CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Lee University women's soccer coach Matt Yelton just signed nine players for his program that has won the last three NAIA national championships, and he called the group "a 'wow' type of signing class for us."
The nine include Notre Dame's Kathryn Healy and Michelle Spangler and Walker Valley's Brianna Prugh -- all reported earlier this week and all from the East Ridge Express club program -- plus University of Texas transfer Leah Fortune from Chicago, a 5-foot-5 midfielder. The others are 5-10 goalkeeper Myranda Powers, midfielder Rachel Cox and defender Alison Braun from Lexington (Ky.) Christian School and defenders Lindsey Brown from St. Petersburg, Fla., and Samantha Pewitt from Murfreesboro Siegel.
Pewitt, Healy and Spangler made the Tennessee all-state teams announced this week.
"This is a big, important signing class for our team," Yelton said, though acknowledging the return of eight starters from the 2010 national champs. "In this class we've been able to sign some of the most talented players in America, four of whom come from within Tennessee and others who are the very best in their states.
"These players come from some of the most successful youth teams and clubs in the nation, which is an emphasis for us -- to bring players to Lee who are well-coached and accustomed to winning at the top level. These players are winners in every sense of the word."
Yelton said Healy "is a very competitive and athletic player who I believe can come in and take the competition level of our training sessions a notch higher. She has a great nose for the goal and will get forward into the attack. She can play in multiple positions as a wide player."
Prugh, he said, "is a quick and athletic player who can play in a number of positions on the field. She has the ability to defend anywhere across the back line but also can play as an outside mid when needed to. She has worked very hard at developing her game in the last three years."
Yelton said Spangler "is one of the hardest working players that we saw in the Tennessee recruiting class this year. She gives a great effort in everything she does and has been a rock for the back line of both her club and high school teams. She is very good in the air and excellent in the tackle."