Jefferson Hagen / MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Pace. Versatility. Defensive depth.
The Griffins women's soccer team has been seeking all of those attributes in a 2018 recruiting class that grew to 12 on Thursday with the addition of five local products.
Alina Srochenski, Audrey French, Cassidy Hodgson, Amanda Pastuzyk and Marisa Roaquin will don Griffins silks for the 2018 Canada West season, head coach Dean Cordeiro announced Thursday.
"All of these girls share similar characteristics in that they're very good athletes, they're very pacey and that's something we wanted to address – to get a little bit quicker and have some options when we're trying to come up with lineups," said Cordeiro.
"The thing I'd be remiss not to say is all five of these girls, along with the others we've brought in, they're all extremely strong students as well," he added. "For us, we've had our highest academic team GPA this past season; that's improved every single year and we're looking to continue to do that.
"These girls are strong on the pitch and in the classroom, while also having tremendous character."
Srochenski comes out of the St. Albert Impact youth squad, helmed by current Griffins assistant coach Rob Bourbonnais.
"Alina has been in the provincial team pool growing up, so she's a top-end athlete and quality player," said Cordeiro. "She can play in the front three but has gotten a lot of experience as a fullback with a bit more of an attacking presence to her game. Alina brings versatility to the table, which is exactly what we're looking for as we add to our talent pool."
French is a product of the Phoenix 2000s program in Sherwood Park, and is a key left-footed presence on the pitch.
"We didn't have any left-footed players other than Kristyn Smart," said Cordeiro of his veteran defensive midfielder. "To add a couple this off-season really gives us the appropriate balance on the pitch when we're looking to have lefties play on the left side.
"Audrey has grown up in the FC Edmonton program. She's a kid who's always played at the highest levels and reads the game well. She has a great motor. Audrey's another player who checks those boxes for us."
Hodgson and Pastuzyk both come out of the Edmonton Scottish 2000s program.
"Cassidy's a terrific athlete, also an exceptional handball player," noted Cordeiro. "She has high soccer IQ and great compete – reads the game really well and has great instincts around the goal.
"Cassidy also has the ability to play inside if needed as an attacking-minded midfield player. So, we love the versatility with Cassidy and what she brings to the table."
Amanda Pastuzyk, left, and Marisa Roaquin will join the Griffins for the 2018 Canada West season.
Pastuzyk offers strong work on the defensive side of the pitch.
"Amanda's a centre-back with the ability to spray the ball around and be a presence back there," said Cordeiro. "We look for her to continue to develop in that position.
"We really wanted to focus this off-season on adding to our back four as it was an area we've been very strong and typically deep, but with Kristen Skrundz graduating and (three other veterans back there) we definitely wanted to add some talent at those positions to have a natural transition once the others look to graduate."
Roaquin – a teammate of Srochinski on the St. Albert Impact – brings an intensity that is valuable to any squad.
"Marissa just works her tail off every single match," Cordeiro said of the central midfielder. "She does a great job of breaking up plays in midfield. She gets up and down the pitch.
"She's also very strong in the air for a smaller player. For me, it's not about size, it's about the ability to time things and be first to things. Marissa just has that compete level and is first to everything on the pitch. She'll be another nice addition to what we're looking to do."