Indianapolis, Ind. - Women's soccer head coach Tari St. John announced the addition of five talented student-athletes to the Butler roster during the early signing period on Thursday (March 5). High school seniors Sarah Carlson, Katie Griswold, Jessica Lowinger, Rachael Melendez and Rachel Scott have all signed National Letters of Intent to attend Butler and play soccer beginning in the fall of 2009.
"This is an extremely solid class of soccer players and quality individuals," St. John said. "We do our best to recruit players that will fit in well and enhance the culture we have in our program both on and off the field, and we are optimistic that all five of our signees will do just that.
"This class has a ton of pace and proven goal scoring ability," she added. "We are returning every starter from last year's team, but I will not be surprised if this class comes in and mixes things up for us."
Carlson, a defender from Cincinnati, Ohio, was named to the Cincinnati Enquirer All-City Team as a junior in 2007 before earning honorable mention as a senior. A three-time Defensive Player of the Year for Sycamore High School, she received academic all-conference honors two seasons and was named the NSCAA/Adidas High School Challenge Player of the Game in 2006.
Carlson helped her high school squad to a regional championship and two district titles during her career, as well as a No. 1 national ranking from the NSCAA for three weeks in 2007. She finished her prep tenure with 16 goals while helping her 2007 team to 12 shut-outs.
"Sarah is tough as nails," St. John said. "She has this great duality of a mean, 'do anything to win' nature on the field and is a very good-hearted person off the field."
A forward from Youngstown, Ohio, Griswold finished her career as Cardinal Mooney High School's all-time leading scorer with 106 goals, including 37 scored as a senior in 2008. She was twice named to the Adidas All-Region Team and earned a spot on both the All-Youngstown District First Team and the All-Steel Valley First Team in each of her four seasons.
Griswold helped her high school squad to its first-ever district title as a freshman before leading the team to three more in her final three seasons, including the school's first regional victory in 2008. In addition to her prep accolades, she also qualified for the 2006 ODP team and played club soccer for the Cleveland Cobras.
"Katie has some of the best raw talent I have seen," St. John noted. "Since her verbal commitment as a junior, she has gotten even better at the game. She will be a very exciting player to watch."
Lowinger, a forward from Marlton, N.J., was a three-time all-state honoree and four-time all-conference team member while playing at Cherokee High School. The school's female athlete of the year in 2008, she was mentioned on the NSCAA/Adidas All-Region team as a senior while helping her team to the state championship semifinals in three of her seasons.
Lowinger also played club soccer for the Mt. Laurel Comets, where she finished as the team's leader in scoring and assists from 2002 to 2008 while helping the squad to the New Jersey State Championship in 2007. Additionally, she was named to the 1991 NJ ODP Final State Pool during the 2004-05 and 2006-07 seasons.
"Jess has the not-so-common combination of talent and heart," St. John explained. "She works extremely hard on both sides of the ball but also has the ability to wow you with her creativity."
A forward from Vermillion, Ohio, Melendez earned first team all-state honors and was named the Greater Cleveland Player of the Year as a senior in 2008. A two-time Lorain County Player of the Year while playing at Firelands High School, she finished with 102 goals scored in her four-year career while guiding the team to a district runner-up showing in 2008. Her 60 goals scored as a senior are a single-season school record.
Additionally, Melendez was a member of the state ODP team for two years and also played club soccer for the PSA United.
"Rachael is another player with a creative flare to her game," St. John said. "She is just as comfortable using her pace to run down a ball as she is receiving a ball at her feet. She is excellent vision and has the ability to make the players around her better."
Scott, a midfielder from Union, Ky., earned all-state honorable mention honors as both a junior and senior while playing at Ryle High School. A three-year all-district team selection and All-Northern Kentucky team honoree, she led her team in goals in 2007 and 2008 while helping the squad to a pair of district and regional championships.
The five-year member of the Kentucky State ODP team also played club soccer for Kings Soccer Academy, where she helped the team to a state title in 2004 and runner-up showings in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Her four goals scored in the 2008 state tournament led the team.
"Rachel is a very versatile player," St. John said. "She knows the game very well at a cerebral level and tends not to rely just on her athletic ability to beat an opponent. She also possess some natural leadership ability which we are looking forward to seeing develop at our program."
Butler will return players that accounted for every one of its goals and assists recorded from a 2008 team that finished with the most wins (11) in six seasons, as well as 2007 All-Horizon League First Team member Angie Muir, who missed last season due to injury.