Sun Devil Soccer Signs Nine Players to Letters of Intent

Feb. 3, 2010

TEMPE, Ariz. - Two national team players and a trio of players from regional squads highlight the 2010 Arizona State University women's soccer signing class announced by fourth-year head coach Kevin Boyd on Wednesday.

Blair Alderson, Vittoria Arnold, Nicole Battista, Holland Crook, Josie Graybeal, Devin Marshall, Kaitlyn Pavlovich, Rachael Ritter and Jasmine Roth all signed national letters of intent on Wednesday to study and play soccer at Arizona State.

'It's a very good class there's no question about it,' said Boyd, who last season led the Sun Devils back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. 'There are two national teamers in the bunch - a goalkeeper and a forward, so both ends of the field - and a number of regional team players. I think it's going to be a very impactful group for us. This is the second class our staff has signed in which we were a part of the full recruiting timeline so I feel this class combined with next season's sophomores will give us a foundation that will continue to drive the program forward.'

Alderson will be staying close to home as she hails from Gilbert, Ariz. Last year she was honorable mention all-state and first-team all-region. Twice she has helped lead her team to the Fiesta Region championship. Alderson has played club soccer for Arsenal '91 Premier for eight years, but now in her 11th year of club soccer, plays for the '92 Arsenal Premier. She has been a part of the state cup championship team twice.

'Blair is someone who caught my eye a couple years ago, when I was in my first year here,' Boyd said. 'She is a wonderful attacking center-mid type, who is very good on the ball and is dangerous with her left foot. We are thrilled to have a local player out of a very strong Gilbert club.'

A member of the national ODP pool each of the last three years, Arnold will add much-needed depth at the goalkeeper position for ASU. She has been playing club soccer since 2002 and has earned many accolades. In 2009 her team was the U-17 USYS national champions and she won the golden glove. In 2008 she reached the same achievements at the U-16 level and was also an NSCAA youth all-region selection. In addition, she was also a member of the U-16 ODP Region III champions. Top Drawer Soccer ranked her No. 28 nationally in 2008-09.

'Vittoria is a national pool goalkeeper out of Texas and she comes out of a very storied club program, the Dallas Texans,' Boyd said. 'She was a golden glove winner at the national championships, which her team won. They have been to nationals a couple times in a row. Vittoria is very experienced and is very good in goal. It's just a matter of how quickly can she adapt to a higher level - faster shots, more competition in the air in terms of service, the elements that distinguish playing college soccer in the Pac-10.'

Battista is a four-year honor roll student from Norristown Penn., where she has been a four-year starter at Methacton Senior High School and a three-year first-team All-American. She has been the captain for her high school team the past two seasons and has set the career record for most assists. She was a two-year starter for her club team, FC Bucks Fusion, before she joined the FC Delco which plays in the USL's Super Y League. While with the Bucks she helped lead them to nationals in the summer of 2008. Nicole will also add speed to the ASU soccer team as in track she went to the state meet in the 4x400 relay her first two years at Methacton.

'Nicole came to our camp last summer and she turned heads while she was there,' Boyd said. 'So here's your perfect example of a player who really hasn't gotten a chance and she comes into our camp and really impresses us. We had four of our players who had already committed at that camp and she stepped in with them and showed she was every bit as good as they were. She'll be playing in our midfield and we think she's a bit of a steal for us.'

Crook comes to ASU from Seattle where she claimed a number of awards. She was the Associated Press 4A, All-State MVP in 2007 and has been a 4A all-state selection the last three years in a row. In 2008 and 2009 she was named to the Seattle Times state all-star team and in 2007 and 2008 she was named to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer all-star team. She was also twice named the Tacoma News Tribune all-area player of the year. In 2007 she was the South Puget Sound league Co-MVP before being the outright league MVP the last two years. For the last four years running she has been a SPSL first-team selection. Between 2005-2008 she was on the Washington State OPD team. With her club team she won state in 2008 and was the leading goal scorer for her teams from 2003-07.

'Holland is an attacking center mid out of Washington who plays for a club team that we have been fortunate enough to get a few players out of, Washington Premier,' Boyd said. 'She is absolutely outstanding on the ball. She has got a good shot with both feet. I think she is going to give us another dangerous player coming out of our midfield.'

Graybeal from Kitsap, Wash., joins the ASU soccer team following a successful career at Gig Harbor High School. Graybeal has played club soccer since 2001 and played for Westsound FC for three years before she moved up to play for Washington Premier FC in 2008. She also played on Washington ODP '92 for the past four years and made the Region IV ODP team in 2007 and 2009. At Gig Harbor High Graybeal has been a three-sport star lettering in soccer, basketball and track and field. The past two years she has been first-team all-league and was also first-team all-area and honorable mention all-state in 2009. In 2007-08 she was captain for her soccer team and the leading goal scorer.

'Josie is a very athletic outside back,' Boyd said. 'She is quite a soccer player who is technical, serves a good ball, is very aggressive and she has an attacking mindset from the back. She is going to come in and add something to us immediately.'

A national team player with international experience, Marshall comes to ASU from San Diego. She has traveled to Brazil to play in international matches and was part of the GU 15 US National Team and played two international games in preparation for the GU 17 World Cup. In those two games she scored three goals. She has been captain of her high school team all four years. Devin has been playing ODP soccer since 2005. She also leads her club team with 91 goals in three seasons. Top Drawer Soccer ranked Marshall No. 21 nationally.

'Devin is a goal scorer plain and simple,' Boyd said. 'She was on the U15 national team and was one of the core players. She got injured and hasn't gotten back in, but I expect she will find her way back when she starts scoring goals for us. She is outstanding in the air so she's very good at heading the ball and putting balls in that way. She is also good with both feet so she can take players on and she's got good speed. She is the whole package.'

Pavlovich comes to ASU from Gig Harbor, Wash., where she has attended Bellarmine Preparatory High School in nearby Tacoma. She has been her team's defensive MVP four years and has been named first-team all-conference three years. In the 2009-10 season she was named Narrows League MVP. She has been on the Washington State ODP team for five years and also played on the Region IV ODP team. She has played in the Gothia Cup and also traveled to Denmark to play in the Dania Cup and won the gold medal in both tournaments.

'Kaitlyn can play either center back or holding mid. She is outstanding in the air as well. So not only can she clear out balls that have been served into the back line, but also she's dangerous on set pieces going forward. She very good defensively, she organizes well and is a good talker and communicator. We expect she'll be challenging for a starting spot right away.'

Ritter has been a very talented athlete at Park City High School as she was an All-American in the Pentathlon in 2005 finishing sixth overall and in 2004 she finished second at the University of Oregon junior nationals in the high jump. It is that athleticism that has enabled her to accomplish great things on the soccer field as she has played and been captain of the Utah '92 OPD team from 2005-08. She has been all-state at Park City High for three years. In 2007 she helped her club team win a region championship. In 2005 she competed in the Gothia Cup, the worlds largest and most international youth soccer tournament, in Gotenberg, Sweden.

'Rachael is a holding mid, who has very good feet, can hit a long ball and is good in the air,' Boyd said. 'She is a player who we think will be immediately challenging for significant playing time.'

Roth, who will be attending the Barrett Honors College, has been playing club soccer ever since she was 10 years old. She has been a four-year letterwinner in three sports - cross-country, soccer and track and field. In 2008 she was named second team all Del-Rey League before being named to the first team in 2009. In 2009 she also was named to the first-team All-San Gabriel Valley soccer team and was a third-team selection All-CIF division IV. Playing for Legends FC in southern Calif. she has helped her team win the 2007 fall far west regional league championship and the 2008 North-South Premier League state championship.

'Jasmine is an understated, outstanding-in-a-quiet-way center back,' Boyd said. 'She can play center or wide defender, she is a great marking player, and she just picks up players and shuts them down. She tackles hard, she wins balls, and she's dangerous on sets. She is another one I expect will challenge for a starting spot immediately.'

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