HPU women’s soccer announces 2016 recruiting class

HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point University women’s soccer coach Marty Beall announced the addition of eight players for the 2016 season on Wednesday. The 2016 recruiting class is comprised of one goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders and one forward.

Brie Deel (Ashburn, Va.), Alex Denny (Davidson, N.C.), Liz Dognazzi (Hyde Park, Mass.), Maggie Gruber (Hampstead, Md.), Ashlyn Kearney (Thornton, Pa.), Talia Klimes (University Park, Md.), Kyle Levesque (Encinitas, Calif.) and Allie Reagan (Kernersville, N.C.) will enroll at High Point in the fall and join the Panthers for the upcoming season.

“This is another excellent class that will help our program in every aspect this fall,” Beall said. “We have added top level players at every single position. These eight players possess all the qualities that we look for in recruits. They are athletic, hard working, talented players who are also amazing people. I am so excited to get them here with our returners because I think they are going to blend in perfectly with our family atmosphere.”

Brie Deel is a central defender from Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, Va. She is a four-year letter winner who was named first-team All-Region, first-team All-State and honorable mention All-Metropolitan Area following her junior season. The defender is a three-time All-Conference selection who helped her team reach back-to-back State Championship games in 2014 and 2015. Deel plays club soccer with VSA Heat United.

“I chose High Point because ever since I visited during my freshman year, it’s been my dream school,” Deel said. “When I went on my official visit I loved the coaches and the players. I felt right at home. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to play at the next level at such a great school.”

Alex Denny is a forward from W.A. Hough High School in Davidson, N.C. She is a three-year letter winner who has a combined 45 goals and 26 assists over her past two seasons. The forward is a three-time All-Conference selection, a two-time All-Region selection and a member of the 2015 North Carolina 4A All-State team. As a sophomore in 2014, Denny was a part of a team that claimed the North Carolina 4A State title and was ranked first in the NHSSCA ESPN Fab 50. She plays club soccer with the Carolina Rapids. She has helped lead the Rapids to four-straight regional appearances and four State Cup Championships.

“I chose High Point University because it offers a competitive environment on the field and in the classroom,” Denny said. “Not only will I grow as a soccer player, but High Point University will allow me to develop as a person and further my talents to the next level. After visiting the campus, it is apparent to me how this institution is delivering extraordinary results by developing extraordinary people.”

Liz Dognazzi is a central midfielder Tabor Academy in Hyde Park, Mass. She is a five-year letter winner who was twice named among the top-10 Prep Girls Players to Watch by the New England Soccer Journal. The midfielder helped guide the team to two NEPSAC Class B Championship appearances, winning in 2013 as a sophomore. Dognazzi plays her club soccer with FC Boston ECNL and helped the team qualify for the Elite Club National Lague Playoffs in three-straight seasons from 2013-15.

“High Point University offers strong athletics with an emphasis on a bright future behind a great education,” Dognazzi said. “A beautiful campus, friendly atmosphere and the success of the High Point women’s soccer program on the field and in the classroom were big draws for me. Coaches Beall, Fontaine, and Grant have created a supportive team atmosphere, a competitive soccer program and a family which I believe will challenge me to be a better student, soccer player, teammate and person.”

Maggie Gruber is a central midfielder from Gerstell Academy in Hampstead Md. She was a 2015 All-County selection and a two-time first-team All-NMSL Conference pick. Gruber plays her club soccer with SAC Showcase Premier. The team won both the MSSL Winter Showcase and the Discovery Cup Championships in 2015.

“I chose High Point because the minute I stepped on campus I knew that this is where I belonged,” Gruber said. “I was amazed by not only the stunning campus but the vast resources. I know that at High Point I will be pushed to grow and improve to be the best athlete, student, and person I can be.”

Ashlyn Kearney is a central midfielder from Bayard Rustin High School in Thornton, Pa. She was named the Ches-Mont League American Division Player of the Year as a senior in 2015, was a PSCA first-team All-State selection and a two-time All-Area selection. Kearney helped guide her prep team to back-to-back league championships and four-straight division championships. Kearney plays her club soccer with the Penn Fusion Soccer Academy. She is also a two-time attendee at the USYS ODP National Training Camp and a three-year member of the USYS ODP Region 1 team.

“I chose High Point as I was immediately drawn in by a unique opportunity to be part of something special,” Kearney said. “Along with High Point’s unique educational environment and beautiful campus, the opportunity to play for a top-level team with amazing coaches really sealed the deal for me. I can’t wait to contribute to the team’s continued success and be a part of an incredible family.”

Talia Klimes is a goalkeeper from Sandy Spring Friends School in University Park, Md. She ranked in the Washington Post All-Met Top 50 in saves as both a junior and senior. She plays club soccer with the Bethesda Soccer club and is a three-year member of the Maryland State ODP team.

“I chose HPU because the coaching staff is amazing and really pushes for the players to reach their potential in all parts of their lives,” Klimes said. “When I visited, the girls as well as the coaching staff made me feel like part of the family right away. The work ethic of the team and support from the coaches was something that really impressed me about the program. Along with the athletics, the academics at HPU are outstanding and High Point has really interesting classes and majors. The opportunities High Point has for experiential learning were also an important factor in my decision to attend HPU.”

Kyle Levesque is an outside back from Pacific Ridge High School in Encinitas, Calif. She was a three-year All-Conference selection before not playing for her prep team as a senior. Levesque plays club soccer with Carlsbad Elite. She helped guide the team to three-straight USYS National League Championships from 2013-15 making them the first team to claim three National League titles.

“I chose High Point University because you must be an amazing person before anything else and I can not wait to be in a competitive atmosphere with that as a priority,” Levesque said. “I know I will be able to thrive in an environment with such a strong support system surrounding me, and I have found that with the HPU women’s soccer team. ”

Allie Reagan is a center back from East Forsyth High School in Kernersville, N.C. She was an All-State selection in 2015, a two-time All-Region pick and a two-time All-Conference selection. The center back helped guide her team to a State Cup Final Four Appearance in 2015 and a finals appearance in 2013. Reagan plays club soccer with Piedmont Triad Futbol Club.

“I choose High Point University because it is a perfect fit for me,” Reagan said. “The campus is beautiful and the people are always so nice. I can’t wait to be a part of the soccer team and the family that comes with it.”

High Point returns eight starters from its 2015 squad that finished with a 12-5-4 overall record, matching the program’s Div. I record for most wins in a season. Among the returners are Big South Defensive Player of the Year Alex Persiani and All-Conference selections Kelsey Perrell and Becca Rolfe.