Sports briefs

Women’s soccer

Following a disappointing 2-8-1 season, which saw the team finish second to last in the conference, VCU’s women’s soccer team began its trek back toward the top with the announcement of a seven-player recruiting class.

The signings include another player from the U-20 Canadian National Team, two players who were teammates throughout high school and a goalkeeper to help fill the void left by the graduation of the team’s only goalkeeper on the roster, red-shirt senior Kate Hudson (Clarksville/River Hill). The class also includes another child from a Virginia family famous for producing soccer stars.

Brianne Moore, a multi-positional player out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, will join fellow Canadian nationals Myriam Bouchard (Quebec City, Quebec/Cardinal Roy) and Molly Allen (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada/Halifax West) to take the Rams’ tally of players on Canada’s U-20 National Team up to three.

“Bri shares many of the same qualities we have seen in some of the other Canadians who have contributed to our program,” co-head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said. “She has a terrific competitive spirit and real grit about her. She has an incredible work ethic and skill on both sides of the ball.

Shay Haddow (Bingham, Utah) and Jordyn Rolling (Northridge, Utah) join the Rams from the other side of the country, both of whom played on the same club team that saw them get recruited to VCU, the Utah Avalanche. The Avalanche are three-time state cup champions and amazingly, every single player on their roster signed for a Division I school.

Sami Kuykendall (Vienna), a midfielder, signed for VCU after making sizable impressions on both her club and high school teams. Perhaps more interesting however, is her family’s knack for putting out soccer stars in the D.C. metropolitan area. Sami’s father, Kurt, was a player in the old NASL soccer league and also played at American University, where his two sons played as well.

“Sami is an extremely talented in-state player, who comes from a winning environment,” co-head coach Tim Sahaydak said.

The Rams recently wrapped up their Spring season of play, which included five spring-season games featuring wins over both Richmond and Georgetown.

Women’s volleyball

Considering VCU’s women’s volleyball team finished 27-9 last season and captured their first ever CAA regular season title in the process, it’s no surprise that head coach James Finley has responded by scheduling an extremely testing schedule for the fall season.

The lineup includes eight NCAA Qualifying teams, highlighted by three-time defending National Champions Penn State, who have won an NCAA record 101 matches in a row.

“After making a big step toward becoming a nationally known volleyball program, we carefully put together the 2010 schedule to challenge our young talented team while presenting the opportunity for success at a higher level than before,” Finley said.

The team will kick off the season with the Black & Gold classic Aug. 23 before starting the regular season four days later when they travel to Columbus, Ohio to face Ohio State. The Rams will then begin conference play on Sept. 24 when they face Northeastern at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.

In total, five of the teams the Rams will face next season finished the year ranked in the top 25 nationally.

“This is the kind of competition our team has asked for and needs to continue moving forward,” Finley said.

Men’s soccer

VCU’s new men’s soccer head coach Dave Giffard is reportedly holding off on releasing his recruiting class because the former Akron assistant is finalizing the signings of a couple more players.

Giffard, who was hired a month and a half after the end of the Rams’ season on New Years Eve, stated in a prior interview with the Commonwealth Times that he would be introducing a sizable and impressive recruiting class when he does unveil it.

In an interview on Ram Radio during VCU’s men’s basketball’s season, VCU Athletic Director Norwood Teague gushed about the team’s upcoming class when asked about it, and stated that included in the class will be an unspecified national team player.

The anticipation surrounding the class has been heightened because of Giffard’s reputation as a recruiting guru. During his four-year tenure at Akron, he helped bring in a top-five recruiting class every season including 2009 when the Zips signed the top class in the nation.

“I think recruiting is what it’s all about. You can be a good coach. You can be a bad coach. You can be doing a lot of things–but if you don’t have good players it’s irrelevant in some ways,” Giffard said.

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