

Melissa Onstad, Goal, Castro Valley, Calif. (Castro Valley HS)

Ali Vislay, Def., Mission Viejo, Calif. (Capistrano Valley HS)

Kelli Washburn, Mid., Santa Barbara, Calif. (San Marcos HS)

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