University of Michigan women’s soccer signs 7 to National Letters of Intent
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – University of Michigan women’s soccer head coach Jennifer Klein announced Thursday (March 26) the signing of seven student-athletes to National Letters of Intent (NLI) for the 2020 class, a group she and her staff believe can make an immediate impact in Ann Arbor for the upcoming season, as well as become a fortifying element to the future of the program.
The 2020 class includes Lauren Bolte (Pasadena, Calif.), Sarah Bridenstine (Rochester, Mich.), Abigail Finn (Plymouth, Mich.), Kacey Lawrence (Monroe, Conn.), Emilee Ray (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Stephanie Sparkowski (East Meadow, N.Y.) and Sammi Woods (Saline, Mich.).
The incoming freshman class includes a balance of dynamic attacking and defending personnel, as well as a solid addition to the goalkeeper corps.
As of Feb. 24, TopDrawerSoccer.com ranked the 2020 Maize and Blue cohort No. 18 nationally. The incoming group will join a very talented core as Michigan inked back-to-back top-10 recruiting classes in both 2018 (No. 4) and 2017 (No. 6), and added a 2019 incoming class last season that was ranked 13th nationally. This group of incoming 2020 freshmen solidifies a four-year period during which Michigan has hauled in either national top-10 or top-20 recruiting classes.
“These groups will collectively push to make Michigan a consistent destination for both top talent and top-character prospects — those seeking the absolute best combination of culture, academic excellence, and the pursuit of developing the person and the player at the highest level,” said Klein.
The hard-working and gifted group brings a wealth of experience playing at a very high level. The class includes players who have played for U.S. Youth National teams, players that have been identified and tracked through the U.S. Soccer Training Center pathway, and players that have been included at the highest levels of the Olympic Development Program, the Generation Adidas Elite Soccer Program, the Elite Clubs National League Player Development Program, and the U.S. Club Soccer id2 National Identification and development program.
“We are very excited about the additions to our program with this incoming 2020 freshman class,” said Klein. “These players will allow us to continue building on what we’ve accomplished this past season — but more importantly, this group will continue to help us grow and reach new heights. They are an industrious, dynamic group of players and will add immediate value to our team both on the field and as influencers in our team-first culture, where character and connection is pivotal to who we are and what we are trying to develop further.”
Forward | Pasadena, Calif. (Flintride Sacred Heart Academy) | LA Breakers, SoCal Academy, LA Surf US Soccer Development Academy
Bolte travels across the country from Pasadena, California, where she will earn her fourth varsity letter this spring at Flintride Sacred Heart Academy … Is a two-time first team all-conference honoree … Was named the Mission League Offensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and notched LA Times First Team All-Area … Helped her team to a CIF Southern Section Division 3 runner-up and a regional championship in her junior campaign … Led her SoCal Academy team to a U19 Surf Cup championship before finishing as the runner-up with the LA Breakers the following year … Also participated in track and was a state qualifier in the 400 meter.
Midfielder | Rochester, Mich. (Rochester Adams) | Nationals, US Soccer Development Academy, Olympic Development Program
Bridenstine is one of three Michigan signees to the 2020 class, coming from Rochester, Michigan, where she attended Rochester Adams High School … Played one year of high school varsity soccer before not playing her final three seasons due to Olympic Development Program (ODP) obligations … Was a member of the Region II ODP team from 2015-17 and attended the ODP National Training Camp from 2016-17 … Is a two-time national champion with the Nationals, winning in 2016 and 2017 … Helped her team to a DA National Championship final in 2018
Defender | Plymouth, Mich. (Salem) | Michigan Hawks, Elite Clubs National League, Olympic Development Program
Finn makes the short trip to Ann Arbor from Plymouth, Michigan, where she attended Salem High School and played in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) instead of high school soccer … Helped her team to back-to-back ECNL playoff appearances … Was a big part of the backline that helped her ECNL team to a Midwest Conference Championship in 2017 and 2018 … Was a TopDrawerSoccer.com ECNL Phoenix and New Jersey Standout in 2018 … Helped her team to an ENCL third-place finish at the National Championships in 2017 … Participated in the Generation Adidas Elite Soccer Program in Portland, Oregon, in 2017 … Was part of the Olympic Development Program 02 Regional Pool in 2016 … Plays club soccer for the Michigan Hawks.
Forward | Monroe, Conn. (Masuk) | Connecticut Football Club, Elite Clubs National League, US Youth National Team
Lawrence hails from Monroe, Connecticut, where she was a four-year letterwinner for Masuk High School … Named a finalist for the Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year as a junior and senior … Was a four-time first team all-state selection and a four-time All-South West Conference pick … Notched All-New England and TopDrawerSoccer.com/USA Today Preseason All-America in her junior and senior seasons … Led her team in goals all four seasons, scoring her 100th career goal as a senior … Named an Allstate Insurance All-American, playing in the Allstate Cup Game as a junior … Selected to participate in the high school All-American game and selected for the Best 11 Game … Helped her team to a state championship runner-up finish in her freshman season … Led the Connecticut Football Club to a Elite Clubs National League Northeast Championship in 2018 … Has also been the leading scorer for the Connecticut Football Club since 2015 … Participated in the U.S. Soccer Youth National camps on four occasions.
Defender | Manhattan Beach, Calif. (Mira Costa) | LAFC Slammers, Elite Clubs National League, Cal South Pro+ ODP
Ray is from Manhattan Beach, California, where she played three years of varsity soccer for Mira Costa High School, missing her sophomore season due to US Development Academy rules … Finishing her senior season with Mira Costa High School this spring … Was a two-time defensive MVP … Named first team All-California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section … Notched first team Daily Breeze honors as well as TopDrawerSoccer.com State of California All-Star honors as a junior … Helped her team to a CIF Regional and State final in her junior campaign … Was part of the LAFC Slammers when they made it to the semifinals in the DA National Championship … Played with the Cal South Pro+ Summer and Winter Pool … Also played in the Cal South Pro+ Pacific Coast Invitational.
Goalkeeper | East Meadow, N.Y. (East Meadow) | East Meadow, Elite Clubs National League, US Youth National Team
Sparkowski hails from East Meadow, New York, where she is a four-year letterwinner, a four-year New York State Public High School Athletic Association Scholar Athlete and a four-time Newsday 10 Long Island Girls Soccer Player to Watch … Named to the U.S. Soccer Federation Under 16 Girls National team roster and participated in training camps … Also participated in training camps with the U.S. Soccer Federation Under 14 team … Selected to the All-Star team and named Best Goalkeeper at the U.S. Youth Soccer Association Olympic Development Program 2015 Inter Regional Tournament … Selected to the all-tournament team and earned the Golden Gloves at the Super Y League 2015 North American Finals … Helped that team to a national championship … Named all-county three times and was a three-time co-captain … Earned Newsday All-Long Island first team twice and second team as a sophomore … Notched Nassau County Girls Soccer Coaches Association Conference AA1 Goalkeeper of the Year honors as both a junior and a senior … Earned the Howard Gould Most Outstanding Goalie award as a senior … Garnered New York State Sportswriters and Coaches Organization for Girls Sports All-State first team as a senior and fourth team as a junior … Earned Allstate All-American honors as a junior and TopDrawerSoccer.com All-American second team … Played in both the 2019 Girls’ High School All-American game and was selected for the TopDrawerSoccer.com All-American game Best XI … Named to the United Soccer Coaches Fall High School Girls All-American team as a senior … Was a Newsday Top 100 Long Island High School Girls Athlete of the 2010s selection … Helped her team to a co-county championship as a junior.
Forward | Saline, Mich. (Saline) | Michigan Hawks, Elite Clubs National League, Generation Adidas Elite Soccer Program
Woods comes to Michigan from the nearby town of Saline, where she attended Saline High School. … Did not play high school soccer due to obligations with her Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) team … Was a four-time team captain … Earned a TopDrawerSoccer.com 4-Star Rating … Ranked 71st overall in the incoming class by TopDrawerSoccer.com … Played in the ECNL playoffs on two occasions and was named both all-conference and All-America in 2019 … Helped her ECNL team to the finals in 2019 and played in the ECNL All-Star game in Phoenix, Arizona … Was a U.S. Development Academy top 10 leading scorer in the 2018 season, scoring 24 goals … Played with Adidas ESP in the Portland Invite in 2016 and the Lyon, France Invite in 2018.
This year’s incoming class will join a group of returners who are coming off one of the best seasons in recent history. Last season, the program tied for second in the Big Ten regular-season standings and garnered a runner-up finish in the Big Ten Tournament. The 2019 season also saw the team advance to the NCAA Round of 16 to earn the team a No. 16 ranking in the final United Soccer Coaches Association poll.