La Salle University women’s soccer team unveils 7-player recruiting class
PHILADELPHIA – La Salle University head women’s soccer coach Paul Royal has announced the addition of seven student-athletes in his 2020 recruiting class. All seven newcomers are local products out of Pennsylvania and New Jersey with a range in positions.
“We are very excited and pleased to announce what we believe will be another outstanding incoming class. We feel very confident that this group has the potential to further impact our program back to our championship ways from the 2011-2014 era,” Royal said. “A lot of credit goes out to our assistant coaches, Courtney Niemiec and Matt Brooks (as well former coach, Jamie Scott) for securing this high-level group of players and more importantly, people. Their strong character and fierce competitive edge will immediately improve our already gifted group of returning players this fall. When you bring in a class that’s as well balanced and versatile as this, you know it has the potential to be something very special. This unique blend of players has proven time and time again what it takes to be successful in the biggest moments in the biggest games. Their selfless qualities of playing in whatever roll their team needed them has been demonstrated by winning championships at every level they’ve played at. We feel this group will help compliment an outstanding senior class that has a lot of pieces in place to make their legacy something special in 2020.”
Giovanna Castorina | Sewell, N.J. | Washington Township High School | Forward/Midfield
Castorina comes to La Salle from Washington Township High School and SJEB Rush. The 5-1 forward/midfielder collected 32 goals and 27 assists during her high school days, captaining the Minutemaids during her senior campaign. For her efforts, she was also named First Team All-Olympic Conference during her final season.
On the club circuit, Castorina was a vital piece in helping SJEB Rush 02 Blue to her club’s first-ever United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) National Championship at U-16. She also helped guide them to back-to-back National League Championship titles in 2018 and 2019, after claiming the NJ State Cup in both seasons.
“I chose La Salle because from the beginning, I felt this could be my home away from home,” Castorina said. “I loved the atmosphere of the team, how coach Paul represents this program, and the welcoming personalities of all the girls. This team shares my values not just as a player, but also as a person.”
Caitlin Donovan | Paoli, Pa. | Conestoga High School | Forward/Midfield
Donovan has a resume that speaks for itself. The two-time United Soccer Coaches All-America and All-East Region selection (2018 & 2019), dominated the high schools ranks for the Pioneers. Donovan was selected to play in the United Soccer Coaches All-American game in 2019. Her play garnered PIAA All-State selections as a junior & senior, and Pennsylvania State Player of the Year nod to conclude her career. The leagues’ Co-MVP this past season led Chester County with 33 goals last fall and scored the game-winning goal in double-digit games for the Pioneers, who won their third straight Central League girls soccer title and advanced to the PIAA Class 4A title game. It was the fourth straight year Donovan was the Pioneers’ leading scorer, and she finished with 82 career goals. Academically, Donovan will be joining the Business Scholars Co-Op Program in the La Salle School of Business.
Outside of high school, Donovan played for 1776 United FC and aided the club to a USYSA Region 1 Championship in 2019, as well as the club’s fourth-straight Eastern Pennsylvania State Cup. She also claimed the US Youth National League EDP Mid Atlantic Conference title in 2019.
“I chose La Salle because the girls were very welcoming and made me feel like a part of their family right away,” Donovan said. “I think La Salle will be a great environment for me to improve as both a soccer player and person.”
Alyssa Gargiulo | Glendora, N.J. | Triton Regional High School | Midfield
Gargiulo is joining the Blue & Gold after a four-year career at Trinity Regional High School. The midfielder captained the Mustangs during her senior campaign. She put together Tri-County First Team All-Conference seasons in her final three seasons, culminating in a Tri-County Conference Girls Soccer Player of the Year as a senior.
Along with classmate Giovanna Castorina, she was instrumental in guiding SJEB Rush 02 Blue to claiming the USYSA National Championship in 2018. She also won the New Jersey State Cup title in 2018 and 2019 and won back-to-back National League Championship titles in 2018 and 2019.
“I chose La Salle because the program felt like a family,” Gargiulo said. “I loved the coaching staff and what they were all about and how they coached.”
Courtney Gaston | Galloway, N.J. | Absegami High School | Defense
Gaston adds depth to a La Salle defense, which lost a few weapons due to graduation. The Cape-Atlantic League 2019 Defender of the Year was a four-year letterwinner and Cape-Atlantic League All-Conference selection in each of her seasons at Absegami High School. Gaston also earned Atlantic City Press Honorable mention in 2018 and Second Team during her senior season. The Galloway, N.J. native garnered All-South Jersey recognition during her last three seasons for the Braves.
Gaston captained both at Absegami and for her club team, PDA Shore Wave. With the club, she was named to the New Jersey ODP Team on two different occasions and to the Region 1 ODP Team in 2016. She was also selected to participate at the ODP National Team Camp in Arizona.
“I chose La Salle because of the amazing academics and athletics,” Gaston said. “I knew when I committed that the team and coaches would not only make me a better player, but an overall better person.”
Madison McCready | Medford, N.J. | Shawnee High School | Forward/Midfield
McCready had a stellar career at Shawnee High School, concluding in being named the 2019 Burlington County Times Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Among other accolades, McCready was tabbed as a First Team All-Olympic Conference selection the past two seasons. She also added an All-State and First Team All-South Jersey nod to her resume after her senior campaign.
The three-year varsity starter played club for PDA South Ajax 02 and claimed the NPL National Championship in 2019.
“I chose La Salle because from the first time I was on campus, it felt like a home,” McCready said. “The girls were so welcoming, and it didn’t look like it was hard to be part of a family on the team here.”
Kelli McGroarty | Voorhees, N.J. | Eastern Regional High School | Forward/Midfield
McGroarty will step on La Salle’s campus this fall with a high school career like no other. The 2018-19 New Jersey Girls Soccer Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior, is a two-time United Soccer Coaches All-America and All-East Region selection in 2018 and 2019. Like classmate Caitlin Donovan, McGroarty was also selected to play in the United Soccer Coaches All-American game in 2019. She has been tabbed as Player of the Year by the New Jersey Girls Soccer Coaches Association (NJGSCA) (2019), NJ.com (2018 & 2019), Olympic Conference (2018 & 2019), United Soccer Coaches (2018), The Philadelphia Inquirer (2018), The Courier Post (2018), and The Sun Newspaper(2018).
Outside of her Player of the Year nods, McGroarty is a NJ.com All-State selection (2018 & 2019), Star Ledger First Team All-State honoree (2018 & 2019), Top Drawer Soccer Second Team All-American (2018), three-time South Jersey Midfielder of the Year, four-time First Team All-Olympic Conference selection, three-time All-South Jersey nod, and on the NJGSCA State Top 20 Player List in her final three years.
During her magical 2018 junior season, McGroarty led the Vikings to a NJSIAA Group 4 State Championship title. She ended her career claiming the Olympic Conference title three-straight times and had her number 10 retired by Eastern Regional. McGroarty holds the program records for points in a career (275), goals in a career (108), goals in a season (40), and points in a season (100). She also landed on The Courier Post‘s Female All-Decade Team.
Outside of soccer, McGroarty was a four-year letterwinner for the Vikings in basketball and lacrosse. On the hardwood, she was named All-South Jersey during her senior campaign.
“I chose La Salle because they are a family and I wanted to be a part of it,” McGroarty said. “I also know the coaching staff will help me grow as a player and person. They’ll motivate me to be better every day.”
Gabby Oudin | Whitehall, Pa. | Moravian Academy | Defense/Midfield
Oudin hails out of Whitehall, Pa. and received All-Lehigh Valley Area recognition in all four years of high school, including First Team honors in her senior campaign. A star on the pitch and in the classroom, she was named the 2019 Lehigh Valley Female Soccer Scholar Athlete of the Year. Oudin also garnered Colonial League recognition in each of her final three seasons, with First Team honors in the final two. Her final year’s efforts concluded in a PIAA All-State nod.
Away from school, Oudin played club for Lehigh Valley United 02 Black where she helped the team to EPYSA State Cup titles in 2017, 2018, & 2019. She was a two-time member of the Region I ODP Team in 2017 & 2018 and Region I ODP Champion in 2018 & 2019.
“I chose La Salle because I felt an immediate connection with all the girls on my visit and they made me feel at home,” Oudin said. “The connection with the team, as well as my love for the campus made La Salle an obvious choice for me. Also, being able to come into a soccer program as successful as La Salle’s is an amazing opportunity.”