DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University Women’s Soccer Head Coach Robbie Church announced the addition of seven commitments for the 2011 campaign on Monday, which includes two top 100 and four players ranked regionally by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
“We’re very excited about this class,” commented Church. “This class covers a number of different positions for us -- we have goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and forwards. It is a wonderful group of young ladies and I think they’re going to bring a lot to us here at Duke University, both on and off the field. They’re all very good students as academics are very important to them and they’re going to fall into the tradition of how our team does both in the classroom and on the soccer field.”
Kelly Cobb of Chugiak, Alaska, Katy Colas of Vienna, Va., Audrey Gibson of San Francisco, Calif., Ali Kershner of Palo Alto, Calif., Erin O’Connor of Chapel Hill, N.C., Katie Trees of San Diego, Calif., and Tabria Williford of Boerne, Texas will all attend Duke University in the fall and play soccer.
A player-by-player listing is below: Kelly Cobb 5-9 * Forward * Chugiak, Alaska * Chugiak High School
Prep: A 2009 and 2010 NSCAA Youth All-America selection ... 2010 Parade All-America ... 2009 NSCAA High School All-America ... selected 2010 U-20 National Team Player Pool ... ranked No. 67 in the latest TopDrawerSoccer.com player rankings ... listed as the third-best player in the Pacific Northwest Region by TopDrawerSoccer.com ... member of the 2009 and 2010 U-18 National Team Player Pool ... did not play high school soccer as a junior, instead played club soccer with Crossfire Premier “91” Girls from Redmond, Wash. ... two-time All-Region as a freshman and sophomore ... as a sophomore, posted 36 goals and 14 assists ... led the Cook Inlet Conference in scoring as a freshman and sophomore ... All-State selection as a freshman ... notched 40 goals and eight assists ... 2007 and 2008 Regional IV ODP Team selection ... member of the Alaska ODP team from 2006-08 ... helped lead the Crossfire Premier “91” Girls to a 2010 Washington State Championship ... won the Alaska State Championship in 2009 (CISC Velocity “92” Girls) and 2008 (AYSA ‘92” Girls) ... led her CISC Velocity “93” Girls to the Predator Division Championship at the 2010 Disney College Showcase ... won the Gold Division Championship at the 2008 San Diego Surf Cup XXVIII with the Honolulu Soccer Club Bulls “92” Girls ... lettered one year in tennis.
Personal: Kelly Ann Cobb was born Aug. 26, 1992 in Anchorage, Alaska … daughter of Gardner & Kathy Cobb ... has one sister, Abbey (21) ... father, Gardner, played football at Cincinnati from 1973-78 ... uncle, Glenn, played football at Ohio State from 1978-82 ... uncle, Greg, played football at Otterbein College from 1976-80.
Quoting Church on Cobb: “Kelly Cobb is a very heralded player coming into our program. Physically, she brings us a combination of size and speed. She has very good strength -- being able to hold off defenders. We look at Kelly’s primary position being a forward. Two front or in a three front -- in a three front she could be a center forward. She’s very quick, she accelerates and gets to her maximum high end speed very fast. She’s a goal scorer and she goes to goal. Kelly gets the ball and wants to score goals. She’ll look to combine with people but she’s very good at going to goal, very good at striking balls with both her right and left foot. Kelly’s going to be a fantastic college player and, with the players we can complement and put around her, she’s going have a very good career here at Duke.” Katy Colas 5-8 * Midfielder/Forward * Vienna, Va. * Flint Hill School
Prep: Listed as the sixth-best player in the Mid-Atlantic Region by TopDrawerSoccer.com ... played for the Bethesda Soccer Club in Maryland from 2008-11 ... led Bethesda to 2010 titles at the Maryland State Cup, Region I Premier League and Jefferson Cup Showcase ... in 2009, guided Bethesda to titles at the Disney Soccer Showcase, CASL Showcase, Bethesda Thanksgiving Tournament, Discovery Cup, PDA Showcase and Region I Premier League ... played for the Loudoun Soccer Club from 2005-08 ... 2008 PDA College Showcase champions ... member of the U.S. Youth National Team in 2007 and 2008 as she played in the 2007 Nike Friendlies, 2008 Kicks Against Breast Cancer, while attending the U-14 August Camp and U-15 January Camp ... played for the Region I ODP squad from 2006-08 ... competed in the Boca Inter-Regionals in 2007 and 2008 ... traveled to the Region I Friendlies in 2010 ... played on the Region I team traveling to Costa Rica and Ireland ... Region I ODP Pool from 2006-09 ... competed for the Virginia ‘93 State Team from 2006-09, while helping them to win the Region I ODP Tournament Championship in 2008 and compete in the ODP Nationals in 2009 in Frisco, Texas ... did not play high school soccer ... lettered in track & field in 2009 and 2010, while lettering in cross country as a senior ... placed second in the 800 meters at the state championship in 2010 and was sixth in 2009 ... finished sixth in the 4x400 (2009 and 2010) at the state championship ... school record holder in the 800 (2:22.21) for track & field ... All-ISL runner in cross country ... holds the school record in the 5K (19:50).
Personal: Katy Elizabeth Colas was born on March 18, 1993 in Arlington, Va. ... daughter of Tim & Mary Colas ... has two brothers, Robbie (19) and Ryan (23) ... has one sister, Kelly (21) ... her brother, Ryan, ran track at James Madison from 2006-07 ... her father, Tim, ran track at South Carolina from 1979-83 ... member of the National Latin Honor Society, The Director’s List (Honor Roll), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the Service Club as a ninth, 10th and 11th grader.
Quoting Church on Colas: “Katy is another very versatile player, who brings us good size and athleticism. She’s probably going to be one of the top players in fitness. She likes to go to goal, likes to score goals and likes to play players in. Katy is going to be able to run and beat players off the dribble. She’s got good service off the ball and she has good knowledge off the ball. She’s been well coached on her Bethesda teams. I really see Katy coming in and making a strong impact on our program.”
Audrey Gibson 5-6 * Forward * San Francisco, Calif. * St. Ignatius College Preparatory
Prep: A four-year letterwinner at St. Ignatius College Preparatory ... as a senior, notched 10 goals and eight assists in 18 games ... posted four goals and two assists in 17 games as a junior ... WCAL Junior Player of the Year and WCAL First Team All-League selection ... notched four goals and three assists her junior year, while leading her squad to the WCAL Championship ... tallied three goals and five assists as a freshman ... played for the Cal North State Team from 2006-10 ... traveled to the ODP Regional Championships from 2008-10 ... Region IV 93 Pool from 2006-10 ... played with the Regional Team in 2010 and traveled to Portugal, where she scored three goals and had two assists ... led the Marin FC Club squad to the GSSL Championship in 2008 and 2009.
Personal: Audrey Leigh Gibson was born on Jan. 13, 1993 ... daughter of Paul & Sharon Gibson ... has one sister, Michele (26), and two brothers Garrett (24) and Spencer (19).
Quoting Church on Gibson: “Audrey is kind of a combination player for us as she is a very skillful player. We like the way she plays on and off the ball. We could see her playing both as a wide midfielder and as a forward -- depending on what system we’re playing on those days. She can change in and out depending on what we need in the game. She’s very athletic and runs at players. She’ll be able to provide us with some goals. Audrey is able to slip players in and is very good off the ball. She makes very good, smart, intelligent and hard runs.” Ali Kershner 5-11 * Goalkeeper * Palo Alto, Calif. * Palo Alto H.S.
Prep: 2010 ESPN Rise “Starting 11” Goalkeeper for the West Coast selection ... two-time team captain as a junior and senior ... Junior of the Year selection in 2010 ... first team All-Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) 2010 ... varsity team MVP as her team advanced to the Central Coast Section (CCS) Division I quarterfinals ... second team All-League (SCVAL) as a sophomore and freshman ... varsity team MVP as a sophomore, while her squad advanced to the CCS Division II finals ... CCS Division I quarterfinalists her freshman year ... a four-year letterwinner ... played for the De Anza Force ‘91, which were Cal-North State Cup Champions three years in a row (2008, 2009, 2010) ... Golden State Soccer League Champions in 2009 and 2010 Far West Regional Semifinalists ... ODP Region IV selection in 2008, 2009 and 2010 ... traveled to Portugal with the Region IV team in 2010.
Personal: Alexandra Leigh Kershner was born on Aug. 11, 1993 in Stanford, Calif. ... daughter of Ken & Jane Kershner ... has one brother, Will (15) and one sister Robin (12) ... her father, Ken, graduated from Duke in 1983 ... her mom, Jane, played tennis at Tufts University in 1979-80 ... her aunt, Carol Axmann, played basketball at Seton Hall from 1982-85 ... received California ELC status ... 2009 and 2010 Presidents Award for Outstanding Community Service ... received the Department Award in Mathematics in 2008, 2009 and 2010 ... Rachel Austin (Social Sciences Award) in 2009 ... notched a 4.0 grade-point average all four years of high school ... Tournament Founder and Director of the Palo Alto Lose the Shoes Barefoot Soccer Tournament.
Quoting Church on Kershner: “This will be the first time in our 10 years that we will have four goalkeepers on our roster. She’s a very accomplished goalkeeper. In her youth and high school days she has traveled with the Region IV team, while playing at a very high level with her club team. I think Ali is going to come in and be able to challenge right off the bat for the goalkeeping spot and be able to provide depth in there. I’m excited about Ali joining our program. She brings a lot of things -- she brings a good kicking game, she’s a good shot stopper, she has a really good presence about herself and she really wanted to come to Duke. Duke has been in her blood all her life so we are really excited about Ali joining us.”
Erin O’Connor 5-7 * Midfielder * Chapel Hill, N.C. * Durham Academy
Prep: North Carolina ODP and Region III Pool in 2008 and 2009 ... two-time All-State honoree ... four-time All-Conference and three-time All-Region selection ... co-captain in 2011 ... four-year letterwinner ... started 65 of 67 games since eighth grade, while leading her high school squad to a 50-14-3 overall record ... her squad won two TISAC Championships in 2007 and 2010, while she scored 20 goals ... has yet to finish her senior campaign ... guided her team to the state semifinal and finals from 2005-09 ... her 92 Triangle United Gold squad were State Semifinalists in 2008, 2009 and 2010 ... her club team has been ranked one of the top three teams in North Carolina between 2006-09 ... led her squad to the Next Level Academy Indoor Regional Championship and National Championship in 2005 ... CASL Elite State Cup Champions in 2004 ... a three-time All-State and All-Conference selection and finished fourth in the state in 2006 in cross country ... was a teammate of Duke freshman Mollie Pathman and senior Kendall Bradley at Durham Academy.
Personal: Erin Morgan O’Connor was born on Sept. 21, 1992 ... daughter of Drs. Christopher O’Connor & Sue Frederick ... has three brothers -- Ryan (21), Sean (15) and Kyle (12) ... brother, Ryan, is a junior at Duke .... father, Christopher, completed internal medicine and cardiology training from 1983-89 at Duke, has been on faculty at the Duke School of Medicine since 1989 and is currently the director of the Duke Heart Center ... mother, Sue, graduated from Duke in 1977, while graduating from Duke Pre-Med in 1979, Duke Medical School in 1983 and Duke Residency in 1986 ... cousin, Mike Cisco, plays professional baseball in the Philadelphia Phillies organization ... cousin, Drew Cisco, plays professional baseball in the Cincinnati Reds organization ... Class Secretary as a freshman and junior ... Student Ambassador as a freshman, sophomore and junior ... writes poetry as a hobby and was published in a literary magazine ... plans to pursue a career in medicine.
Quoting Church on O’Connor: “Erin will add depth to our program. She’s a central midfielder from Durham. She’s had a very good high school and club career. She’s a very technical player. Erin plays out of tight spaces, can beat you on the dribble, can run at you and score goals. We think Erin’s best soccer is ahead of her and she will continue to get better and better. We’re excited to have her in our program.”
Katie Trees 5-9 * Forward/Midfielder * San Diego, Calif. * Torrey Pines High School
Prep: Ranked No. 97 in the latest TopDrawerSoccer.com player rankings ... listed as the 19th best player in the Southern California region by TopDrawerSoccer.com ... three-time letterwinner and varsity starter ... as a senior, leads her Torrey Pines H.S. team and the Palomar League with 16 goals and 12 assists ... 2010 Torrey Pines H.S. Offensive Player of the Year ... San Diego Union Tribune and North County Times Athlete of the Week for the week of Jan. 12, 2011 ... her junior year, notched 14 goals and eight assists ... 2010 San Diego Union Tribune All-Academic Soccer Team ... 2009 and 2010 Avocado League Champion and Individual Honorable Mention selection ... Torrey Pines High School Scholar-Athlete in 2009 and 2010 ... as a sophomore, tallied 11 goals and 13 assists ... San Diego Union Tribune and North County Times Athlete of the Week on Feb. 3, 2009 and Feb. 10, 2009, respectively ... played for the San Diego Surf Soccer White Teams for 10 years ... tallied three goals and three assists leading the Surf White team to a first place ranking in the Elite Clubs National League for 2010-11 ... scored two goals and had three assists leading her squad to the 2010 Slammers Tournament Championship ... notched three goals and one assist, guiding her team to the 2009 Far West Regional League Fall Championship ... 2006 San Diego Surf Soccer Club - Youngers -- MVP ... a four-year standout in lacrosse playing the center and attack positions ... expected to play lacrosse at Duke as well as soccer ... notched 53 goals and 22 assists in 2010 as a junior, while posting 45 goals and 20 assists as a sophomore in lacrosse ... KBCSports.com Player of the Game for the 2010 CIF Sectional Championship, which was the first ever CIF title for Torrey Pines girls’ lacrosse ... All-Section CIF Second Team selection in 2010 ... as a freshman, registered 50 goals and 13 assists ... three-time All-League CIF Second Team selection ... California Youth Lacrosse Attack Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007.
Personal: Katherine Marie Trees was born on August 6, 1992 in San Diego County, Calif. ... daughter of Carl & Le Ann Trees ... has one brother, Andrew (23), and one sister, Rebecca (19) ... member of the National Honor Society in 2010-11 ... received the 2008 Falcon Award for overall excellence by her school ... two-time president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes ... is a 12-year classical pianist.
Quoting Church on Trees: “Katie Trees is an outstanding athlete. Her biggest asset is her competitiveness. Everybody that had coached her has talked about how she is the most competitive athlete they have ever had. She will battle and fight every time she steps on the field and every time she puts on the jersey. She plays as hard as she possibly can. She’s another goal scorer -- she’s been an accomplished goal scorer in her club league and her high school league. We’ll play her up front or we can play her in the midfield. She’s another versatile player that we like to have in our program. She’s a wonderful young lady and great competitor, while having a great, great will to win.”
Tabria Williford 5-6 * Defender * Boerne, Texas * Samuel V. Champion
Prep: Listed as the 14th best player in the Texas Region by TopDrawerSoccer.com ... ODP Regional Team selection from 2007-10 ... as a junior, notched 16 goals and 12 assists ... named Second Team All-District ... selected to the State All-Tournament team and East Central Tournament MVP ... notched 40 goals and 20 assists as a sophomore ... First Team All-District and All-State selection ... Co-Offensive MVP ... named to the All-San Antonio Area Soccer Team as a freshman ... Co-Offensive MVP ... traveled to Sweden and Denmark for the 2009 Region III ODP Internationals ... also traveled to Portugal and Costa Rico with the ODP squad, while attending three ODP inter-regional events ... played for the Lonestar Soccer Club out of Austin, Texas.
Personal: Tabria Shaniece Williford was born on June 27, 1993 in Kusel, Germany ... daughter of Thomas Williford and Shawna Williams ... a 2010-11 National Honor Society member.
Quoting Church on Williford: “One of our needs from the defensive standpoint is athleticism, the ability to attack and go forward as an outside back -- Tabria brings both of that to us. She’s a very athletic player. She’ll be able to mark some of the fast and quick forwards we see around the country and keep up with them pace wise. She’s worked very hard on her technical skills over the past couple of years and those will continue to improve. She’s fearless in the air, she’s good in the air and she’s good on the tackle. We’re very excited about the athleticism that Tabria brings to our program.”
Along with this seven-member recruiting class, the Blue Devils return all 11 starters from a year ago and a total of 17 letterwinners. Duke welcomes back its top eight scorer’s, including rising sophomores Laura Weinberg (10 goals), Mollie Pathman (8 goals) and Kaitlyn Kerr (13 points). Other starters returning are Molly Lester, Nicole Lipp, Maddy Haller, Ashley Rape, Erin Koballa, Libby Jandl, Gilda Doria and goalkeeper Tara Campbell.
“Very excited about the 2011 campaign,” said Church. “There is no question about it. One of the excitements in our short period leading up to it is we’ve been back about three weeks and we’ve been starting our eight hours a week with our kids being very excited. I think our student-athletes feel like there could be something really special next year and to see their excitement, they’re not resting on their past laurels. They are working extremely hard in the weight room at this point. They are working very hard with coach [Jeff] Howser on speed and agility and they are working extremely hard when we play as well. With that combination I think it’s going to be an exciting year. We’ve got the ability to compete with anybody in the country and we’ve got depth up front like we’ve not had in the past. It’s going to be a very competitive year. It’s going to be competitive to get on our field in the fall and I think everybody realizes that. I know everybody around here is working hard and speaking to our incoming class -- I know they are working hard and are excited. There’s just excitement in the air for our 2011 season.”
The remaining six letterwinners coming back in 2011 are Callie Simpkins, Chelsea Canepa, Avery Rape, Alex Straton, Kim DeCesare and Emily Nahas. Molly Mack and Katie Walter were injured a year ago and are returning, while goalkeeper Meghan Thomas redshirted in 2010 and will see her first action as a Blue Devil. The group of six combined to register nine goals and five assists a year ago.