Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

HUNTINGTON, WV - The Marshall University women's soccer team welcomed 11 players to the squad this week, as the Thundering Herd capitalized on an important class of incoming freshmen.

For Marshall, improvement has been a keyword this offseason as the team looks to upgrade from its 2011 record of 4-12-3. Factor in the departures of seniors Angela DeSumma, Freya Holdaway, Katie Ball, and Megan Tabler, and those troubles increase as a total of nine goals, four assists, and four shutouts from last season disappears.

Thus, bringing in a group of girls who could both reinforce the squad and elevate the current team to a higher level was of utmost importance to Head Coach Kevin Long and his coaching staff this offseason, and following a week that saw 11 highly-rated players welcomed into the Thundering Herd program, things are once again looking-up for the Marshall women's soccer team.

"We're bringing in a class of 11 players that covers all areas of the field except goalkeeper," said Long.

"We're pretty pleased with the balance and depth they bring, and every single one of them is a dynamic player. They will force our team to play at a higher level, and will be challenging right away for a starting position. We're excited to see what the next stage of Marshall soccer looks like with these new players."
Here are the 2012 commitments:

Gabriela "Gabby" Dyer - Falls Church, Va. - 5'3'' - MF/F

Gabby Dyer will arrive at Marshall next season having spent four successful years at Trinity Christian School in Falls Church, Va. Dyer lettered in cross country and soccer while at Trinity, claiming awards and honors in both sports. On the pitch, though, was where Dyer truly stood out, as she served as team captain in her junior and senior years at TCS and was MVP for the team in 2010. She plans to major in forensic chemistry.

Kelly Culicerto - Charlotte, N.C. - 5'8'' - MF/F

Kelly Culicerto will jump onboard the Thundering Herd ship next fall following four successful years at Butler High School in Charlotte, N.C. Following in the footsteps of parents and two siblings who have also attended Marshall, Culicerto will bring All-Conference, All-Region, and All-State experience to the Herd team. A member of the National Honor Society and a 4.0 high school student, Culicerto plans to major in business.

Alexis "Lexi" McEntire - Springfield, Va. - 5'8'' – D

Lexi McEntire hails from Springfield, Va., and will graduate from West Springfield High School this May having spent four successful years on the school's soccer, track, and cross country teams. McEntire also found success on her club team, winning the 2011 Virginia State Cup Championship this past year. The versatile McEntire hopes to contribute to the team in any way possible, and is currently undecided on a major.

Brittany Entz - Glen Allen, Va. - 5'6'' – MF

Brittany Entz is a Glen Allen, Va., native who currently attends Deep Run High School. A threat in the attack on the soccer field, Entz is a 3-time All-District and All-Region selection, and a 2-time All-State and All-Metro Team member. She has also impressed in the classroom, earning a place on the All-Academic Team for three years running. Entz will look to apply both her classroom and on-the-field knowledge when she arrives at Marshall next fall. She is currently undecided on a major.

Jenna Dubs - Green Lane, Pa. - 5'6'' – MF

Jenna Dubs is a Boyertown Area Senior High attendee who will arrive at Marshall this coming fall in hopes of bolstering a Herd defense that graduated a starting center-back and allowed 31 goals last season. Dubs has a solid soccer pedigree, appearing in four Pioneer Conference finals while winning two of them. She was a First Team All-Conference Defender in 2009, and in 2011 earned First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Area, and Pennsylvania All-State honors. A member of the National Honor Society and holder of a 4.3 high school GPA, Dubs plans to major in biology.

Erin Simmons - Gahanna, Ohio - 5'6'' – F

Erin Simmons will enter Marshall next fall after graduating from Columbus Academy this spring. The Gahanna, Ohio, native has attended Columbus since kindergarten, and has made a name for herself on the Ohio soccer scene over the years. Simmons led the state of Ohio in scoring with 39 goals in 2011, that following a 2010 season in which she scored 32. She also tallied a combined 46 assists in those two seasons as she earned All-Mid-State, Player of the Year, First Team All-Central District, and First Team All-Ohio honors. In 2011, she was also the recipient of the prestigious NSCAA High School All-American reward. As of now she is undecided on a major.

Kelly Moran - Hatfield, Pa. - 5'8'' – D

Kelly Moran will arrive from Hatfield, Pa., where she played soccer and attended school at Mount Saint Joseph's Academy. In her time at Mount Saint Joseph's, Kelly has earned Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and AACA All-Star honors from 2008-2011. Last year, her team was semifinalists in the Pennsylvania State Tournament. Kelly plans to major in business.

Marissa Lombard - Orchard Park, N.Y. - 5'3'' – D

Marissa Lombard will join the Thundering Herd next season hoping to build upon a successful high school and club soccer career. While a student at Hamburg High, Lombard made the Honor Roll and earned recognition as a Scholar Athlete while captaining Hamburg from the center midfield position. She was a 3-time All-Star for her high school, and won the New York West State Cup Championship with her club - Buffalo Soccer Academy - in 2010 and 2011 while playing outside back. Marissa plans to major in graphic design.

Hana Henderson - Nicholasville, Ky. - 5'7'' – MF

Hana Henderson, who is preparing to graduate from West Jessamine High School in Nicholasville, Ky., will arrive at Marshall in the fall looking to continue her successful soccer career at the collegiate level. Henderson was a state semifinalist at Jessamine, where she scored 17 goals in her senior season en-route to All-District, All-Region, and All-State honors. A member of the National Honor Society with a 4.36 GPA, she plans to major in veterinarian science upon her arrival at Marshall.

Taylor Fleming - Southbury, Conn. - 5'10'' - D/MF

All-Conference, All-Division, and Division Champion are just some of the accolades that have been bestowed upon Taylor Fleming, a four year starter and senior captain for the girl's soccer team at Pomperaug High School. Taylor has also found success at the club level, where she helped guide her team to a Connecticut State Cup semifinal appearance and a Jefferson Cup Championship in 2011. She is currently undecided on a major.

Lia Foster - Keswick, Ontario - 5'7'' – D

An attendee of Keswick High School in Ontario, Canada, Lia has an accomplished resume of soccer-related accomplishments that stems largely from her involvement at the club level. Playing for the Ajax United Magic, Lia won three Ontarian tournaments and finished second in the Canadian National Club Championship back in 2009. She is yet to decide on a major, but is looking forward to immersing herself in what she describes as the "ideal college atmosphere" next fall.

2012 Signing Day Photo Gallery<http://www.herdzone.com/view.gal?id=112108&startYear=2011>