COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It's the dawn of a new era for the Tennessee Tech soccer program, as head coach Daniel Brizard has announced the signing of nine recruits for the 2013 season. With the departure of seven seniors, Brizard has brought in a large recruiting class.
Brizard also knew that he had a large group of quality players departing, including six starters from last year's squad. That required more than just a large group of newcomers. It required quality players that could come in and immediately make an impact on the starting lines and in the depth department. That's exactly what Brizard says he got.
"All nine of these kids are part of the face going forward for TTU soccer," explained Brizard. "We're excited to have all of our kids coming here. It's a good step forward. This will be the first year that it's a team that has only played for me and we're all on the same page. I think that that's very important when you're coaching."
Here is a closer look at the Tennessee Tech Soccer Recruiting Class of 2013:
Skyler Brown – D, 5-4, Hendersonville, Tenn. / Hendersonville HS
A three-sport athlete from Hendersonville High School, Brown is the younger sister of former Golden Eagle soccer player Taren Brown. She was a four-year starter for coach Russ Plummer and is one of three rookies to join Tech from her high school this season.
Named the team MVP and Defensive MVP her sophomore and senior years, Brown helped lead her team to three sectional appearances and back-to-back district championships in 2011 and 2012. She earned all-county and all-tournament honors as a sophomore and senior.
She scored six goals and tallied four assists in 2012 on her way to all-state honors. In 2011, she helped the team to a regional championship, just one year after finishing the season with a 11th overall AAA Final State Ranking. Brown recorded 13 goals and 12 assists during her career.
Skyler Ashlyn Brown is the daughter of Tyler and Kathy Brown and sister of Taren Brown and plans to major in elementary education with the goal of becoming an elementary school teacher.
"Skyler is the younger sister of former Tech player Taren Brown, who graduated my first year. We're looking for her to find a role on the back line. We want her to come in and battle for the left back spot. Taylor Hicks is our current left back, but will be a senior, so we'll try to get Skyler some time there or in the center back role. In this first year we'll be looking to feel out where we're going to play her going forward. She's a great kid that's been around soccer for a long time. She plays for TSC (Tennessee Soccer Club) right now. We want her to come in and find her identify and establish her role going forward."
Micki Dye – D, 5-4, Nashville, Tenn. / Christ Presbyterian Academy
A three-year letterwinner from Paige High School and one-year letterwinner from Christ Presbyterian Academy, Dye has had much success throughout her high school career.
In three years at PHS, Dye led her team to an impressive 44-11-3 record, winning three consecutive district and regional championships. In 2009 and 2010, the team also won sectional championships and was an AA State quarterfinalist in 2009 and AA State semifinalist in 2010.
Dye earned all-district honors her freshman and junior seasons as well as all-tournament honors her sophomore and junior years. In 2009 she was named to the THSSCA all-state team. She earned all-mid-state second-team honors as a freshman and junior. In 2011, she was named the team captain and won the "Coaches Award."
As a senior at CPA, Dye helped lead the team to a 20-2-2 record, winning district, regional, and sectional championships on their way to the AA State Championship. She was named the State Tournament Offensive MVP and earned THSSCA all-state honors as well as all-mid-state second team honors.
In four years of high school, Dye was a member of National Honor Society, and National Technical Honor Society. She placed 4th in the state of Tennessee in the 2011 HOSA Bowl and was voted "Most Versatile" in her Nursing Assistant Course. She is also a licensed CNA.
Michaila Claire Dye is the daughter of Bret and Heather Dye and plans to major in nursing with the goal of becoming a nurse anesthetist.
"Micki Dye is from Nashville and currently plays for FC Alliance. We're looking for her to come in and start at right back. She's a very aggressive, attacking right back and that's what we're looking for from our outside backs. She's a solid defender 1 v. 1, but also going forward. She serves the ball well and really has a nose for how the game is played. As long as she doesn't turn around and put it in her own frame, hopefully the position will be hers for the next four years."
Ashlyn Flaherty – MF, 5-6, Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Chagrin Falls HS
A four-year varsity starter at Chagrin Falls High School, Flaherty recorded an incredible 36 goals and 29 assists as a midfielder and forward during her high school career. During her time at CFHS, she helped lead her team to two conference and district championships, as well as two regional final appearances and one championship.
Flaherty was selected All-Greater Cleveland first-team, All-Chagrin Valley Conference first-team, and All-News Herald All-Star first-team three times each. She was also honored twice as an All-Sun News All-Star first-teamer. She earned All-Ohio Academic Team honors as well.
She was a member of the Cleveland Futbol Club (CFC) for four years, including the 2009 and 2010 Ohio North State Cup Championship teams. The club was a member of the USYS MRL Premier League in 2009 and 2010 before being promoted to the USYS National League in 2010-11. Flaherty also earned an Ohio North State Cup Championship in 2008 as a member of the Cleveland Alliance Soccer Academy (CASA).
A participant in the Olympic Development Program, she was a member of the 2009 Ohio North ODP State Team. In 2008, Flaherty earned the US Club National Cup Championship and Dynamo Round Robin Championship as a member of the Cleveland Blues.
A four-year honor roll recipient, Flaherty was also a member of student government and was selected as a member of the Chagrin Falls High School Sports Council.
Ashlyn Nicole Flaherty is the daughter of William and Melissa Flaherty and plans to major in business.
"Ashlyn is another great kid that we're very excited about. She's going to play in the midfield for us. She's good in the air and she's very calm with the ball at her feet. We're looking for her to just add to the midfield and help make a great rotation for us. She can ping a ball, which is always nice. It gives us that versatility of short passes or quality balls over the top. If needed, she can play on the back line. She's versatile from midfield on back and could probably play anywhere on the field if we needed her to. She's a good kid and a really good soccer player too."
Abi Gearing – F, 5-9, Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville HS
A two-sport athlete at Libertyville High School, Gearing played both volleyball and lacrosse while playing year-round club soccer. She was a member of a lacrosse team that finished fourth in state in 2010.
As a member of the Eclipse Select Soccer Club, Gearing played among the nation's best for three years. The team, which ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation and No. 1 in the Midwest Conference, placed fifth in the 2010-11 USYSA National League Blue Division and third in the 2011-12 USYSA National League Red Division. Gearing led the squad in scoring in 2011-12 in the National League and tied for 3rd overall. She was also named team captain for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. The team won two state cup championships and many tournaments in the top level of play.
She has participated on u16, u17, and u18 teams with the Eclipse including ECNL for three years and US Club level for two. In 2009-10, the team took fourth place in the ECNL Nationals. They finished 11th in both 2010-11 and 2011-12 and were Club National Champions in 2010-11.
Gearing is an AP Scholar, Illinois State Scholar, and has made honor roll all four years at LHS. She was a member of National Honor Society and awarded the Prairie State Achievement Award. She is also the president of the Best Buddies International Club and was selected to attend the Northern Suburban Athletic Leadership Conference.
Abigayle Kristin Gearing is the daughter of Jeffrey Ray and Wendi Gearing and plans to major in pre-veterinarian with the goal of becoming a veterinarian.
"Abi plays for Eclipse out of Chicago. We're super excited about her. She's going to come in and hopefully be another Ellie (Iaciofano) for us. Ellie has slowly worked into that big center forward role and Abi can come in and help us out there so that we aren't relying on Ellie so much. Hopefully we can get a good rotation there. Abi is the same kind of mold as Ellie, she's physical and knows the game well. We're looking for her to come in and seamlessly move right into that role and give us some more depth. She's a great kid from a great background. Eclipse is regularly one of the top five teams in the country, so she has a very good competitive background and knows the game. She can play multiple positions, but we're looking for her to come in and play up top and score some goals."
A four-year letter winner for coach Russ Plummer, Hogan comes to Tennessee Tech as one of three rookies from Hendersonville High School. The team participated in three consecutive sectional tournaments from 2010-12.
As a freshman, she was named all-county second-team. The next year she earned honorable mention status. Hogan truly blossomed as a junior and senior, earning several honors and awards.
In 2011, Hogan earned all-state, all-district, and all-tournament honors while being named the team's co-defensive MVP. Her team won both district and regional championships that season.
Her senior campaign was special, as Hogan earned all-district, all-tournament, and all-state honors for the second straight year while also leading her team to a second consecutive district championship. She was also named district MVP for her efforts.
Samantha Christine Hogan is the daughter of Scott and Cindy Hogan and is undecided on a major.
"Sam is what we look to as a utility player. She can play anywhere on the field, minus goal. She's not the biggest of kids, but she plays much bigger than her size would indicate. She's played forward, outside, in the center, which gives us options if something goes wrong during the year and other positions need a little help. We're looking for her to come in and help us wherever necessary right now."
Maddie Karas – F, 5-8, Grover, Mo. / Lafayette HS
A three-sport athlete at Lafayette High School, Karas earned letters in field hockey, track and soccer, while leading her field hockey team to a state championship in 2011. In her only season of soccer at Lafayette HS, she led the team with 16 goals and nine assists.
She was a member of the '95 Region II Olympic Development Program for two years. Karas spent seven years as a center mid and forward of the St. Louis Scott Gallagher 95 Elite ECNL/Premier Team as well as four years participating in the MRL League.
A three-time member of the Renaissance Honor Roll at Lafayette High School, Karas carries a 3.6 GPA while participating in National Honor Society.
Madison Rose Karas is the daughter of Don and Kelly Karas and plans to major in pre-optometry with a goal of becoming an optometrist.
"Maddie comes to us from the St. Louis area. She's an attacking player. She's strong and good on the ball, kind of something that we've been missing. She's not always the prettiest of finishers, but she gets the job done. In soccer, I think that means a lot. She's got a nose for the goal. She's very strong and a powerful type of player who I believe will just add to our attacking prowess and improve us in that aspect. She's a great kid and good student and we're looking for her to come in and make an immediate impact."
Paige Overstreet – G, 5-6, Hendersonville, Tenn. / Hendersonville HS
A three-year starter for the varsity squad at Hendersonville High School and one of three rookies from the school, Overstreet helped lead her team to sectionals all three years as a goalkeeper. In 2010, her squad finished the season ranked 11th in the AAA Final State Rankings. The next year, she led Hendersonville HS to both district and regional championships.
In 2012, Overstreet posted eight shutouts while helping her team to a 16-4-2 record and second straight district championship.
An All-State selection as a junior and senior, Overstreet recorded an incredible 33 shutouts in three years as the team posted a 57-24-7 overall record during that span. She was also named all-district all three seasons as well as all-county Keeper of the Year her junior and senior season. She was honored as the team's defensive MVP her final two seasons and earned all-district tournaments honors as sophomore and senior.
Paige Overstreet is the daughter of Richard and Kelly Nave and is undecided on a major.
"Paige is a goalkeeper from Hendersonville. We're looking to strengthen our goalkeeper core. With Jordan (Brown) and Allison (Barlow) we feel absolutely confident with both of them, but I think adding a third just adds to training. We're looking for her to come in and compete. If she gets the job done, she's going to play. We aren't labeling her or anyone as a back up. We tell that to all of our goalkeepers. She'll help in training so when I need to pull someone off, we still have two to keep training with. I think she's a great kid with strong character."
Tarah Piccirilli – F, 5-8, Davidsonville, Md. / South River HS
A forward at South River High School, Piccirilli played for coach John Sis. She was a member of the u14, u15, and u16 teams of the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL).
Piccirilli played for the Freestate Strikers, a u17 team of the ECNL, that were a Maryland State Cup quarter-finalist in 2011. The following year, she helped lead the same squad to the semi-finals of the Maryland State Cup while earning a second place finish in the Colonial League.
Piccirilli was a four-year honor roll member while at South River High School.
Tarah Michele Piccirilli is the daughter of Vincent and Diane Piccirilli and is undecided on a major.
"Tarah is from Maryland. She's a big kid, standing at 5-8. She can play centrally, either on top or wide. She's a baller, which we hope will add to the excitement we have for her. We're looking for her to slide in seamlessly to our rotation and get the job done, whether it be out wide or centrally. She's strong on the ball and good in the air. She has some speed. We're looking for big things from her."
Emily Williams – D, 5-3, Murfreesboro, Tenn. / Siegel HS
A four-year starter as a center back for Siegel high school, Williams earned several honors while under the tutelage of coach Eric Shelton. During her high school career, she earned Freshman Offensive Player of the Year honors as well as being named all-area first-team and all-district 7AAA first-team.
Williams captained her team to the Tennessee State AAA Finals as a senior. Prior to that, she helped lead SHS to our consecutive district and regional championships as well as the Tennessee State Elite Eight in 2009, 2011 and 2012. The team was also a Region IV Finalist in 2010.
She played eight years of club soccer for the Tennessee Soccer Club (TSC), leading her team to the Division I State Finals in 2011. Her team was part of the Region III Premier League in 2011 and 2012 and was a quarter-finalist both years.
Williams also participated as a member of the Tennessee Olympic Development Program (ODP) Team for four years.
At Siegel High School, she was a member of National Honor Society and Beta Club.
Emily Williams is the daughter of Thomas and Doris Williams and plans to major in pre-physical therapy with the goal of becoming a physical therapist.
"Emily comes to us from Murfreesboro and she currently plays for the TSC (Tennessee Soccer Club) team. We're looking for her to come in and help us at center back. We're looking for her to make an immediate impact. I call her my little bulldog. She's a very tenacious defender. She's smart. She's quick. We're looking for a lot more out of our center backs in the future and she's going to help us get there. She will be paired up with Leigh (Heffner), a senior, so she will have a good role model with experience next to her. We're going to look for Emily to come in and play right away and make an immediate impact."