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Thu, Dec. 05

ERAU women's soccer inks 6 for fall campaign

Les Stukenberg, file/The Daily Courier<br>
Head coach Todd Poitras, seen back on Sept. 4, 2013, in Prescott, has signed six players to letters of intent to play for the ERAU Eagles in 2014-15.

Les Stukenberg, file/The Daily Courier<br> Head coach Todd Poitras, seen back on Sept. 4, 2013, in Prescott, has signed six players to letters of intent to play for the ERAU Eagles in 2014-15.

Embry-Riddle women's soccer coach Todd Poitras announced this past week that he has signed six players to letters of intent, including five freshmen and a junior-college transfer, for his 2014 recruiting class.

Defender/forward Linda Hughes (5-4) of Peoria; defender Emma Herrick (5-10) of Tucson; forward Ellie Engel (5-8) of Sandpoint, Idaho; goalie Emily Lambert (5-10) of Colorado Springs, Colo.; midfielder Kencie Ely (5-8) of Henderson, Nev.; and forward/midfielder Mariah Desmarais (5-6) of Tucson will join the Eagles this summer in preparation for the fall season.

Poitras said Hughes "will bring a combination of quality experience from the Club and high school levels." A four-year varsity letter-winner at Centennial High, Hughes garnered All-District honors for three straight seasons. She has also played Club for the Scottsdale Blackhawks over the past seven years.

"Linda is a tenacious player with a terrific work rate," Poitras said in an Embry-Riddle Athletics news release. "She has a steely focus when she plays, and a certain discipline to her game."

Herrick, a three-year varsity starter at St. Gregory College Prep, was twice named to the All-Southern Arizona team. As a senior this past winter, she earned All-Division accolades and captained the Hawks.

Herrick competed in Club for Tucson Soccer Academy for six years, and her '96 Red Team is the defending Arizona state champion.

"Emma is a hard-working player with a great attitude," Poitras said. "She knows how to use her height in the air and has a very good technical foundation."

Engel, a JUCO transfer from North Idaho College, led the Cardinals in goals scored as a freshman. She subsequently split time at forward and right back after two key defensive players suffered mid-season injuries.

"She is an incredibly athletic forward, and is a dominant force in the air," Poitras said of Engel. "Ellie is going to add even more potency to our frontline."

Lambert, a four-year varsity starter at Coronado High in Colorado, is an all-conference performer who was named to the all-area team this past season after leading the Cougars to a league championship.

"Emily has solid hands, and is a vocal presence on the pitch," Poitras said of Lambert, who also stood out for Pride Soccer Club. "She has good range and is tough to beat on crosses."

Ely, a veteran Club player from Nevada State High, plays for the prestigious Heat F.C., which Poitras said prepared her well for college ball.

"Kencie has good size, and utilizes really nice vision from the center of the pitch," the coach said. "She has the ability to get forward and the discipline to stay focused defensively as well."

Desmarais, a four-year standout at Marana Mountain View who also plays Club, is the sister of ERAU soccer alumna Whitney Desmarais.

These athletes will hope to help push Embry-Riddle into the postseason in 2014.

Last November, the Eagles finished the 2013 season as the Cal Pac Conference Tournament runner-up, falling 3-0 to William Jessup in the league championship in Prescott.

ERAU, which had won the Cal Pac crown in 2012, tied a single-season program high for wins last season, ending with a 13-6-1 overall record and a 9-4-1 mark in conference play.

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