Dons Report: Women’s Soccer

9/5/19: USF WSOC vs UC Riverside at Negoesco Stadium in San Francisco, CA. Image by Chris M. Leung for USF Dons Athletics

Christopher Francis

Staff Writer

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may have cut some seasons short, but the Dons will return in the fall — and alongside our returning athletes will be a class of new recruits. 

This week, the Foghorn will be reporting on the newest additions to the USF women’s soccer team. 

Following their second consecutive 10-win season, the USF women’s soccer team will add eight new athletes for the fall 2020 season, including multiple sets of high school and club teammates.

In a Dons Athletics press release, head coach Jim Millinder expressed his excitement about the incoming class, saying, “I think it is the best we have ever had from top to bottom.”

Isabella Esparaza — Upland High School, Upland, California

A four-year varsity athlete and club player for Legends FC, Esparaza joins the Dons at the outside back position. In her first three years of high school, she recorded six goals and two assists, earning second-team baseline all-league honors twice. Esparaza is also an accomplished track and field athlete, competing in discus, high-jump, and earning all-conference honors as a pole vaulter. 

Ana Gorlach — Lincoln High School, Portland, Oregon

Gorlach joins the Dons as a defensive midfielder, and she credits her development to playing on a boys’ team for four years. A club player for Portland Thorns FC Academy and a four-year varsity athlete for Lincoln High School, she earned first-team Portland Intercollegiate League honors for two consecutive years and all-conference honors for three. 

Kaya Pigoni — Upland High School, Upland, California

Another four-year varsity athlete and Legends FC player, midfielder Pigoni earned first-team honors in her junior year and has earned all-league honors three times, contributing to Upland’s state championship wins in 2017 and 2018. One of Pigoni’s older sisters, Alyssa, currently plays for California State University, San Marcos and has logged 2,098 minutes in her three years so far.

Jayd Sprague — Laguna Beach High School, Laguna Beach, California

A holding midfielder, Sprague is a three-year varsity athlete, earning first-team All-Sunset League honors last season. She has won the team’s Players Award twice, with her teammates voting her as the hardest worker and all-around team player.

Samantha Reyes — Ruben Ayala High School, Chino Hills, California

Reyes joins the Dons as a center back. A member of Legends FC, Reyes is also a three-time scholar-athlete honoree. In the Dons Athletics press release, Millinder highlighted Reyes’ composure and versatility on the field.

Gabriella (Gabby) Rizzo — Huntington Beach High School, Huntington Beach, California

A four-varsity athlete and captain of her high school’s soccer team, Rizzo will play outside back for the Dons this fall. Before moving to the back, Rizzo was originally an offensive player, earning freshman offensive player of the year in 2016-17. She plays club for Slammers Huntington Beach Elite and has traveled as far as Germany for international play.

Kenna Roth — Newberg High School, Newberg, Oregon

Although Roth only played one season on her high school team, the defender has played with the Portland Thorns FC Academy for four years, where she was joined by future Dons teammate Gorlach. She saw back-to-back state title appearances with Willamette United FC in 2014 and 2015, winning the championship in 2014.

Marissa Vasquez — Diamond Bar High School, Diamond Bar, California

A four-year varsity athlete, three-time all-league honoree, and a Mt. Baldy League MVP (following 15 goals and 13 assists in her junior season), Vasquez joins the Dons as one of their most decorated recruits. Earning captain’s status for her prep team as a sophomore, she also competed on the Diamond Bar High School track and field team, breaking several school records and winning the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section’s (CIF-SS) Division I Tournament. Through four years on the pitch, Vasquez has accumulated 71 points on 46 goals and 25 assists. She played with Esparaza, Pigoni, and Reyes for Legends FC.

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