SMSU SOCCER: SMSU announces eight additions on Signing Day

MARSHALL – Southwest Minnesota State head women’s soccer coach, Erin Kasmarik-Mallett, announced the official signing of eight future-student athletes to the SMSU soccer program on Wednesday as a part of National Signing Day, the first day student-athletes around the country were eligible to sing National Letters of Intent.

The Mustangs soccer program will welcome players from five different states: Minnesota (4), Kansas (1), Iowa (1), Nebraska (1) and Virginia (1).

The 2018 SMSU signing day class includes players that have played a myriad of positions with four primary defenders and four primary attackers joining the Mustangs roster.

Katie Oatman, an incoming defender, joins the Mustangs from Plattsmouth High School in Plattsmouth, Neb. Oatman has earned all-conference recognition as a high school player and played club soccer for the Elite Girls Academy in Omaha, Neb., while also earning Academic All-Conference and Academic All-State awards. “Katie is going to be a great asset to our program. We are very excited about the grittiness and heart she is going to bring to our program! She is a player that leads by example and will help solidify our depth defensively,” Kasmarik-Mallett said.

Sarah Spears, another defensive addition to the Mustangs’ roster, comes to SMSU from Owatonna, Minn. where she played club soccer for the Owatonna Soccer Club. “We really love Sarah’s composure on the ball and her ability to not panic when she is under pressure. We want to play a very possession-oriented style of soccer and Sarah will be able to help us maintain possession in critical moments,” stated Kasmarik-Mallett.

Alex Harmdierks, a native of Victoria, Minn., will also join the SMSU defense in 2018 from Chanhassen High School. Harmdierks played club soccer for CC United Soccer Club, one of the top-six teams in the state of Minnesota for her age group. “Alex combines elements of solid defending mixed with very good technical range. We are excited to add her into the left side f defense to both shut down attacks from the other team with her defensive abilities and jump start our attacking with her ability to connect critical passes,” said Kasmarik-Mallet.

Playing a more versatile role from the back will be 2018 signee, Maria Duncan, from Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Kan. “Maria is going to bring some versatility in her ability to help us on the attacking and defensive side of the ball. We are very excited about her ability to create dangerous situations coming out of the backline and we will be looking for that ability to show up in assists and goals,” explained Kasmarik-Mallett.

Kaylee Burkett-Behun, a native of Blaine High School in Blaine, Minn. will join the Mustangs attack in 2018 after starting for four-years on her high school team in addition to playing club soccer for the North Metro Hurricanes. “Kaylee brings a unique comfort level with being able to hold the ball under pressure and with her back to the goal. She will add a new dimension to the way we can break down a defense,” said Kasmarik-Mallett.

The Mustangs also welcome Katie East, a native of Duluth, Minn. and a 2018 graduate of Duluth-Denfield High School. East played her club soccer for the Gitchi Gummi Soccer Club and was a four-year varsity letterwinner for her high school team. “I believe Katie is a very calculated decision-maker when playing soccer. She has an ability to figure out what the most dangerous choice is when she is on the ball and the technical capabilities to execute it,” explained Kasmarik-Mallett. “We are really excited to add Katie to our midfield depth,” said the Mustangs head coach on Thursday.

Another addition to the SMSU attack in 2018 will be Lexi Smith from Dallas Center-Grimes High School in Dallas Center, Iowa. Smith earned second team all-state recognition for her play on the soccer field and also lettered in track and cross country. A member of the National Honor Society, Smith also earned academic all-conference honors during her time as a high school student-athlete. “Lexi is going to add pace and dynamic movement to our attack this fall. She has the ability to run at defenses with or without the ball and creates situations that very uncomfortable for them (defenders),” Kasmarik-Mallett said. “We are very excited that she is joining the Mustang family,” exclaimed Kasmarik-Mallett.

Abbey Hoisington, the eighth signing day addition to the SMSU roster, will join the Mustangs from Freedom High school in Woodbridge, Va. A native of Chantilly, Va., Hoisington played her club soccer for Herndon United Soccer Club in Northern Virginia in addition to scoring 28 goals during her high school career. Hoisington was also a punter for her high school football team and also played basketball as a three-sport, high-school student-athlete. “We are very excited to have Abbey joining our program! She is going to bring some flare and spark on the offensive side of the ball,” said Kasmarik-Mallett. “She has a gift for creativity and we can not wait to see what she does at the next level,” said Kasmarik-Mallett.

Southwest Minnesota State will look to improve on a 1-16 season last fall beginning with its spring practices which officially kick off the program’s preparation for the 2018 season that is set to begin in August.

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