National Signing Day: Women’s soccer adds trio

By Steve Shonder

Women’s soccer signed three players to the 2015 squad, head coach John Ross said Wednesday at the Convocation Center.

The Huskies’ newest additions are Taylor Sarver, a forward from Rockford, Kate Sanfilippo, a midfielder from Florissant, Mo., and MacKenzie Lee, a goalkeeper from Aurora. While this incoming class is nowhere near the size of last year’s incoming class of 11, Ross said the players are going to fill major needs.

“This is a small class, but this class packs a lot of punch,” Ross said. “With soccer, it’s about scoring goals and not giving up goals, and that’s what we’ve addressed this year.”

Sarver and Sanfilippo are expected to add some much-needed firepower to an inconsistent attack that finished seventh in the MAC in goals scored with 21.

“They have the ability to score goals at any level,” Ross said. “They’re scoring goals at high school level, at club level, and their clubs are playing at high levels. Every time I go watch those two they’re scoring two, three goals a game. They have a knack. You give them two opportunities and one of them is in the back of the net, and they’re able to create those opportunities for themself and others.”

As a prolific goal-scorer at the club and high school level, Sarver should give the Huskies a needed edge on breakaway chances, based on her speed.

Sanfilippo, who also had great success scoring, can play a number of positions and is just as effective at creating chances for teammates as she is at converting on them.

Lee adds to NIU’s goalkeeping depth behind likely starter Amy Annala and backup Julia Poladian.

“She’s a great goalkeeper, great hands,” Ross said. “She’s fearless. She’s unbelievable on breakaways, and that’s about sacrificing your body, getting your body in front of the ball. She does a great job with that.”

Ross said he expects Lee to push Annala for the starting job.