Jayhawk Soccer Inks Eight for 2014
|2014 Soccer Signees|
|Lauren Breshears||GK||St. Peters, Mo.|
|Hannah Lukanic||M||Olathe, Kan.|
|Miriam Melugin||D||Springfield, Mo.|
|Kaila Morgan||D||Pembroke Pines, Fla.|
|Kayla Morrison||D||Corona, Calif.|
|Eli Mayr||F||Munich, Germany|
|Jordan Nelmark||M||Naperville, Ill.|
|Katie Rastamo||D||Irving, Texas|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas women’s soccer coach Mark Francis announced Friday that the Jayhawks have signed eight student-athletes to letters of intent during the early signing period. Lauren Breshears (St. Peters, Mo.), Hannah Lukinac (Olathe, Kan.), Miriam Melugin (Springfield, Mo.), Kaila Morgan (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), Kayla Morrison (Corona, Calif.), Eli Mayr (Munich, Germany), Jordan Nelmark (Naperville, Ill.) and Katie Rostamo (Irving, Texas) will all suit up for the Crimson and Blue next season.
“This is obviously a big group for us,” said Francis. “Having graduated three players from last year’s team and adding eight in this class, we are going to have a lot more depth in every position; from goalkeeping all the way through to the front line. There will be a lot more competition for playing time, which is only going to help everyone’s level of play. I believe that some of these new incomers will seriously challenge some of our returners for playing time.”
For the second-straight season, the Kansas coaches add an all-conference goalkeeper to the Jayhawk roster. Breshears, a 5-foot-8 keeper out of St. Peters, Mo., is currently in her final year at Fort Zumwalt South High School and playing for Jim Layne’s squad. With the help of Breshears between the posts, the Bulldogs claimed the 2013 Class 3, District 5 Championship with a perfect 8-0 record in league play. During that season Breshears earned a record of 12-4 as the Bulldogs’ keeper and touted a 0.56 goals against average, which included nine shutouts. Her junior year performances helped earn her First Team All-Conference honors. As a sophomore she also garnered Second Team All-Conference honors as a member of her conference championship team.
“Lauren is a great addition to our GK crew,” said KU associate head coach Kelly Miller. “I’m excited about her potential. Lauren is athletic with a solid skill set, bringing immediate depth to the GK position.”
Lukinac, who hails from Olathe, Kan., has spent the last three years as a midfielder for Terry Hair’s Olathe East team. As a junior, she helped the Hawks to the Northeast Region 2 Championship and earned All-Sunflower League and All-State honors in the process. Lukinac also played club soccer for Sporting Blue Valley for the last three years. In that span, the team was ranked among the top-four nationally and was the champion of the Midwest Division each of those years.
“Hannah comes to us having played at the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) level the last few years,” explained Francis. “That experience will only help her once she gets in the competitive Division I level. Hannah is versatile and has played in the central midfield as well as in the middle of the back. I am looking for her to come in and challenge the returners in the middle of the field.”
Melugin joins the Jayhawks after four highly-successful seasons at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Mo. The 5-foot-8 defender was the squad’s captain each of the last three years. Last year, she helped the Lady Chiefs to a District Championship and was named to both the All-District and All-Ozark First Teams before she was tabbed as the district’s Co-Player of the Year.
“Miriam came to our residential camp last summer and immediately caught our eye,” said Francis. “She is a very feisty player that will bring some real ‘bite’ to the team. She can help us in the center of the midfield as well as in the center-back position. I am looking for Miriam to impose her physical style of play down the center of the field.”
The Jayhawk coaches added another defensive specialist out of Pembroke Pines, Fla., in Kaila Morgan. For the last three years she has been a member of the American Heritage High School’s state championship team. In three seasons she has scored eight goals and assisted on an additional 11, which includes five goals already this season as a senior. On the Patriots’ back line she helped her team to the 2012 Florida State title before claiming the district championship a year ago. Thus far in her 2013-14 campaign she has helped lead her team to an undefeated 27-0-1 record and has advanced to the semifinals of the state tournament to be played later this week.
“Kaila is a very fast marking back who can serve the ball really well down the left side,” said Francis. “She will give us more depth in the left-back position and can challenge the returners for playing time. Kaila will add a little more height to the team which will help us especially defending set pieces.”
Morrison, who hails from Corona, Calif., tallied some impressive offensive numbers in her four seasons at Corona High School. She tallied 90 goals from 2010-13 for the Panthers, which included two four-goal outings in 2012. Her team named her Offensive Player of the Year in three-straight seasons from 2010-12 and the squad’s MVP in 2013. Morrison also spent seven years playing club soccer for Legends FC, which claimed the U15 National Championship in 2012.
“Even though Kayla has scored a lot of goals in high school, we are probably looking at playing her in the middle of the back where she plays for her club team,” explained Francis. “She is composed on the ball and also adds some height to the middle of the field for us. She will challenge the returners in the center-back position.”
KU’s incoming class will once again have an international flavor as the Jayhawks signed the Munich, Germany native, Mayr. Over the last several seasons she has been a key component for one of Germany’s top club teams, Bayern Munich. She has also spent time on her national team, which gives her valuable international experience.
“Eli comes to us after having played at a very high level in Germany in the Bundesliga 2 for Bayern Munich, one of the top women’s teams in Germany,” said Francis. “Eli has also represented her country at the youth level. These experiences will help her in the transition to the college game. She is a target type center-forward who will hold the ball up for us and feed the players around her. She is also very good in the air and brave in the box.”
Nelmark, who stands 5-foot-5 and is a native of Naperville, Ill., will help the Jayhawks with their depth in the midfield. She helped Neuqua High School to a conference title as a freshman and also spent a year playing club soccer for the Fox Valley Strikers. With her in the midfield, the Strikers claimed the championship of the MRL U18 First Division Blue in 2013.
“Jordan is versatile and will help us in the center of the field as well as possibly as a marking back where she has also played for her club,” said Francis. “She is also a very physical, feisty player that is going to help us take the physical part of our game up a notch.”
Rastamo signs with Kansas after spending the last four seasons playing for head coach Craig Savage at Parish Episcopal School in Irving, Texas. The 5-foot-4 defender helped the Panthers to three-straight Division 2 state titles from 2011-13. In the span, she was named to the All-State First Team each of the last two years as well as Defender of the Year in in 2012 and 2013. Rastamo also spent the last seven years playing club soccer with the Dallas Texans ECNL 96. With Rastamo’s help, the Texans won back-to-back state cups in 2011 and 2012 and was their region’s runner-up in 2013.
“Katie is another player that we found through our summer camps,” explained Francis. “She did a great job at camp and will give us more depth at the marking-back position. She is composed on the ball and will fit in well with our style of playing out of the back. Her ECNL playing experience will be a plus when she is competing with college players.”
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