Huskies announce women’s soccer class

HOUGHTON — Seven student-athletes committed to join the Michigan Tech soccer team in fall 2021, head coach Bulut Ozturk announced Tuesday.

They include AK Syracuse, Avery McNally, Ella Roach, Emilie Clayton, Grace Hoeppner, Mia Van der Heide, and Tristyn Phillips. The class includes four Michigan natives and three from Minnesota.

“The 2021 class of young athletes adds a lot of depth and versatility to a very strong group of returners,” Ozturk said. “This group compliments our team defensively, adds creativity in the attack, and brings great experience. I am excited to watch these young players grow and become great MTU student-athletes and fantastic members of our community.”

Last week, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference released modified spring schedules. The Huskies season opener is slated for March 19 at Davenport University.

Anna (AK) Syracuse, MF/DF, Grand Rapids, Mich.,Forest Hills Northern High School

Syracuse attended Forest Hills Northern High School for two years and also lived in Germany for two years where she played soccer overseas. She appeared in two games for Midwest United FC U-18-19.

“AK can play multiple positions when needed, including the back line for the Huskies,” Ozturk said. “She is a hard-nosed, holding midfielder who is not afraid to challenge for any 50/50’s or go in for a big tackle.”

Avery McNally, MF, Sterling Heights, Mich., Academy of the Sacred Heart

McNally was a four-year varsity starter for Academy of Sacred heart in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. In 2019, she notched 11 goals and seven assists. The year prior, she tallied six goals and six assists. Her high school distinctions include all-district, all-state honorable mention, and Michigan High School Athletic Association Scholar Athlete. McNally assisted her team to the district championship in 2019 and they made a run to the regional finals. She comes from an athletic family and was also a four-time state qualifier in cross country.

“Avery is an attacking midfielder who is not only fast and extremely quick, but also has great vision to fill the role of playmaker,” Ozturk said. “She also has the ability to unlock defenses with her one versus one attacking ability. We are excited to have Avery as a Husky.”

Ella Roach, DF, Minnetonka, Minn., Minnetonka High School

Roach brings winning experience to the Huskies, having lettered two years as a member of the Minnetonka Skippers in the Twin Cities. She assisted her team to the Minnesota AA state championship in 2018 and will graduate this spring.

Emilie Clayton, DF, Macomb, Mich., L’Anse Creuse High School-North

Clayton scored her first goal as a freshman for the Crusaders and posted a pair of assists. The following season, she recorded two goals and two assists. She has been named all-district and varsity defender of the year on two occasions. In 2019, Clayton was an all-conference selection and all-county second team honoree. She helped her team to the conference championship as a sophomore. Clayton is a good student and member of National Honors Society and plans to major in engineering at Michigan Tech.

Grace Hoeppner, DF, Burnsville, Minn., Academy of Holy Angels

Hoeppner will join the Huskies after completing her prep career at Academy of Holy Angels in the Twin Cities. Though she suffered a season ending injury as a junior, Hoeppner still managed five goals and six assists and was named all-conference. She also assisted her team to three section championships and a third place showing at the Minnesota State soccer tournament. Hoeppner is an all-around athlete and was the kicker for her high school football team as a senior. She intends to major in biomedical engineering at Tech.

Mia Van der Heide, F, Minneapolis, Minn., Academy of Holy Angels

Van der Heide joins Hoeppner from Academy of Holy Angels and adds an insurgence of offensive ability to the squad. She combined for 37 goals, 56 assists, and 93 career points for the Stars, leading to her nomination for all-American in 2019-20.

Van der Heide has been awarded USCA all-central region, Minnesota Class A first-team all-state, and first team all-conference twice. Last season, Van der Heide was selected Minnesota Ms. Soccer. She led her team to third place in the state soccer tournament as well as two section championships. She intends to major in communications at Michigan Tech.

“We are thrilled to add Mia, winner of the 2020 Minnesota Ms. Soccer award in Class A,” Ozturk said.

Tristyn Phillips, DF, Troy, Mich., Troy Athens High School

Phillips’ soccer experience derives from the club level where she played for Nationals Union 03 Black in the Midwest Conference. She helped her team to the Michigan State Cup Championship and multiple appearances in the National League Regionals. Phillips plans to major in economics at Michigan Tech.


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