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Women's Recruiting Aug 17, 2020

UMass Lowell women’s soccer adds seven to roster

LOWELL, Mass. – UMass Lowell women’s soccer head coach Mira Novak has announced the addition of seven student-athletes who have signed with the River Hawks for the 2020 season.

“I am extremely happy about these seven women joining our program, as I am convinced, they will make us stronger for years to come,” exclaimed Novak. “The level of talent across the class is fantastic. Many of them can challenge for playing time, driving our returning players to get better every single day.”

The class includes forwards Marissa Saucedo (Ventura, Calif.), Gianna DeRose (Brewster, N.Y.), Calliste Brookshire (Kingston, Mass.) and Rakel Stefansdottir (Hauganes, Iceland); defenders Emma Hennessy (Marlborough, Mass.) and Olivia Sandahl (Skövde, Sweden); and goalkeeper Megan Hart (Rotterdam, N.Y.).

SAUCEDOName: Marissa Saucedo
Hometown/High School: Ventura, Calif. / Buena High School
Position: Forward                  
Height: 5’4
Club Team: Eagles Soccer Club
Major/Minor: Biology

High School/Previous School: Two-year varsity team member at Buena High School … In her senior year was the Pacific View League Most Valuable Player on offense … First Team All-County … Ventura County Star’s Player of the Year … Buena High School’s Girl’s Athlete of the Year … SB Live Sports Female Athlete of the Year … Second Team All-County during her freshman campaign.

Personal: Daughter of Christina and David Saucedo of Ventura, Calif. … Has one sibling, Macy … Enjoys playing the ukulele, surfing and skating … Names FC Barcelona as her favorite sports team … Lists Kai Lenny, Jamie O’Brian and Andres Iniesta as her favorite athletes … Enjoys watching Modern Family and The Office.

Why UMass Lowell: “The diversity the team has is what hooked me. They are such a nice group of people with a strong style of play.”

Novak on Saucedo: “Marissa is a player who competed at a high level of club and high school soccer. She is a creative player that will bring attacking flare to our team.”

DEROSEName: Gianna DeRose
Nickname: G
Hometown/High School: Brewster, N.Y. / Brewster High School
Position: Forward                  
Height: 5’5
Club Team: Sky Blue – NYSC
Major/Minor: Sports Medicine/Nutrition

High School/Previous School: Varsity team member at Brewster High School … In her senior year was named All-State and All-League, along with a team MVP nod … Played four years for the New York Soccer Club … Leading goal scorer and captain during her tenure … Graduated with honors.

Personal: Daughter of Marybeth and Domenick DeRose of Brewster, N.Y. … Has three siblings, Jillian, Julia and Domenick … Her father played soccer at Iona College … Her uncle played soccer at Fordham University … Enjoys driving whenever and wherever she can … Likes to draw in her spare time … Names Juventus as her favorite sports team … Lists Bethany Hamilton as her favorite athlete … Enjoys watching the Vampire Diaries … Can in-fact touch her tongue to her nose.

Why UMass Lowell: “I chose UMass Lowell because instantly I felt like the school was the right fit for me. Not only do they provide the opportunity to play the sport I love, but they are also competitive academically. The team and coaching staff were so welcoming, I felt right at home.”

Novak on DeRose: “Gianna is someone with great potential who can play virtually anywhere on the left-hand side as well as up front as a striker. She can score goals, which she proved at the DA level over last few years.”

BROOKSHIREName: Calliste Brookshire
Nickname: Cal
Hometown/High School: Kingston, Mass. / Silver Lake Regional
Position: Forward                  
Height: 5’7
Club Team: FCUSA Massachusetts
Major/Minor: Business / Psychology

High School/Previous School: Varsity team member at Silver Lake Regional High School … Named captain of her senior squad … Two-time Patriot League All-Star … Eastern Mass All-State … Division II South Player of the Year … Patriot League (Keenen Division) Most Valuable Player … Member of the National Honor Society and student council.

Personal: Daughter of Eleni and James Brookshire of Kingston and Boston, Mass. … Has two siblings, Kayla and Jackson … Enjoys hiking and exploring new and exciting places … Names the Patriots as her favorite sports team … Lists Rose Lavelle and the USWNT as her favorite athletes … Enjoys watching One Tree Hill.

Why UMass Lowell: “I chose to attend UMass Lowell for both the academic and athletic opportunities that the university provided. The family feel of the campus is what initially drove me into committing.”

Novak on Brookshire: “Calliste is a highly skilled left footed player who can score goals and prepare chances in the final third of the field.”

STEFANSDOTTIRName: Rakel Stefansdottir
Hometown/High School: Hauganes, Iceland / Menntaskólinn á Akureyri
Position: Forward
Height: 5’4
Club Team: Þór / KA akureyri
Major/Minor: Business

High School/Previous School: Competed for her country on the U19 squad … Two-time U19 National Champion… 2019 U19 Cup Champion.

Personal: Daughter of Hulda Marín Njálsdóttir and Stefán Garðar Níelsson of Hauganes, Iceland. … Has two siblings, Rósa Dís and Birkir Freyr Stefánson … Enjoys spending her free time in the gym… Lists New Girl as her favorite TV show … Names Liverpool and Dalvík/Reynir as her favorite sports teams … Names Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez as her favorite athletes.

Why UMass Lowell: “The school is really great! The team chemistry and atmosphere seemed to fit my personality the best.”

Novak on Stefansdottir: “Rakel is a someone who can play up front, in the midfield or out wide. She is a great finisher and I hope she will contribute with goals over the next four years to our team performance.”

HENNESSYName: Emma Hennessy
Nickname: Henno
Hometown/High School: Marlborough, Mass. / Marlborough
Position: Defender                
Height: 5’4
Club Team: Global Premier Soccer (GPS)
Major/Minor: Mechanical Engineering

High School/Previous School: Four-year team member at Marlborough High School, participating in girls’ soccer, basketball and track … Named captain of her senior soccer and basketball squad … Helped lead the basketball team to the league championship with a 20-2 record … Two-time Central Mass All-Star … Helped lead her club team to NPL finals for two consecutive seasons … member of the National Honor Society.

Personal: Daughter of Katherine and Michael Hennessy of Marlborough, Mass. … Has two siblings, Colin and Abigail … Her mother played field hockey at Syracuse … Enjoys swimming and dancing in her free time … Names the Patriots as her favorite sports team … Lists Julie Ertz as her favorite athlete … Enjoys watching Quantico … Hopes to work for NASA in the future.

Why UMass Lowell: “The engineering program was a big push for me to come to UMass Lowell. Meeting the team and coaches made my decision that much easier.”

Novak on Hennessy: “Emma is a local prospect who possesses a great level of athleticism combined with great vision and understanding of the game. She is an extremely versatile player that can play across the entire defensive unit.”

SANDAHLName: Olivia Sandahl
Nickname: Liv
Hometown/High School: Skövde, Sweden / Västerhöjdsgymnasiet
Position: Defender / Midfielder
Height: 5’8
Club Team: Skultorps IF
Major/Minor: International Business / Finance

As a Freshman (FIU, 2018): Started in all 18 games … Made her debut for the Panthers against Stetson (Aug. 17) … Played for a total of 1,474 minutes … Recorded one assist and two shots on goal … Had a season-high 106 minutes in the match against LA Tech (Sept. 30).

High School: Played for Skovde KIK in her home country of Sweden… Prior to her time with Skovde KIK, played with Vambs IF.

Personal: Daughter of Eva and Anders Sandahl of Skövde, Sweden … Has one sibling named Alva … Enjoys traveling, golfing and hanging out with friends whenever she can … Lists Crash Landing On You as her favorite TV show … Names Liverpool as her favorite sports team … Names Virgil van Dijk as her favorite athlete … Can stealthily open a glass bottle with her teeth.

Why UMass Lowell: “Because I find the soccer program very interesting and inspiring. Mira and his staff seem like they take really good care of their team, making smart and tactical decisions. Hearing what such a great city Lowell is, I’m really excited to get to experience Massachusetts.”

Novak on Sandahl: “Olivia is an experienced player who can work the defense or midfield. I am convinced she will bring a level of maturity on and off the field and will positively impact the players around her.”

HARTName: Megan Hart
Nickname: Meg
Hometown/High School: Rotterdam, N.Y. / Mohonasen
Position: Goalkeeper
Height: 5’10
Club Team: Rotterdam United
Major/Minor: Exercise Science

High School/Previous School: Varsity team member at Mohonasen High School, participating in girls’ soccer and basketball … First Team Colonial Council All-Star … Two-time Section II Class A All-Star … Two-time Section II All-League Team … 2019 Section II Class A Champions … 2019 Co-Regional Champions … Set new record for least amount of goals scored against during a season (4).

Personal: Daughter of Michelle and Kevin Hart of Rotterdam, N.Y. … Has one older sibling, Courtney … Spends her free time drawing and working on her spray-paint art … Names Manchester City as her favorite sports team … Lists Tim Howard and Hope Solo as her favorite athletes … Enjoys watching the Mentalist and Chopped … Her greatest sports moment includes winning the 2019 Section II Championship to go undefeated on the season.

Why UMass Lowell: “I decided UMass Lowell was the school for me after I went to the ID Clinic that they were hosting. I really loved meeting with the coaches and after I saw the team in action and how close they were, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”

Novak on Hart: “Megan is a goalkeeper with good size, who can control the box. She can utilize her feet well and I am excited to watch her progress over time at UMass Lowell.”

“Above all this class brings a high level of character into the team that will help them raise the culture of the program over the next four years,” Novak said in his final statement. “I know this will be a challenging year with the season postponement, but I am sure all these players will be ready to put on the white and blue jersey when the moment comes.”