BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Seven high school seniors, all with outstanding credentials, have signed national letters of intent to play women’s soccer at Western Washington University beginning this fall. Making that announcement on Friday, Feb. 6, was Vikings’ head coach Travis Connell.
Joining that group is another high school senior who has accepted an offer of admission.
“This is a versatile class that includes a goalkeeper, two defenders, three midfielders and two forwards,” said Connell. “It is a talented class, very athletic and smart, but the one common denominator is that they are all winners. They have all played at the highest levels of youth soccer and won championships. This experience playing in big games with big game pressure has prepared them well for the challenges ahead.
“We expect them to make an immediate impact on our program and to develop into the leaders of future teams.”
The NLI signees are midfielder Emily Bunnell from Kirkland (Lake Washington), midfielder Lauren Carson from Sammamish (Skyline), defender Taylor Hallquist from Vancouver (Columbia River), midfielder Sophia Kallas from Boise, Id., defender Annaliese Laurila from Portland, Ore. (Grant), forward Gabriela Pelogi from Federal Way and forward Jennifer Oak from Covington (Kentwood).
Rounding out the recruits is goalkeeper Hillary O’Connor from Los Angeles, Calif. (The Archer School).
Bunnell, whose father Tom played men’s soccer at WWU, was a first-team KingCo League all-star as a senior at Lake Washington High. She helped the Kangeroos to a 13-6 record, district title and the second round at the Class 3A state tournament, finishing with nine goals and five assists.
As a junior, Bunnell played on a squad that won league and district titles and reached the Class 2A state quarterfinals.
Carson was a second-team KingCo League all-star as a senior at Skyline High. She had six goals and three assists in helping the Spartans to a 15-3-1 record, a league title and third-place at the Class 4A state tournament.
Carson also played on teams that reached the state quarterfinal as a junior and won the state championship as a sophomore.
Hallquist was a first-team Washington State Soccer Coaches Association Class 3A all-state selection and Vancouver Columbian All-Region Player of the Year as a senior at Columbia River. She also was the GSHL Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-league choice for the third time.
Hallquist helped the Chieftains limit opponents to 12 goals in 22 games, while scoring five goals and having 10 assists on a squad that won league and Bi-District titles and placed third at the state tourney. She was second-team all-state as a sophomore on a squad that went undefeated and won the state championship.
Kallas was named Idaho Player of the Year by Gatorade and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, and by the Idaho High School Soccer Coaches Association and Southern Idaho 5A Conference as a senior at Boise High. She had 23 goals and 17 assists in leading the Braves to the state championship game.
Kallas finished her four-year career with 44 goals and 36 assists.
Laurila was a first-team Portland Interscholastic League all-star as a senior at Grant High. She helped the Generals to the PIL championship and second round of Class 6A state playoffs.
Laurila also was first-team all-league as a junior on a team that reached the state quarterfinals and received second-team all-league recognition as a sophomore on a squad that placed fourth at state.
Pelogi was a first-team WSSCA Class 4A all-state selection for the second consecutive season and a Tacoma News Tribune All-Area choice for the third straight year as a senior at Federal Way High. She also was twice MVP of the South Puget Sound League South Division and a four-time all-league pick, scoring 77 career goals.
Oak was a second-team South Puget Sound League 4A North Division all-star as a senior at Kentwood and earned first-team honors her first three seasons. She was a second-team WSSCA all-state selection as a freshman, leading the Conquerors to a league title and state quarterfinals with 14 goals and seven assists.
O’Connor was a first-team all-California Interscholastic Federation and all-league choice as a junior in leading the Panthers to the CIF Final Four. She had a 0.32 goals against average and four shutouts, making 46 saves.
Last fall, WWU was 16-1-4, reaching the second round of the NCAA Division II National Tournament. The Vikings had a 20-2-1 record in 2013 and got to the national semifinals and were 19-4-0 in 2012.
Emily Bunnell, Midfielder, Freshman, 5-3, 18, 01/30/97, Kirkland, WA
HIGH SCHOOL: First-team KingCo League all-star as senior at Lake Washington High School … Team captain for second year … Helped Kangeroos to 13-6 record, district title and second round at Class 3A state tournament … Had nine goals and five assists for 23 points … Second-team all-league as junior on squad that won league and district titles and reached Class 2A state quarterfinals … Second-team all-league as sophomore … Honorable mention as freshman with six goals and two assists … Helped LWHS win league tournament championship, scoring winning goal in semifinal and final contests … Named team’s Rookie of the Year … Started and lettered four years … Also lettered four years in golf … Second-team all-league as junior and helped Kangeroos place third at Class 2A state tourney as sophomore … Team captain three seasons.
PERSONAL: Plans to major in communications… Her father, Tom, played soccer at WWU and her mother, Karla, played soccer at University of Washington.
Lauren Carson, Midfielder, Freshman, 5-9, 18, 2/11/97, Sammamish, WA
HIGH SCHOOL: Second-team KingCo League all-star as senior at Skyline High School … Helped 15-3-1 Spartans win KingCo title and place third at Class 4A state tournament … Had six goals and three assists for 15 points … Honorable mention all-league as junior, playing on team that won league crown and reached state quarterfinals … As sophomore, helped SHS to state championship … Played just one-half season because of broken leg … Started and lettered three years … Also earned one letter in track … Played four years for Eastside FC … In 2014, team was Surf Cup U18 champions, US Youth Washington Championship Cup U17 semi-finalists and US Youth FarWest Regional League Northwest Division champions … In 2012, team won Surf Cup U16 and Sounders Cup U19 titles.
PERSONAL: Plans to take program in pre-nursing.
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Taylor Hallquist, Defender, Freshman, 5-5, 17, 3/11/97, Vancouver, WA
HIGH SCHOOL: First-team Washington State Soccer Coaches Association Class 3A all-state selection and Vancouver Columbian All-Region Player of the Year as senior at Columbia River High School … Greater St. Helens League Class 3A Defensive Player of the Year and first-team all-league choice for third year … Helped Chieftains limit opponents to just 12 goals in 22 games … Scored five goals and had 10 assists on squad that won league title for third straight year, took Bi-District championship and placed third at Class 3A state tournament … Team MVP … As junior, played on team that reached first round at state, losing to eventual champion Liberty … Second-team all-state as sophomore, helping CRHS to undefeated season and league, district and state titles … Started and lettered three years … Also lettered four years in track … Competed in state meet as junior on 4×100-meter relay that placed second and 4×200 relay that finished third …Played club soccer two years for FC Portland.
PERSONAL: Plans to major in business management and marketing … Has twin brother, Ryan.
Sophia Kallas, Midfielder, Freshman, 5-11, 17, 6/12/97, Boise, ID
HIGH SCHOOL: Named Idaho Player of the Year by National Soccer Coaches Association of America and Gatorade, and by Idaho High School Soccer Coaches Association and Southern Idaho 5A Conference as senior at Boise High School … Also NSCAA Northwest All-Region, finishing with 23 goals and 17 assists for 63 points …Led Braves to district title and state championship game … Team captain, MVP and Offensive POY … Honorable mention all-conference as junior on team that won state title … First-team all-conference as sophomore, helping Braves to consolation title at state … BHS Rookie of the Year as freshman on squad that won district title and placed second at state … Finished four-year career with 44 goals and 36 assists … Three-time SIC academic award winner … Started and lettered four years … Played club soccer six years with Boise Nationals Premier, winning four state championships and qualifying for five Far West Regionals.
PERSONAL: Plans to major in history.
Annaliese Laurila, Defender, Freshman, 6-0, 18, 10/22/96, Portland, OR
HIGH SCHOOL: First-team Portland Interscholastic League all-star as senior at Grant High School … Team co-captain … Helped Generals to league championship and second round of Class 6A state tournament … First-team all-league as junior on team that won league title and reached state quarterfinals … Second-team all-league as sophomore, helping GHS place fourth at state … Three-year starter and letter winner … Also earned one letter in tennis … Member of FC Portland for five years and Elite Clubs National League in 2015 … Oregon State Cup U17G champions in 2014 … Played on Oregon Select Team in 2013, reaching semifinals of NPL Champions Cup and winning Northwest Regional championship.
PERSONAL: Born in Schwetzingen, Germany … Mother, Janelle, played tennis at University of Oregon.
Gabriela Pelogi (pronounced peh-low-gee), Forward, Freshman, 5-4, 19, 1/1/96, Federal Way, WA
HIGH SCHOOL: First-team Washington State Soccer Coaches Association Class 4A all-state for second consecutive season and Tacoma News Tribune All-Area choice for third straight year as senior at Federal Way High School … MVP of South Puget Sound League South Division for third time and four-time all-league pick … Led Eagles to first round of Class 4A state tournament, scoring 22 goals … Team captain as senior and four-time team MVP … Had 25 goals as junior, being named Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association State Athlete of the Week, 18 goals as sophomore and 12 goals as freshman… Started and lettered four years, scoring 77 career goals … Also earned three letters in track … Placed fifth at state meet as junior in 100 meters, running personal-best 12.06 seconds in preliminary heat … Has played four years of club soccer for Washington Premier FC, and two in the Elite Clubs National League.
PERSONAL: Native of Brazil … Spent seven years in orphanage prior to being adopted … Has only played soccer for seven years.
Jennifer Oak, Forward, Freshman, 5-8, 17, 5/6/1997, Covington, WA
HIGH SCHOOL: Second-team South Puget Sound League 4A North Division all-star as senior at Kentwood High School … Team captain for second season and MVP … Had seven goals and three assists … First-team all-league as sophomore with 11 goals and as junior with eight goals … Second-team WSSCA all-state selection and first-team all-league as freshman, leading Conquerors to league title and state quarterfinals with 14 goals and seven assists … Started and lettered four years, finishing with career totals of 40 goals and 20 assists … Played five years for Washington Premier FC.
PERSONAL: Plans to major in business … Her brother, Brandon, played baseball at Central Washington University.
Hillary O’Connor, Goalkeeper, Freshman, 5-8, 18, 11/29/96, Los Angeles, CA
HIGH SCHOOL: Team captain for second year as senior at The Archer School … First-team all-California Interscholastic Federation and all-league choice as junior on 7-0-1 Panthers team that won league title and reached CIF Final Four … Had 0.32 goals against average and four shutouts, making 46 saves … As sophomore, competed at Notre Dame High School … As freshman, started at The Archer School.
PERSONAL: Plans to major in business.