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Feb. 3, 2011

Coach Smith on the Class

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s soccer Shelley Smith announced Thursday afternoon the signing of five student-athletes for the program’s 2011 Signing Class. The list includes three defenders, one midfielder and the Canadian U-17 national team starting goalkeeper, filling needs vacated by the four-player graduating class that left South Carolina as the winningest class in program history.

“We’re excited about this class,” South Carolina head coach Shelle Smith said. “The program has done so well the past couple of years and we continue to rpgres. This class we’re excited about b/c we know they’ll help us continue to succeed on the field and grow further. The talent we’ve been able to draw and the interest has been tremendous. This is a select group of players to fill the needs we have the upcoming year.”

The Gamecocks finished the 2010 campaign with a 15-6-4 record, earning the program’s fourth consecutive NCAA bid in the process. Shelley Smith’s team advanced to the SEC Championship game for the second consecutive season, finishing as regular season and tournament runner-up in the league. The team returns eight juniors, four sophomores and nine freshmen along with January newcomer Lani Smith. The Gamecocks graduated a Top Drawer Soccer First Team selection in defender Brittiny Rhoades along with goalkeeper Mollie Patton, who finishes her career ranked No. 2 all-time in the SEC for goals against average and No. 3 all-time for career shutouts. The Gamecocks also graduated three-year starter Brooke Jacobs and Maddie Kill, but return NSCAA All-American and returning SEC Offensive Player of the Year Kayla Grimsley along with All-SEC selections in defender Ellen Fahey and midfielder Danielle Au.


Sabrina D’Angelo
Goalkeeper – Freshman – 5-8
Welland, Ontario (Notre Dame College HS)

PRE-COLLEGE: Three-year member of Canadian U17 and U20 national teams (2008-11) … Five-year member of Ontario Provincial Team (2006-11) … Two-year member of Region Team … Starting keeper for Canada at 2010 U17 World Cup in Trinidad & Tobago … Quarterfinalist at 2008 U17 World Cup in New Zealand … Gold Medalist at 2010 U17 CONCACAF Championships in Costa Rica, including shutout of Team USA to earn a spot at U17 World Cup … Bronze Medalist at 2008 U17 CONCACAF Championships in Trinidad & Tobago … Bronze Medalist at 2006 U16 National All-Stars … Competed in 2010 Four Nations tournament … Played for Welland Soccer Club and Canadian National Development Team.

PERSONAL: Full name is Sabrina D’Angelo … Undecided major … Chose USC over Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio State and Penn State … Born May 11, 1993 … Has an older brother, Derek … Parents are Gerry and Bonnie D’Angelo.

COACH SMITH ON SABRINA: “Sabrina is exciting for us to bring in someone of her caliber. As a freshmen the experience she brings to the program playing on a national stage in her country, we think makes her a tremendous asset to the program. We’re excited to bring her in and work with Mat Cosgriff. We know what he’s been able to do with the goalkeepers in our program. I can’t wait to see what she will do in her four years here.”

Ariane Lukens
Midfielder – Freshman – 5-8
Arvada, Colo. (Ralston Valley)

PRE-COLLEGE: Four-year member of Colorado ODP (2006-09) … Region IV pool (2008) … First Team All-League selection (2008-09) … Second Team All-State (2008-09) … AAA State Champion (2008) … Played for Real Colorado (2007-11) and Girls Soccer Academy (2004-06) club teams … U11 State Champion with Girls Soccer Academy

PERSONAL: Full name is Ariane Monique Lukens … Undecided major … Born June 28, 1993 … Has two sisters and one brother … Sister, Nicole, played soccer at Vanderbilt (2006-09) … Parents are Trent and Marie Lukens.

COACH SMITH ON Ariane: “We have not had players from Colorado so we’re excited to have Arian join us. Her sister played at Vanderbilt in the SEC so she’s familiar with the conference. She’s a tremendous player and can fill a need in the midfield. She’s versatile, very composed and skilled. We’re excited to work with her. I know she’ll come in and do really well for us.”

Christa Neary
Defender – Freshman – 5-7
West Deptford, N.J. (West Deptford HS)

PRE-COLLEGE: TopDrawerSoccer New Jersey Region Top 15 Recruit … A three-star recruit by TopDrawerSoccer … Five-year member of New Jersey ODP State pool (2006-10) … Two-time member of Region I ODP region pool (2006, 2010) … Participated in Region I Interregional (2010) … 2011 Region I trip to Russia … 2008 Super-Y League ODP First Selection national camp … Three-time First Team All-Conference (2007, 2009-10) … Two-time All-South Jersey (2009-10) … NJGSCA Sectional Recognition (2010) … NJGSCA Top 20 South Region (2010) … Played for Penn Fusion (2009-11) and Match Fit Strikers (2005-08) club teams … Club team ranked No. 6 in the nation … USYS Region I Finalist (2010) … 2010 EPYSA State Cup Champion … 2009 Northeast Region Futsal champion with LSTS United … Two-time New Jersey State Cup Champion (2003, 2005) … 2004 Region I Champion with TBAA Renegades.

PERSONAL: Full name is Christa Helen Neary … Majoring in exercise science … Chose USC over Rutgers, Connecticut and George Washington … Born April 7, 1993 … Has an older brother, Andrew, and younger sister, Shannon … Father, Phillip, played soccer at Rutgers … Parents are Phillip and Jacquelyn Neary.

COACH SMITH ON CHRISTA: “The improvements she’s made the last couple of years has been tremendous. Her strength, size and ability to dominate a game gives her a potential to be very good right away and grow. We’re excited about the opportunity to come in right away. She’s been a top player in New Jersey and we know she’ll be someone to watch for in the SEC over the next few years. She’s a natural leader.”

Andie Romness
Defender – Freshman – 5-7
McLean, Va. (McLean HS)

PRE-COLLEGE: Three-time All-District and All-Regoin (2008-10) … First Team All-Met (2009) … Second Team All-Met (2008, 2010) … Team captain and MVP … Played for McLean MPS Dragons club team … 2007 Supery-Y Mid-Atlantic Champions … Three-time state champion (2005, 2007, 2010) … 2010 Region I champions … Ranked No. 1 in the nation in 2009 and 2010 … Also lettered in basketball and cheerleading … Two-time first team All-district in basketball (2009-10).

PERSONAL: Full name is Andrea Elizabeth Romness … Undecided major … Chose USC over Virginia, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Georgia and Princeton … Born November 14, 1992 … Has two brothers and one sister … Brother, David, played lacrosse at Clemson … Mother, Suzanne, played tennis at Loyola Marymount … Parents are Peter and Suzanne Romness.

COACH SMITH ON ANDIE: “To replace such strong players we’ve had in the centerback position, Andie is someone we saw at a really young age. Over the years we’ve seen her, she has shown why she’s played up a level. She’s always been quite a competitor and played at a high level due to her composure and skill level. A lot of the players she played with growing up are in college, so she’s already been pushed at the high school and club level. She has potential in the center of the field either in the back or the center midfield.”

Ali Whitney
Defender – Freshman – 5-10
Downington, Pa. (Downington West HS)

PRE-COLLEGE: TopDrawerSoccer Pennsylvania Region Top 5 Recruit … A four-star recruit by TopDrawerSoccer … All-Area First Team (2009) … All-ChesMont League First Team (2009) … Pennsylvania AAA State Champion in 2009 … Three-time Ches-Mont League champion (2007-09) … Played for Penn Fusion `92 club team … Team captain for club team that is ranked No. 6 nationally … Three-time USYS Region I Finalist (2007-08, 2010) … Four-time EPYSA State Cup champion (2007-10) … Region I Premier League champion in 2009 … Disney Showcase Flight champion (2010) … Also lettered in swimming and was a four-time National YMCA “Top 16 Times” award winner … YMCA Pennsylvania State Champion in the 100 freestyle (2004) and State Runner-Up in the 50 freestyle (2004) … Three-time Ches-Mont champions (2008-10).

PERSONAL: Full name is Alexandra Jean Whitney … Majoring in business … Chose USC over Alabama, Florida, UNC Charlotte, NC State, Pittsburgh and Georgetown … Born May 10, 1993 … Brother, Ian, swam at Boston College … Father, Eli, played lacrosse at Clarkson College … Parents are Eli and Debby Whitney.

COACH SMITH ON ALI: “Ali is a player that has shown improvements the last year. She has the ability to hit the ball so well with her left foot. To find a natural left-footed player is hard to find. She has an advantage over players playing on that side of the field. Losing someone like Brittiny Rhoades who played there for us every minute the past four years, there’s a need on the left side in the back and up top, so we’re excited to see how she’ll give us minutes. She’ll be an asset to us right away and will only get better as she progress through the program.”