Waves Women's Soccer Welcomes Six NLI Signees for the 2012 Season
March 5, 2012
MALIBU, Calif.- The Pepperdine women's soccer team signed six to National Letters of Intent for the 2012 season. The class includes Rylee Baisden, Kelsey Blosser, Allyn Brown, Mandy Davis, Erinn Middo and Taylor Vargo. This group will joins the highly successful Waves program, which features a 2011 team that won a share of the West Coast Conference title for the first time since 2002, made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005, as they finished the season 15-2-4 overall, 7-1-0 in conference play.
On this year's class, head coach Tim Ward, entering his 15th season, stated, "We are incredibly excited about this 2012 recruiting class. Most of these women are playing for some of the best club teams in the country and are proven winners at the highest level. All of them bring something incredibly unique to the table that we feel as a staff we were in need of. We think this group has the ability to come in and compete for minutes right away and we feel blessed by their respective decisions to come and play for the Pepperdine Waves soccer program."
Baisden is a forward/midfielder from Yorba Linda, Calif. She comes to Pepperdine from Esperanza High School, where she was a teammate of current Wave Katie Gallanes. Baisden is a three-year letterwinner at Esperanza, leading the team to an undefeated season and a CIF Division I Championship in 2010. She is a two-time All-Sunset League first teamer, First Team All-Orange County and First Team All-CIF. She has been recognized as an ESPN Rise top California player and was an all-academic selection last season with a 3.83 GPA. She has played club for JUSA Select/Chelsea SC and, most recently, Legends FC, a team that won the 2010 Cal South National Cup. She is also a Cal South ODP member.
On Baisden, Ward said, "We believe great things await this young lady in the future for the Pepperdine program. She has an uncanny knack for being amongst the goals, whether creating them from the flank or scoring them from the run of play. Quick and explosive, Rylee becomes another exciting addition to the Waves offensive arsenal. Along with fellow Wave recruit Allyn, Rylee plays on a Legends FC team that has consistently been one of the best in the country in their age group. Her big game experience and her versatility make her a very important asset to our 2012 recruiting class and we are thrilled that Rylee chose to spend the next four years in Malibu."
Also joining the Waves is central midfielder Kelsey Blosser, out of Thousand Oaks, Calif. She was a four-year letterwinner and starter at Oaks Christian High School. As a junior she was All-CIF first team, Tri Valley League Defensive MVP and Tri Valley League first team en route to leading the team to CIF and State championships. Blosser has also played club for West Coast FC and the Camarillo Eagles. She has been a Surf Cup champion and a National Cup semifinalist.
Coach Ward said, "We are excited about the arrival of Kelsey Blosser for a number of reasons. First, she continues the tradition of Eagles SC in our program. In Kelsey, we also see a player that brings very unique strengths to the table in terms of her soccer playing. She is a wonderful ball winner in terms of air balls, she is a fearless tackler in midfield, she reads the game well and she is quality in terms of her ability to deliver passes at the right time, with the right weight. She also brings a wonderful competitive mentality having been a league, CIF and state champion in one of the most amazing high school soccer seasons ever in 2011 at Oaks Christian. We're excited to be a part of her growth as a player and know that great things are in store for her and our program."
Brown, a central midfielder, hails from Lake Arrowhead, Calif., Rim of the World High School. She is a four-time all-league selection, three-time team MVP, three-time All-CIF selection and a scholar athlete. She comes to Malibu after playing club for the FC Legends, along with recruit Rylee Baisden. Together they won the 2010 Cal South National Cup and were finalists at the 2011 Surf Cup.
"Allyn was the first 2012 to commit to us, and we are so pleased that she chose to be a Wave," Ward said. "First and foremost, Allyn is a winner and a very elegant central midfielder. This young lady has many amazing qualities, but one that impressed us greatly is her commitment to the sport as she has to drive quite a ways just to reach her club's training site. She lives up on the mountain tops of San Bernardino and she found a way to put herself on one of the best club teams in the country (Legends FC) through a profound commitment to excellence. It's this commitment, along with a high soccer IQ that makes us very excited about Ally's addition to the Waves family."
Davis hails from Northern California's Danville, Calif. At San Ramon Valley High School, Davis has starred in two sports, as she is also the school's starting varsity point guard in basketball. On the soccer field, she has a multitude of accolades, including being named to the EBAL first team, 2010 ESPN Rise Top Players list and is successful in the classroom as well, as she is a four-time North Coast Section CIF Scholar Athlete. She plays club for the Mustangs, where she helped her team to the 2009, 2010 and 2011 ECNL National Championship, winning the title in 2010. Davis and her team have also won five State Cup championships. She was also invited to the 2010 Region IV ODP Invitational Camp.
"Mandy comes to us from the ECNL National champions Mustang Soccer Club in Northern California," Ward explained. "We love the fact that she will be able to step right into the program and be comfortable in terms of the physicality of the collegiate game. Mandy might be one of the strongest (and tallest at 5'11") girls we have ever recruited. Combine that with the fact that she is a wonderful central defender, has an insatiable appetite for the game, has succeeded at the highest level nationally and is just flat out a great young lady, we believe she has a very bright future in the Waves soccer family."
Middo hails from Redondo Beach, Calif.'s Redondo Union High School. The only goalkeeper in the recruiting class, Middo will add much needed depth in that position for the Waves. She is a four-year starting varsity goalkeeper at Redondo Union, a four-year scholar athlete and a 2011-12 co-captain. She plays club for the PVSC Exiles, coached by UCLA great Traci Arkenberg. After her junior year, she also joined AJAX America women in the WPSL as the starting goalkeeper during their 2011 season.
"We are really blessed to have Erinn coming into the squad next year," coach Ward said. "We were told about Erinn's ability through a friend, her coach Traci Arkenberg, and after evaluating her, really liked what we saw in terms of natural ability, determination and upside. She is a courageous goalkeeper and has a year to work with next year's senior goalkeeper Roxy Barker, who we feel is one of the best in the country right now. On top of that, Erinn sought out other playing opportunities to grow her game and found one with one of the best women's teams in Southern California, the women's AJAX team. It's for these reasons and more that we feel she possesses all the right character qualities that we look for in a Pepperdine Wave. She's a winner, she's a fierce teammate, a worker, and she has wonderful integrity. We are really excited to watch her grow for us in the years to come."
Rounding out the class for the Waves is attacking midfielder Vargo out of Los Alamitos, Calif. As a sophomore at Los Alamitos High School, Vargo was named first team All-Empire league and was the team MVP after scoring 10 goals and adding eight assists. As a junior she was named to the second team. She played club for Legends Breakaway and she has also been invited to ODP camp.
On Vargo, Ward expounded, "We're super excited about the arrival of Taylor Vargo. Undoubtedly, Taylor brings a sort of `flair' with her to Malibu in terms of what she is capable of doing with a soccer ball. From the first time we saw her, we realized that Taylor has an attacking ability and vision that most girls do not possess. Combine that with excellent technical abilities and a high soccer IQ, we feel that Taylor will make an immediate impact for the Waves program in the fall somewhere in the front third of the field. She also comes to us from one of the most unique and successful soccer clubs in Southern California (Legends Breakaway), a team that has won a Southern California state championship and consistently succeeds at the best tournaments in the country. A hardworking and outgoing girl, we are really excited to see what Taylor will do over the course of the next four years at Pepperdine!"