Lenoir-Rhyne University Head Women's Soccer Coach Adrian Blewitt has announced the signing of seven student-athletes for the 2012 season. The 2012 class for the Bears includes
Kendell Smith (Asheville, N.C.), Brianna Belsky (Egg Harbor Township, N.J.), Emmi Dunn (Reading, Pa.), Amber-Lei Madriaga (Wailuki, Hawaii), Garcelle Alequine (Wilmington, Del.), Leah Mullins (Kissimmee Fla.) and Regina Kelly (West Deptford, N.J.).
Smith earned all-state honors as forward in 2011 from T.C. Roberson High School. Smith is also part of two state championship squads and plays club soccer for CESA in South Carolina. Smith plans to major in health science at L-R.
"Kendell (Smith) has played for two very successful programs at T.C. Roberson and CESA," said Blewitt. "She has tremendous speed and a super-competitive personality. She will cause problems for many defenders during her career."
Belsky plays for Holy Spirit High School and is captain for the Pittsgrove Pride Club Team which earned two berth in the state finals. Belsky also is a member of the ODP State Team (2006-10) and was a Super Y National Camp attendee. An honor student, Belsky plans to major in pre-medical science at Lenoir-Rhyne.
"I expect Brianna (Belsky) to have an immediate impact in strengthening our young back line in 2012," said Blewitt. "She has an 'old head' on young shoulders."
Dunn is an all-county player for Wilson High School and also plays for the FC Revolution, one of the top club teams in Eastern Pennsylvania.
"Emmi (Dunn) is a technically-gifted player who is deceivingly skillful and has a great shot," said Blewitt.
Madriaga has captained her high school team, H.P. Baldwin, to three state championships and her club team, Maui United, to two state titles. A three-year member of the Hawaii OPD Team, Madriaga plans to major in exercise science.
"Amber-Lei (Madriaga) is unlike any player we have," said Blewitt. "She is quick with a great left foot and dynamic in her play."
Alequine played club soccer on the nationally-ranked FC Pennsylvania Strikers and the New Jersey state finalists Pittsgrove Pride. Alequine also played ODP soccer representing Delaware in the Northeast Regional Poll for two years and the Northeast Region I Team in 2008. For her high school team, Padua Academy, Alequine led the team to the state title as a freshman and national rankings as a junior. Alequine is also an all-state cross country runner and plans to major in nursing at L-R.
"Garcelle (Alequine) is a natural athlete with speed, agility and explosion to leave defenders behind," said Blewitt.
Mullins scored 198 career goals as a prep star for Osceola High School. Mullins also became one of the top players in the Orlando area while playing club ball for the Florida Soccer Alliance.
"Leah (Mullins) is the real deal," said Blewitt. "She has natural soccer talent combined with strength and speed to be dangerous as a freshman in the South Atlantic Conference."
Kelly also played for the Pittsgrove Pride Club Team with fellow signees Brianna Belsky and Garcelle Alequine. At West Deptford High School, Kelly was a state cup finalist and two-time all-county player. Kelly is an honor student and a member of the World Language Honor Society who plans to major in business and marketing with a minor in art.
"A true battling fullback with very good recovery speed makes Regina (Kelly) hard to get past," said Blewitt.
"This group has attacking flair, athleticism, and some tough competitors," said Blewitt, on this year's class. "Each offensive player has the ability to beat opponents one-versus-one and get in behind defenses. We have added some physically-strong defenders and will be adding another two-to-three players like this to the group. Because of the success the program has had the last couple of years, the talent level of the players we are now able to recruit has increased significantly and this group is an example of that. They have big shoes to fill but I know they are competitive and will be ready."
Lenoir-Rhyne looks to build on back-to-back South Atlantic Conference Regular Season Championships and a pair of berths in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Finals.
Last season, L-R finished with a 17-3-1 mark to go along with a perfect 9-0 record in league play. The Bears also finished the year ranked No. 9 nationally.