STORRS, Conn. -- UConn women's soccer head coach Len Tsantiris has announced the addition of eight newcomers to round out the 2015 fall roster. The group of student-athletes includes seven incoming freshman and one transfer and hail from five states and two countries.
"We are excited about the group joining us this year. We feel that they complement the group that we have returning and should add some quality and depth to the roster," Tsantiris said.
"We look forward to seeing how they will fit in and how they will adjust to the college game but several of them have a chance to contribute right away," the 35th-year gaffer added.
See below for bios of each newcomer with thoughts from Tsantiris on each new Husky.
Jen Balzan || Stony Brook, N.Y. || Ward Melville || 5'7 || D
Before UConn: Played four years of varsity soccer at Ward Melville in East Setaucket, N.Y. ...All-State as a senior...League Player of the Year in 2014...three-time all-country...team captain as a senior...MSG Varsity and Newsday All-Long Island as a senior...helped squad to four-straight league titles...Suffolk County champions in 2011 and County finalists in 2012.
Personal: Jennifer Marie Balzan...born Jan. 10, 1997...daughter of Ronald and Karen Balzan...has two brothers, Dan and Michael...plans to major in pre-kinesiology at UConn.
Tsantiris on Balzan: "Jen does a good job helping to organize the back four and is very good with the ball at her feet. Her distribution and mobility allow her to also play in a deep midfield position. An intelligent player, we hope she is able to adjust quickly to the demands of D1 soccer."
Emily Costanzo || Ellington, Conn. || Ellington || 5'9 || D
Before UConn: Played four years of varsity soccer at Ellington High School...two-time CGSA All-State...three-time All-Conference...team MVP in 2013 and 2014...captained squad those same years...recipient of the CGSA/XARA Coaches Award in 2013...also ran two years of varsity track and played basketball and tennis in high school...member of the National Honor Society for two years.
Personal: Emily Jeanne Costanzo...born Jan. 14, 1997...daughter of Paul and Cyndi Costanzo...has one brother, James...plans to major in business at UConn.
Tsantiris on Costanzo: "Emily is another player that we are looking forward to seeing develop. Good with both feet and clean technically, she is also very mobile player that is great at attacking high balls. Really impressed last summer at camp and we are thrilled that she has joined us."
Maddie Damm || North Kingstown, R.I. || Syracuse || 5'6 || M
Before UConn: Spent the last two seasons at Syracuse...played in 33 matches, including 14 starts, for the Orange...had a pair of goals and an assist during her time at Syracuse...prior to college, was the 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year for Rhode Island...NSCAA All-American and All-Region in 2013...two-time captain at North Kingstown High School...First Team All-State as a junior and senior...finished high school career with 51 goals and 37 assists.
Personal: Madison Susan Damm...born May 23, 1995...daughter of Greg and Holly Damm...has a brother, Reilly and a sister, Ellie.
Tsantiris on Damm: ""A consistent performer at Syracuse who can play either centrally or out wide. An impact attacking player out wide at the club level, she has played a more central role in college. Strikes the ball really well and shoots very well from distance. Good feet and close control we are looking forward to having her join us."
Heidi Druehl || Stamford, Conn. || Westhill || 5'5 || D
Before UConn: Played four years of varsity soccer at Westhill High School in Stamford...two-year captain...All-State as a junior and season...four-time All-Conference...at the club level, helped New York Rush Patriots win the New York State Cup in 2014...also was a member of Beachside Soccer Club of CT where she won two more State Cup titles...ran track at Westhill, recording several top-five finishes at FCIAC meets...two-year member of the National Honor Society.
Personal: Heidi Tama Druehl...born Nov. 12, 1997...daughter of Bill and Vicki Druehl...has two sisters, Victoria and Natlaie, and a brother, Billy...plans to major in kinesiology at UConn.
Tsantiris on Druehl: "Each time we have seen Heidi over the last several years she has gotten better. A very good athlete with excellent speed and very sound technically, she is a very competitive player that will push hard to get onto the field. A very versatile player she is comfortable anywhere in the field but could make an impact as an attacking outside back."
Liane Keegans || Ridgefield, Conn. || Ridgefield || 5'6 || D
Before UConn: Four-year letterwinner at Ridgefield High School...All-State as a senior...first team All-Conference...team captain as a senior...a Gold Scholar Athlete at Ridgefield...National Honor Society member.
Personal: Liane Elizabeth Keegans...born Jan. 8, 1997...daughter of Ken and Karen Keegans...has two brothers, Matthew (twin) and Sean...plans to major in kinesiology at UConn.
Tsantiris on Keegans: "Liane is another one of our incoming players that has impressed us more each time we have seen her. Very tough in the tackle, she is also very mobile and able to play in a number of positions. She has done very well in the ODP Program and her long throw in could give us a constant threat in the final third of the field"
Annika Schmidt || Zionsville, Ind. || Zionsville Community || 5'9 || D
Before UConn: Played four years of varsity soccer at Zionsville Community High School...Girls High School All-American as a senior...MVP of the Girls High School All-American game...two-time All-State...member of the TopDrawerSoccer National Top 150...two-time Academic All-State...recipient of the 2014 ISCA Top Player laurel...team MVP and captain as a senior.
Personal: Annika Mae Schmidt...born July 14, 1997...daughter of C. Max and Christine Schmidt...has two brothers, Christian and Samuel, and a two sisters, Catherine and Mia...plans to major in sports marketing at UConn.
Tsantiris on Schmidt: "A very highly recruited central defender from the midwest, Annika is a very strong physical presence that is very good in the air and very hard in the tackle. A good leader and organizer that is very competitive and is always a danger to score from set pieces."
Kim Urbanek || Lonnerstadt, Germany || Gymnasium Hochstadt || 5'7 || F
Before UConn: Played soccer at Gymnasium Hochstadt in Hochstadt, Bayern...three-time champion of Bavaria...helped her club finish fourth in the U17 Bundesliga and runner-up at the U17 Indoor State Championships...scored 10 goals in 40 matches from 2012-14 in the U17 Bundesliga...was a team captain.
Personal: Kim Gina Luisa Urbanek...born April 27, 1997...daughter of Dieter and Silke Urbanek...has one brother, kevin...plans to major in sports management at UConn.
Tstantiris on Urbanek: "Our program's first German! Kim impressed us last winter at a player combine in Germany. Strong and fast with great vision for the final pass and a huge shot, she also has the tactical sophistication that you expect from a European. We expect Kim to fit in nicely to the team and are excited that she is joining us."
Shannon Walsh || Pelham, N.H. || Kimball Union Academy || 5'10 || F
Before UConn: Played prep soccer at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, N.H. ...Lakes Region League All-Star...helped Kimball Union win the league in 2013...Boston Globe All-Scholastic...also played basketball at Kimball.
Personal: Shannon Walsh...born Aug. 12, 1997...daughter of UConn alums Kevin and Kim Walsh...mother, former Kim Prutting, was also a soccer player at UConn and was a three-time All-American...father played on the Husky men's ice hockey team.
Tsantiris on Walsh: "Daughter of one on my former players! Shannon has some really special tools, tall and very strong, she has good speed and very good close control. She has a powerful shot and is very good in the air. We look forward to watching her develop."
The eight newcomers join a group of 21 returners to round out a squad that finished 14-5-5 and reached the second round of the NCAA Championship in 2014.
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