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Analysis: Breaking down Mean Green Soccer’s 2016 recruiting class

Analysis: Breaking down Mean Green Soccer’s 2016 recruiting class

North Texas has recruited two midfielders to help replace graduating midfielder Karla Pineda next fall. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Analysis: Breaking down Mean Green Soccer’s 2016 recruiting class
February 29
13:54 2016

Clay Massey | Staff Writer

@Clay_FC

After North Texas soccer ended its historic 19-win season, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, head coach John Hedlund had to say goodbye to eight seniors – seven of whom were starters.

Hedlund did not take long to go out and find replacements, signing eight newcomers who will join the team next season. The class is one of the largest in North Texas soccer history.

“They all have the talent physically to do extremely well here throughout their career,” Hedlund said. “The biggest thing is you have to come in with a lot of confidence.”

Miranda Schoening (Goalkeeper) – Oxford, Alabama
Arguably the biggest impact-signee in the 2016 class, Schoening comes to North Texas as a six-year starter at Oxford High School. Schoening started on the Oxford HS varsity team from the time she was in 7th grade, racking up over 1,300 career saves. The 6’1 keeper comes to Denton with high expectations and even bigger shoes to fill with the departure of record-breaking goalkeeper, Jackie Kerestine.

“She reminds [me] a lot of Jackie in so many ways,” Hedlund said. “She came to a few of our camps, and we got to see her play. She’s going to battle against the keepers we have. I think it’s a great addition for us.”

Sophomore Brooke Bradley had always played second fiddle to Kerestine, but got her time to shine in North Texas’ NCAA tournament match against Texas Tech University. Regardless, Hedlund is not ready to give Schoening or Bradley the job quite yet. Expect a battle for the starting spot.

With Jackie Kerestine graduating, North Texas will have sophomore goalkeeper Brooke Bradley and recruit goalkeeper Miranda Schoening compete for the starting spot. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

With Jackie Kerestine graduating, North Texas will have sophomore goalkeeper Brooke Bradley and recruit goalkeeper Miranda Schoening compete for the starting spot. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Stefanie Grba (Midfielder) – Mansfield, Texas
The first of six Dallas-Fort Worth products comes to Denton from Mansfield. Grba has been called to two Serbian national team training camps in 2013 and 2014, and won a co-district championship in 2014 with Mansfield.

Grba brings playmaking and goal-scoring ability – something that is missing with the departure of Karla Pineda. With the entire midfield unit of Pineda, Jackie Moreau and Lindsay Hulstein graduating, Grba and the other midfielders who could not crack the starting XI with the seniors in front of them have a shot to really make an impact and earn serious playing time in 2016.

Dominique Jones (Defender) – Fort Worth, Texas
Jones is joining a defense that was one of the best in the nation last season. Kerestine was No. 1 in the nation in save percentage, thanks largely to the defense in front of her. Jones will have a lot on her plate coming into a defense that set a school record with 16 shutouts last season. However, the defense lost its two centerbacks in Tess Graham and Molly Grisham.

Jones fits as an attacking outside defender, something that North Texas thrived on last season. Adjusting can be hard, but she will have help with junior Chelsei Soto across from her at right back. Soto logged 1,480 minutes last season, mostly at right back.

“It is kind of intimidating,” Soto said. “It’s very demanding coming into a defensive system. If you’re smart soccer wise, you can get it, and I think that’s what they have.”

Logan Layn (Midfielder) –  Lewisville, Texas
Layn will be competing for minutes in the barren midfield, which is up for grabs by anyone. The local product was a team captain at Hebron High School and won a state title in 2014. Layn contrasts Grba, in that she is a true defensive midfielder.

Layn may especially find herself in the mix if she shows she can win the ball in the midfield and help get it forward – something that is crucial in the 4-3-3 system Hedlund likes to run. Hedlund expects Layn to be able to challenge for minutes immediately.

Brittnye Loewen (Forward) – Mesquite, Texas
One of only two forwards signed by Hedlund for 2016, Loewen brings attacking prowess and speed and will be crucial in causing havoc for opposing defenses. Loewen scored 16 goals and had six assists in 2015 at Poteet High School and was named district co-MVP as a sophomore.

Loewen first caught Hedlund’s eye at a camp, where her speed and passion attracted a second look. Loewen will be competing for minutes with an attack that was charged by now senior Rachel Holden, who scored 12 goals last season.

Recruit forward Brittnye Loewen and recruit forward Hailey Sutton will both be competing for minutes with senior forward Rachel Holden. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Recruit forward Brittnye Loewen and recruit forward Hailey Sutton will both be competing for minutes with senior forward Rachel Holden. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Hailey Sutton (Forward) – Red Oak, Texas (Graduate student)
The lone transfer of the 2016 class, Sutton comes to North Texas by way of Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. Sutton was named to the 2015 Southland Conference All-Tournament team and led the team with four goals and one assist.

Sutton will be an immediate contender with her size and experience to help in attack along-side Holden and senior winger Marchelle Davis.

“I feel like we had a good year offensively last season,” Holden said. “I feel like if they can just add to our offense, they can really help us.”

Ashleigh Lyons (Defender) – Argyle, Texas
Lyons hails from Denton Guyer High School and will be looking to fill the shoes of the former Guyer alums Graham and Hulstein. Hedlund described Lyons as a “technical player who can fit in anywhere on the field.”

She could get minutes due to her versatility, especially if injuries arise.

Madeline Guderian (Defender) – Coppell, Texas
Guderian won a state and national championship in 2015 at Coppell High School, so she is bringing plenty of big-game experience to the table. Madeline is following in her sister Allison’s footsteps to North Texas; Allison was a part of three conference championship teams with the Mean Green from 2010-2013.

Hedlund found a mirror image in Madeline, who is a true rightback. Madeline is freaky fast and will be a great addition who can possibly challenge Soto for the starting spot.

Featured Image: North Texas has recruited two midfielders to help replace graduating midfielder Karla Pineda next fall. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

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