Tobias Announces Incoming Freshmen Class

Feb. 26, 2003

PULLMAN, Wash. --- Washington State soccer coach Dan Tobias announced the signing of five student-athletes to national letters of intent Wednesday.

Lindsay Eggen of Auburn, Wash., Angela Fajardo of San Mateo, Calif., Jessica Gerstmann of Puyallup, Wash., Jennifer Sherwood of Spokane, Wash., and Samantha Hufford of Redmond, Wash., have declared their intention to join the Cougar Soccer program next fall.

Eggen was coached by Brian Van Blommestein for the F.C. Royals 84 team that captured the state title in 2002. Eggen was a standout at Riverside High School in soccer, cross-country, and track, earning eight high school letters. She earned All-South Puget Sound League honors three times and helped lead the Ravens to the state playoffs as a senior.

'She is a central defender, very smart, very good understanding of the game and good overall ability in terms of reading the game. She does a good job of organizing in the back, so really good leadership skills,' Tobias said. 'She has excellent grades and does an excellent job of playing her role. I think she will be someone who will continue to make big strides here at WSU.'

Fajardo was coached by Jeff Van Gastel for the DeAnza Force Blue team and Mike Becker at Notre Dame Belmont High. The 5-6 defender is a three-time all-league selection in the Girls' Private School League and has led the Tigers to three-straight conference titles. Fajardo captained her club squad last season.

'We are very excited about adding Angela to our program. She is an excellent defender. She has very good speed and gets forward and gets involved in the attack very well,' Tobias said. 'We think her upside is very, very big. She is going to add a lot of athleticism and a lot of speed. Her ability on the ball is going to get better and better. She is a very good student and plays on a good club team in the DeAnza Force. We are very excited she is going to be a Cougar for the next four years.'

Gerstmann was also a member of the F.C. Royals club team coached by Brian Van Blommestein. The Puyallup, Wash., native was the Chinook League's most valuable player in 2002 after compiling 20 assists and 17 goals at Cascade Christian High School. A projected midfielder, Gerstmann was a four-time all-league selection, and also earned the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association's Distinguished Scholastic Award.

'She can be an outstanding attacking player as a wide, midfield player,' Tobias said. 'That seems to be her most natural position and we think she has very, very good speed. She is very good already defensively as a wide player and I think that is really rare. I think that bodes really well on our team because we have been stingy defensively. She is an excellent student and just the total package.'

Sherwood was a four-time All-Greater Spokane selection at Mead under head coach Travis Hanson, and a member of the Spokane Skyhawks guided by Malcolm Bowie. Another midfield prospect, Sherwood led the Panthers to a fourth place finish at state in 2000 and a third place finish in 2001.

'She is a natural left-sided player, which you can never have enough of. We think her best position is more of a wide-midfield player. She is an excellent student and has always wanted to come to WSU,' Tobias said. 'We had an excellent visit with her. She has the right attitude, good athleticism, and good speed. She has a good upside as far as someone who will continue to develop each year.'

Hufford helped guide Eastlake High School to the Class 4A state title in 2002. The three-year letterwinner for the Wolves was named first team All-State and player of the year by the Eastside Journal. Hufford also played for the Washington Soccer Club and participated in the state's Olympic Development Program.

'She is a central midfield player and has excellent vision. She clips balls in behind defenses and sees things that other players don't see. She led her team to a high school state championship,' Tobias said. 'Another excellent student, very bright, and I think might be the sleeper recruit in the state of Washington this year. She might have been on some people's radar screens, but has always been on ours. I am looking forward to working with her.'

In 2002, Washington State played five true freshmen, Carmen Anderson, Jennie Kunc, Haley Miller, Alix Rustrum, and Ashley Smith, who combined to start 26 matches and score 25 points. Tobias is expecting big things from the class of 2003, as well.

'If you look last year's freshmen class, all five made significant contributions. I think they all had an impact in their first year. They showed up prepared and got used to playing with their new teammates,' said Tobias, who will enter his sixth-year as WSU Head Coach in the fall. 'They did fairly well on their fitness test and had played a lot during the summer so the skill level was right there. Looking at the list of our newcomers, if I were a betting man, I would bet that they would follow the summer workout to the letter, and that would give them the best opportunity to make an impact that first year.'

Coming off its best conference record in program history at 5-2-2 and 11-7-2 overall, Washington State opens the 2003 season Aug. 29 against 17-time national champion North Carolina in Seattle at the Arena Sports Pac-10/ACC Challenge.

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