Philadelphia Head Women’s Soccer Coach Darren Ambrose announced his incoming Class of 2009, which consists of six members that will look to make great contributions to the program. The incoming freshmen hail from four regions of the United States, including two from Pennsylvania. The class is ranked ninth in the Mid-Atlantic region and 61st in the nation by SoccerBuzz.com.
Natalie Capuano comes to Penn from Aston, Pa. (Sun Valley High School). A tough, natural leader both on and off the field, Capuano was a central midfielder for the regional Olympic Development Program (ODP) and played for the Pennsylvania Strikers club team that won numerous State Cup titles. She chose Penn over Tennessee, Georgetown and West Virginia.
“We are excited that Nat chose to come to Penn,” Ambrose said. “She has the tools to make an impact here and we expect her to become one of our leaders as she develops in our program.”
Also hailing from the Keystone State is Nicky White (Tower Hill School/West Chester, Pa.). White is a very versatile player who can play numerous positions. She also is a very technical player that understands the game well tactically. White has playing experience at both the state and regional levels and was a teammate of Capuano’s on the Philadelphia Strikers. She chose Penn over Tulane and William & Mary.
“Nicky is great with the ball. She can play anywhere in the midfield or as an outside back,” Ambrose said. “We are extremely happy she will be wearing the Red and Blue.”
Heading north is Ellen Gregory (Sacred Heart Academy/Louisville, Ky.) after an outstanding senior campaign in which she was named a high school All-American and named the Kentucky State Player of the Year. She can play up front but can also handle duties as an outside back. Gregory, who is originally a native of Indiana, played for a solid club program in Carmel and was in the Region 2 ODP pool. She chose Penn over Louisville and Kentucky.
“We are looking forward to Ellen joining us. We expect her to be able to contribute both up front and in the back in her freshman year,” Ambrose commented. “She has great experience with her club team that will pay dividends in the next couple of years.”
Eileen Larkin (Troy/Troy, Mich.) will also look to make an impact for the Quakers. A solid outside back, Larkin is a natural lefty that can strike a great ball. She is also very tough and good in the air. She was a member of the Vardar club team that won the state championship. She was also a member of the Region 2 ODP pool and captained the Michigan state team. She chose Penn over Ivy League foe Princeton.
“Eileen is a very good outside defender,” Ambrose said. “She is good with the ball at her feet and has a fantastic left-footed serve. She hopes she will become a major part of our program over her career.”
Joining the Quakers from Gaithersburg, Md. is Molly Weir (Academy of the Holy Cross). Weir is a natural athlete who can play up front or wide in the midfield. She was a member of the RFC club team that won the Virginia State Cup during her senior year. She chose Penn over Boston University, Colgate and Davidson.
“Molly is a great athlete that will cause trouble for our opponents’ defenses,” Ambrose said. “She moves off the ball very well and has a very good sense for the game.”
Rounding out the class of 2009 is Tory Tripp, (Grant/Portland Ore.). She is a strong target forward with a solid work ethic and always gets involved in the game. She was a four-year member of the Oregon ODP state team and played for the club team the Lake Oswego Dfeeters. She chose Penn over Wisconsin.
“Tory is a hardworking forward who offers a different option for us up front. She is a target player who works well with her back to goal,” Ambrose said. “Her attitude is first-class and we expect her to develop a larger role as her career with Penn moves forward.”
The Quakers went 9-6-2 overall and 4-1-1 in the Ivy League during the 2004 campaign and will return six starters and 15 letterwinners to Rhodes Field in September.