17 new Northern Michigan University athletes: Wildcats soccer teams bring in large group of newcomers

Northern Michigan University’s Caroline Halonen, front left, tries to beat Northwood’s Riley Rajewski to the ball during the first half of a Sept. 15 women’s soccer game played at the NMU Soccer Field in Marquette. Behind the Timberwolves’ player are the Wildcats’ Rachael Erste, left, and Natalie Stampfly. (Journal file photo by Ryan Stieg)

“When you think of our final product and the amount of obstacles we had to go through this year, I can’t help but be excited.” — Jon Sandoval, first-year head coach, NMU women’s soccer


MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University varsity soccer teams announced earlier this month that they have signed a total of 17 new athletes to join the women’s and men’s teams this fall.

The women’s Wildcats include nine newcomers for new head coach Jon Sandoval, who was named to the position in February after two seasons as men’s assistant coach.

“I am very excited about the recruiting class we put together,” Sandoval said, especially in consideration of the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the world. “When you think of our final product and the amount of obstacles we had to go through this year, I can’t help but be excited. We have a mixture of true freshmen and transfers from the junior college and (NCAA) Division I level.”

Northern Michigan University's Isabela Cardoso, right, looks to pass the ball out of the Wildcats' defensive zone with WIsconsin-Parkside's Samantha Nickell trying to get control in the second half of their GLIAC women's soccer game played at the NMU Soccer Field in Marquette on Sept. 27. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

The men’s team has nearly as many new players.

“This is a great group of eight players that we have added to our program,” fifth-year head coach David Poggi said. “Each one of them highlights specific needs to our team and should help us in a big way to reach our goals. We couldn’t be happier with their decision to sign with NMU.”

Here is a synopsis of the recruits:


Women join new coach

Northern Michigan University's Luca Lippert looks for a teammate to pass to as he moves the ball into the offensive zone in the second half around Purdue Northwest defender Laith Sruour in their GLIAC men's soccer game played at the NMU Soccer Field on Sept. 20. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

“Every single recruit on this list has the potential to make an immediate impact and that is what our standard is when we scholarship players,” Sandoval said. “We have added players that will make us more dynamic in the attacking third, and at the same time we’ve padded our defense. These players bring a level of quality and experience that will be needed when we get into the dog days of October. I am thrilled to get started in August.”

This group joins an NMU squad coming off a GLIAC tournament appearance in 2019.

Aidan Senior of Anoka, Minnesota, earned six varsity letters at Anoka High School. In soccer, she was named all-state, all-conference and team MVP, while earning multiple conference titles in track and field in the long jump, 400-meter run and 400 relay. She also played at Illinois-Chicago in 10 matches.

Erin Gibson of Broomfield, Colorado, will be a junior at NMU after she transfered from Colorado State-Pueblo, where she appeared in 10 games and recorded an assist as a defender.

Michelle Keranen was a two-time conference award winner at downstate Hartland and member of the a district championship team. She earned three varsity awards and was named the Hartland High School scholar-athlete.

Northern Michigan University's Kaffie Kurz, left, heads the ball in front of Purdue Northwest's Josue Espinoza in the first half of their GLIAC men's soccer game played at the NMU Soccer Field on Sept. 20. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

Caitlyn Trombley of Brighton also played for Hartland with Keranen and was a four-year letterwinner there. She also made her all-conference team and was one of the top players to watch in Livingston County. As a junior, she led Hartland in assists.

A third Hartland product coming to NMU is Maggie Kastamo.

Laura Balderrama of Sante Fe, New Mexico, played at Capital High School. She was named first and second team all-district at Capital High School, receiving the Outstanding Athlete Award for girls soccer. She comes to NMU from Sante Fe Community College.

Josie Bos of downstate Holland played soccer and volleyball at Zeeland High School. She was honorable mention all-district as a junior before earning all-conference and all-area as a senior, when she was team captain. She was also named the Heart and Soul of the team her final two years. Most recently, she played at Muskegon Community College and earned Second Team in Region 12 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Lauren Pardoe of Geneseo, Illinois, was a six-time varsity letterwinner in four sports at Geneseo High School. She was named the soccer’s Defensive Player of the Year twice with all-conference and two academic all-conference honors.

Brooke Pietila of downstate Brighton earned four varsity letters at Brighton High School. She was named all-conference first team and All-Livingston County twice. Team captain as a senior, she also earned MHSAA all-region and all-state honorable mention in 2019.


8 join men’s record-breakers

The eight men’s newcomers will join a squad that reached its third straight GLIAC tournament and are coming off a school record for wins.

Kalvin Glodz of Elmhurst, Illinois was all-conference and all-academic at York Community High School. He also was named a Tournament Best 11 as his team won the Hillner Classic, a regional title and finished among the top 15 in Illinois. He also played for the Sockers FC Chicago club team.

Casey Miller of downstate St. Joseph earned seven varsity letters in soccer and track and field at St. Joseph High School. He was team captain for two years and earned three all-conference honorable mentions and was named to two all-district teams. His team was conference and district finalists. He was also a member of the Junior Irish SC club team.

Devin Nelson of downstate Plainwell earned letters all four years in soccer and track and field at Plainwell High School. After his team win conference titles four straight years, he was named first team all-conference and first team all-district three times. He was also second team all-region once.

Leonardo Notarnicola of Rome most recently played at Kansas City Kansas Community College. He was a member of the final-eight best team in Italy in 2016 while playing for Bologna FC.

Niko Scheibal of Minnetonka, Minnesota, lettered all four years at Minnetonka High School. In 2018, his team made a state semifinal appearance. He earned all-conference, all-metro and all-state honors. He was also on the Salvo SC club team.

Adam Przytula of Chicago earned three varsity letters at St. Patrick High School, where he was team captain the past two seasons and helped guide the team to fourth in the state, along with super sectional, sectional and regional championships. In 2018, he helped his team win sectional, regional and conference championships. He was also with the Sockers club team.

Cole Walgren of Kettle Moraine, Wisconsin, while helping Kettle Moraine High School win the 2019 state championship. He was named first team all-conference and first team all-state as his team make regional semifinal in 2018 and was the MRL 1 champion. He also played for the SC Wave club team.

Alex Weaver of Des Moines, Washington, played most recently for Highline Community College and was captain last season and two years as a conference all-star. At Mount Rainier High School, he lettered all four years and was team captain his last two years. He was a Division 4A First Team all-league his last three seasons. He capped his high school career by earning the U.S. Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Award.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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