LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- As the Covenant women's soccer team embarks on a new campaign this coming fall, impact newcomers have 23-year head coach Mark Duble excited about the season ahead. An experienced group of incoming freshmen looks to contribute greatly to the success of the Lady Scots in the 2016 season.
Ashlyn Franks - Simpsonville, S.C. - Southside Christian School
Starting up top, the Lady Scots look to strengthen their attack with Ashlyn Franks, a product of Southside Christian School in Greenville, S.C. Franks, a South Carolina All-State Player and Regional Player of the Year in 2016, broke the school record for most goals in a season scoring 29 her senior year. She led the Sabres to a Region 2A championship this past season and the third round of the state playoffs. Franks was named the Southside Christian School Soccer Player of the Year and received the Senior Athlete Award in 2016. She was also a member of Carolina Elite Soccer Academy '98 Girls Premier Team and played in the Region III Southeast Premier League placing second in State Cup in 2014 and 2015.
In the classroom, Franks was a South Carolina Palmetto Fellows Scholar with 4.80 GPA. She graduated summa cum laude with National Honor Society and Beta Club distinction. Franks plans to study Business with a focus on Accounting.
"Ashlyn is a tremendous talent up front, her speed and strength make her a threat for opposing backs to deal with for 90 minutes," Duble said. "Her stellar work in the classroom and her love for the Lord in all things makes her a great addition to the Lady scots program."
Anna Robertson - Augusta, Ga. - Westminster Schools of Augusta
Moving to the midfield with an attacking niche, Anna Robertson was a five-year member of Westminster Schools of Augusta's varsity program. She contributed to the team's state championship her eighth-grade year and helped the team return to the state playoffs and make deep runs in each of the four following seasons. Robertson was a four-time All-Region honoree and also earned All-State honors as a junior and senior. She was given the honor of Most Valuable Player on her team as a senior. The Augusta Sports Council also awarded her a Bronze Honor in the All-Area Female Athlete category.
Robertson not only excelled on the field but also in the classroom. During her time at Westminster, Robertson was a member of the Beta Club and the National Honor Society. As a student-athlete she held a 3.8 GPA and was an AP scholar with honor. She will begin as a Biology major in hopes to one day becoming a physician's assistant.
"Anna has great vision of the field and an appetite to attack from the midfield that makes her very dangerous," Duble remarked. "She possesses great touch and her ability to play at pace will allow her to strengthen an already solid midfield for the Lady Scots. Anna's desire to be successful on the pitch and off is seen in everything she pursues. Her academic success and love for her Savior will make Anna a perfect fit for Covenant and this program."
Lizzy Hightower - Owens Cross Roads, Ala. - Westminster Christian Academy
Lizzy Hightower, a standout for Westminster Christian Academy in Huntsville, Ala., also looks to contribute to the Lady Scots midfield. Hightower led WCA's soccer program in assists as a junior and senior, and was the top goal scorer her senior year. She was named to the National High School Girls Alabama All-State first team and to the 2015 All-Tennessee Valley Team as a junior. Hightower holds the single-season school record for the most goals scored by any player with 41 in the 2015-16 season. Hightower also holds the career school record for goals, male or female, with 131 and the most career assists with 93. She also played with the Olympic Development Program (freshman and sophomore years) and made the Alabama State Team while playing for United Soccer Club '99 Girls Premier League soccer team (freshman-junior) and Huntsville Futbol Club '98 Girls Blue Team (senior).
Hightower received the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award, and was an honor graduate with a 4.2 GPA. As of now, she is undecided about her major but she knows that the Lord will make her path clear in due time.
"Lizzy's personality combined with a commitment to hard work and explosive ability to score goals just adds strength to an incoming class of players who have led their teams both on the field and in the classroom," Duble stated. "We look forward to having her leadership and hard working attitude in the midfield and feel like she will contribute almost immediately to the team as a player and personality."
Riley Battenfield - Mission Viejo, Calif. - Capistrano Valley High School
Riley Battenfield, a native of Mission Viejo, Calif., was a defensive standout in Southern California. She attended Capistrano Valley High School and was a key member of the Cougars' success. Battenfield received the Spirit of the Cougar award and was recognized for her leadership and commitment. However, it is her club career that is most notable. She played for outstanding clubs including Strikers FC, Laguna Hills Eclipse, and the Pateadores.
Battenfield graduated with a 3.2 GPA. Outside of the classroom and off the pitch, she is a junior high leader at church and Sunday School leader. Battenfield's leadership in high school, club soccer, and church makes her a perfect fit for the Lady Scots. She is set to major in Elementary Education and minor in Youth Ministry.
Duble remarked, "Riley's speed and versatility as either a center back or striker will make her a great addition to the team. Her experience playing in the NPL and ECNL leagues in California will enable her to make an impact here at Covenant almost instantly. We are very excited to add a player with the experience Riley has at such a high level of competitive soccer. Combining that with her humble personality and her deep desire to serve her Lord in whatever she does makes her a wonderful addition to this year's incoming class of players."
Abby Gienapp - Cheyenne, Wyo. - Cheyenne Central High School
Hailing from Cheyenne, Wyo., Abby Gienapp looks to add to the Lady Scots play with her ability to play almost anywhere on the pitch. Gienapp was a key component to Cheyenne Central High's success. Central made it to the state playoffs in Gienapp's senior year before being knocked out in the semifinals. Before moving to Wyoming, she played Select for two years. When settled in Wyoming she played for the Cheyenne Sting for five years where she helped her team become second in the state of Colorado and first in the state of Wyoming.
Gienapp graduated with a 3.2 GPA and plans to work towards getting her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in the hopes of one day working with PETA or ASPCA.
"I am very excited to have Abby back in Chattanooga and at Covenant as a student and a Lady Scot," Duble said. "I watched her play here for many years when she was younger, then she moved with her family 4-5 years ago to the Wyoming, where she developed into a very good player. Abby will add strength on the outside, with pace and skill, allowing her to attack down the wing and recover to defend."
Overall, Duble expects each of these individuals to make a strong contribution in USA South play. The Lady Scots are excited with this incoming class and are looking forward to the 2016 season.
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