March 11, 2005

Aztec Soccer Recruits Signals a New Era

Giuliano signs eight for his first recruiting class

San Diego State women’s soccer coach Mike Giuliano has announced the signing of eight recruits on Tuesday. The incoming class includes one former national team player and four regional players.

“I dreamed that very soon, we would sign a national-level recruiting class,” Giuliano said. “I just didn’t know that it would happen this quickly. We needed to improve our athleticism. With this class, we are faster, quicker and we will read the game much more quickly. With our high pressure defensive style, reading the game is probably the most important principle and component to our success.”

Joining the Aztecs in the fall will be Millie Allen, Carrie Blakenbuhler, Adora DaCosta, Lauren Marquez, Jen Mello, Jillian Riker, Mariko Strickland and Christina Yount.

A member of the U-16 2002 U.S. National Team and a two-time member of the Colorado State ODP team, Allen (Thornton, Colo.) will be looked upon to contribute right away for the Aztecs in 2005. Allen played two seasons of high school soccer and won MVP honors for the Front Range league, as well as all-state recognition in both seasons.

Allen played three years for the Colorado Rush Soccer Club team, helping the squad to three consecutive state cups and a second-place finish at regionals in Hawaii last year. Allen is also captain of the Rush and a scholar-athlete at Horizon HS.

“Millie is a fast, physical defender who will strengthen an already stellar back line,” said Giuliano. “Millie’s speed and athleticism will also allow her to be an offensive force out of the back.”

Blakenbuhler (Littleton, Colo.), a teammate of Millie Allen with the Colorado Rush Soccer Club, helped lead the Rush to three consecutive state cups from her defensive midfield position.

A three-year letterwinner at Chatfield HS, Blakenbuhler led the Chargers to a 2004 state title.

“Carrie is known for her stellar distribution of the ball,” Giuliano said. “She will help us, especially in terms of organization on the field.”

DaCosta (Ramona, Calif.), a four-year letterwinner, may challenge for one of the positions on the back line for the Aztecs in her first season. She could also use her speed to create problems for opponents by playing up front for SDSU.

DaCosta earned four letters at Ramona HS and earned all-Valley League accolades her senior season, a year after being named to the second team. DaCosta also excelled with the Ramona HS track and field team, earning four letters and winning the team’s outstanding sprinter of the ear award.

Marquez (Walnut, Calif.), a member of the Southern California PDP program which recognizes the top 50 players in the region, played for the SC Blues, a team which won the state cup last year. She also played for the U-15 team that won one state cup and advanced to regionals two straight years.

At Walnut HS, Marquez led the Mustangs to three consecutive CIF titles, while earning third-team all-CIF honors and first-team all-league recognition. Marquez, a scholar-athlete, also is an active member of the Assistant Student Body at Walnut HS.

A Far-West regional team player, Mello (Pleasanton, Calif.) comes to The Montezuma Mesa after playing three seasons for the Pleasanton Rage and leading the squad to three consecutive state cups. Giuliano rated her as the most tactical forward of the incoming recruits.

Mello earned three letters at Amador Valley HS, where she garnered first-team all-league honors her junior season and second team accolades following her senior season. A scholar-athlete, Mello was also Amador Valley’s team MVP the past two seasons.

A nine-year member of one of the top clubs (San Diego Surf) in the nation, Riker (Carlsbad, Calif.) also earned four letters at Carlsbad High School. She led the Lancers to the 2004 and 2005 CIF semi finals.

A four-year scholar-athlete at Carlsbad, Riker also was named all-Avocado League four times, including first-team honors her senior season.

Considered one of the top players to come out of Hawaii this year, Strickland (Kapaa, Hawaii) brings a wealth of experience at the regional level to SDSU. She played four years at Mid-Pacific Institute, and was a five-year member of the ODP state team and three-year member of the Regional IV team.

A member of the HSC Bulls club team, Strickland led the squad to three consecutive USYNC Hawaii state titles (2001-03), which culminated with a trip to the Far-West regionals, where the Bulls advanced to the semi finals. In 2004, Strickland was a member of the Leahi Soccer Club USYNC team, which won the Hawaii state cup.

“Mariko is known for her amazing work rate, which allows her to control the game on both ends of the pitch,” said Giuliano.

Yount (Mission Viejo, Calif.) comes to SDSU having experienced winning on many levels in the past. In 2002, Yount led the Slammers to a National Club Championship and earned the “Golden Glove Award,” awarded to the top goalkeeper at the national tournament. Yount will replace graduated senior Sophia Perez, who recently made the Mexican National Team.

Yount was a four-year letterwinner at Capistrano Valley HS and helped the squad win CIF a year ago. Yount was also a four-year scholar-athlete and a member of the softball team for one season.

“Everyone talks about what great people their recruits are,” explained Giuliano. “In this particular case, it really is true in every respect. Academically, athletically, and socially, these young ladies will represent our great university with dignity and honor.”

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