KU Soccer Adds Nine

Feb. 8, 2007


University of Kansas soccer head coach Mark Francis announced Thursday that eight freshmen have signed National Letters of Intent to play soccer at KU beginning in 2007. The team will also add Taylor Blue of Olathe, Kan., to the roster. Blue has already enrolled in classes at KU and will play with the Jayhawks during the 2007 spring season. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

KU’s signees include: Emily Cressy (Ventura, Calif.), Kaitlyn Cunningham (Geneva, Ill.), Erin Ellefson (Overland Park, Kan.), Lauren Jackson (Long Beach, Calif.), Erin Lewis (Stilwell, Kan.), Geneva Magness (Overland Park, Kan.), Rachel C. Morris (Overland Park, Kan.) and Katie Williams (Houston, Texas).

The eight freshmen will join Blue and 20 returning players for the Jayhawks this fall.

“We are very excited about this class,” Francis said. “The number of quality players and the depth of this group will help our program continue to rise.”

Cressy, a 5-foot-5 midfielder/forward from Ventura, Calif., is a two-time all-league selection and an all-county selection. Cressy has played on two Excalibur Tournament championship teams in her career and has played four years on the US Women’s Deaf National team and eight years with the Cal-South ODP team. In 2005, she won a gold medal with the US National team at the Deaflympics. She was also a member of the 2005 Region IV ODP team. Her club team, the Eagles, won the 2004 USYS National Championship and were state finalists in 2005 and 2006. They were also the 2005 California Premier Champions and the Coast Soccer League Cup Champions in 2006.

“Emily is a very technical and crafty player who also has a nose for the goal,” Francis said. “She will help us out in the midfield or up front.”

Cunningham, a 5-foot-7 forward from Geneva, Ill., is a two-year varsity starter on the Geneva High School soccer team. Last season she was named to the Geneva Republican All-Area team and received the District 304 Award of Excellence. In her two years with the Vikings, she has led her team to conference championships in back-to-back seasons. She has played on the Strikers Fox Valley Soccer Club for the past five summers, leading her team to the Score on the Shore championship in 2006.

“Kaitlyn is a quick, tricky attacking player,” Francis said. “She is very versatile and we will use her either in the midfield or up front.”

Ellefson, a 5-foot-6 midfielder from Overland Park, Kan., is a two-time state champion with St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Last season, she was named First Team All-Metro, All-State as well as All-North East Kansas Coaches Association. In 2005, her team was ranked No. 2 in the country in the NSCAA/adidas Final National Poll, while the team garnered a No. 5 ranking in the final Studentsports.com poll last year. She has played on the Kansas State ODP team for the past four years and on the Region II ’89 Pool Team for two seasons. She was also invited to attend the National USSF ’89 Camp in 2003.

“Erin is a very technical player with a great shot with either foot,” Francis said. “Erin will help us in the central midfield position or up front.”

Jackson, a 5-foot-5 defender from Long Beach, Calif., was named the Most Valuable Defender in her league as a sophomore before suffering an injury last season. In just two seasons as a varsity starter, Jackson has earned first team all-league honors, a League Rookie of the Year award as well as a Gatorade Will to Win Athlete Award. She has also played on the Slammers Futbol Club for three seasons.

“Lauren is a very athletic, strong defender,” Francis said. “She is very tough defensively one-on-one and is extremely tough to beat. She will help us in the back line.”

Lewis, a 5-foot-3 midfielder/forward from Stilwell, Kan., is a three-time All-State selection that led her team to a regional championship as a freshman. Lewis has been named All-Northeast Kansas twice and All-Sun Country once during her high school career. As a freshman, she received the Gatorade Rookie Award. She has played club soccer with the KC Strikers as a freshman and sophomore and KCFC Alliance Heat as a junior and senior. Last fall, she led the Alliance Heat to a league championship and a state championship the year before.

“Erin is a very fast player who can get in behind the defense,” Francis said. “We see Erin playing a wide role for us either in the midfield or up front.”

Magness, a 5-foot-4 midfielder/defender from Overland Park, Kan., was teammates with KU signees Taylor Blue and Erin Ellefson at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Magness is a three-time all-conference selection and was named First Team All-State last season. As a sophomore she was named the Defensive Player of the state tournament, while she has led her school to a top-five ranking in the Studentsports.com final national poll in each of her three seasons. She has played nine years of club soccer on the KCFC Alliance Futuras and four seasons with the Kansas State ODP team.

“Geneva is a very versatile player that has played up front and in the back for her club and high school teams,” Francis said. “She is very athletic and we will likely use her in the back.”

Morris, a 5-foot-7 forward/midfielder from Overland Park, Kan., is a two-time First Team All-State selection who led her team to back-to-back Kansas 5A Regional championships. In 2005, she led Blue Valley West High School to a 5A state championship, scoring nine goals and a team-high eight assists. She has been named All-Eastern Kansas League three times, All-Sun Conference twice and All-Metro Honorable Mention twice. Last season, she scored 11 goals and had nine assists in leading her school within one win of back-to-back state championships. She has played the last two seasons with the KCFC Alliance Futuras, who were Kansas State Cup Finalists in 2006.

“Rachel is a very technical player who is very good in tight spaces,” Francis said. “She will help us out in the midfield this fall.”

Williams, a 5-foot-9 defender from Houston, Texas, is a two-time All-District 17-5A selection. She was named District 17-5A Defensive MVP as a sophomore. She has been a member of the ’89 South Texas ODP State Team for five seasons and a member of the Region 3 ODP team for three years. She has played club soccer for Challenge 89 for the past five seasons and has been team captain the last three years. Her club teams have won state five times and reached the USYSA National Championship twice.

“Katie is a defender who is phenomenal in the air and a very good one-on-one defender,” Francis said. “She is also very composed playing out of the back.”

Blue, a 5-foot-3 forward/midfielder from Olathe, Kan., was a two-time state champion at St. Thomas Aquinas High School along with KU signees Erin Ellefson and Geneva Magness. She is a three-time All-Eastern Kansas League selection and has been selected All-NEKSCA, All-Metro Honorable Mention by the Kansas City Star and the Mo-Kan League MVP. She has played on the KCFC Futuras since 2004.

“Taylor graduated early and is currently training with the team,” Francis said. “She is a very quick player who will help us out wide, in the midfield and up front.”

The new Jayhawks will look to help the team improve on last season’s 11-7-1 finish.