Cal Signs Six Talented Players to NLIs for 2006
Feb. 1, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. - The California women's soccer team has signed six elite players to National Letters of Intent, head coach Kevin Boyd announced Wednesday. That group is expected to bolster the Golden Bear program, which advanced to the 2005 NCAA Sweet 16 and finished the year with a 16-4-2 record.
'We're very happy with this year's class, which features four players who have won club national championships,' said Boyd, who enters his 10th season at the helm of the Cal program in 2006. 'We were specifically targeting certain positions and people, and we met our expectations. We've gotten to the point where I'm so happy with the talent and depth on our team and where we are at that we are now looking at trying to replace a player that leaves. Before we were trying to up the total level of our talent, but now, we're reloading. This class not only has players who will contest for playing time immediately, but it also prepares us for when other people will graduate.'
Here's a breakdown of this year's class in alphabetical order:
Brianna Bak, a central defender from Manhattan Beach, Calif., has participated in the Cal South ODP program since 1999. Bak has starred on the Slammers FC G87 team for seven years, leading the club to the 2002 USYSA national title and to runner-up finishes in 2004 and 2005. Bak netted three goals in the 2004 national championship game. In addition, the Slammers were three-time Far West Regional and Cal South National State Cup champions (2002, '04, '05) and five-time Surf and Girls' Cup winners. At Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, she also is a three-year member of the varsity golf and basketball programs.
'Brianna is big and strong and doesn't get beat one-v-one,' said Boyd. 'She has a tremendous serve and shot and is dangerous on set pieces.'
A forward from Arcadia, Calif., Lisa Kevorkian was a member of various ODP pools from 2000-06. Kevorkian attended regional camps in 2002 and 2003 and a national team development camp in 2002. She scored 41 goals as a junior at Monrovia High School to earn first-team All-CIF honors. Also as a junior, Kevorkian received team MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, Rio Hondo League Offensive Player of the Year and her second scholar-athlete award. During her first three prep seasons, she amassed 89 goals and three league offensive player of the year accolades. Her club team, Slammers FC, claimed the 2002 USYSA national crown and was national runner-ups in 2004 and 2005. The Slammers also were victorious at the 2003 Surf Cup, the 2004 Jefferson Cup and the 2001, 2004 and 2005 National State Cup.
'Lisa is a great goal scorer,' said Boyd. 'She scores every time I watch her play. Her best traits are that she is super competitive, tough and does all the hard work to get a goal. Many of her goals come from following shots, getting a piece of a cross or pestering backs to win a ball.'
Jessica Mazura, a defender/midfielder from Newport Beach, Calif., was a four-year starter on the Corona del Mar High School soccer team. Mazura, whose sister Alivia will be a senior on next year's Cal soccer team, played multiple positions as a prep and was a captain her senior year. An honors student, Jessica Mazura traveled to England with the state ODP team in 2003 and has been a member of Slammers FC since she was nine-years old. Along with Bak and Kevorkian, Mazura helped the Slammers to the 2002 USYSA national championship and second-place finishes in 2004 and 2005. Mazura is an active volunteer at animal shelters.
'Jessica is competitive,' said Boyd. 'She has the ability to serve the ball well from the flanks and can hit the outside shot.'
Kelly Menachof, a center midfielder from Castle Rock, Colo., competed for the Region IV team in Boca Raton, Fla., in 2004, and attended an ODP national camp. Menachof also played for the Colorado ODP team for two years, attending regional camps both years.
Her club team has won the Colorado state championships six times and was a finalist once, and claimed Region IV and WAGS titles, in addition to being a finalist at the Score at the Shore tournament. At the 2003 state championship game, Menachof was awarded the MVP award after posting three goals and one assist. She is a four-year starter for the Arapahoe High School soccer team, earning second-team all-league honors as a freshman and sophomore and first-team all-state recognition as a junior and senior. Additionally, she is a four-time Warrior Invitational all-tournament team pick.
'Kelly is very crafty on the ball with excellent field vision and the ability to distribute,' said Boyd. 'She is outstanding at breaking down other teams' defenses.'
Katie Oakes, who hails from West Hills, Calif., teamed with current Bear Courtney Hooker, to lead the SoCal United Soccer Club to the 2004 under-18 national championship. Oakes started at forward as a sophomore - the youngest player - on that national championship team, while Hooker was a senior. The following year, Oakes played center back for SoCal United, which was ranked in the top three nationally. This year, she is playing center mid for the same club, which continues to be one of the top U18 teams in Southern California. At El Camino Real High School, Oakes is a three-time all-league and all-city selection, and has received league MVP and City Player of the Year distinction. Oakes, who is expected to play in the midfield or on the frontline for the Bears, is a three-year member of the ODP state pool.
'Katie is a creative, technical player who can impact a game from any position,' said Boyd. 'She is easily one of the top players coming out this year.'
A kicker on the Santa Rosa High School football team, Gina Pelligrini also served as the goalkeeper for the school's soccer program. Pelligrini has attended Northern California ODP camps, was a member of the 2003 Region IV ODP squad, the 2004 Pacific Division U16 ODP team and the 2005 National Select team. Her Santa Rosa United club soccer team was a 2004-05 State Cup semifinalist and is ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 11 in the nation this year. The Santa Rosa product was a three-time all-league choice and a two-time All-Empire selection, helping her school to the North Coast Section semifinals for three seasons. Pelligrini is a four-year member of the school's honor roll and has been an NCS Scholar-Athlete for four years.
'Gina is an outstanding goalkeeper,' said Boyd. 'She is an athletic shot blocker, demonstrates a presence in the goal and has outstanding distribution skills.'
Cal graduate eight players from last year, which saw the Bears tie the school record for shutouts in a season (14), post their best-ever Pac-10 record (7-1-1) and advance past the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1988.
2006 Cal Women's Soccer Recruiting Class
Name Pos Yr Hometown/Previous SchoolBrianna Bak D Fr. Manhattan Beach, CA/Chadwick SchoolLisa Kevorkian F Fr. Arcadia, CA/Monrovia HSJessica Mazura D/M Fr. Newport Beach, CA/Corona del Mar HSKelly Menachof M Fr. Castle Rock, CO/Arapahoe HSKatie Oakes M/F Fr. West Hills, CA/El Camino Real HSGina Pelligrini G Fr. Santa Rosa, CA/Santa Rosa HS