Mike Varga

Varga Announces Nine Additions to Women's Soccer Program

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – With all eyes set on a successful 2018 campaign, Gardner-Webb women's soccer head coach Mike Varga and his staff announced the addition of nine newcomers today.
The nine players set to join the Runnin' Bulldogs in the fall are: Gabrielle Berkes, Alisha Holcombe, Sara Houff, Katie Howard, Kate Katzman, Katelyn Kellogg, Jada Newton, Taylor Robinson and Michaela Stone.
"This class met every criteria that we looked for," stated Varga.  "We wanted to find student-athletes that could fill certain areas of need for us on the field, while also finding individuals that fit into the culture of Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs soccer.  Each of these young ladies are incredible students and quality people first and foremost.  I am thankful for all the work that the coaching staff, Christina Sarokon and Javier Bautista, have put in. I'm grateful too for all the help we get from everyone on campus to continue to make Gardner-Webb such a welcoming and special university. We're looking forward to our 2018 season and can't wait for these nine ladies to join the program."
Below are details on each of the signees and their accomplishments.
Gabrielle Berkes - Center Mid – Cuyahoga Falls, Oh.
The Details: Berkes, a 5'2" midfielder, attended Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy and played high school soccer for two years, competing in every minute of every game during her freshman and sophomore seasons. She was named second-team All Tri-County as a freshman and led her team to the 2015 regional semifinals, while also winning a conference championship in 2014 and 2015. Following her sophomore season, she focused exclusively on club soccer, playing for the Internationals ECNL team.  In 2016, Berkes played on a team ranked in the top-five nationally and went undefeated in both the fall of 2016 and 2017. Her Internationals squad made an appearance in the 2016 ECNL National Playoffs and were the 2015 Super Y Nationals Runner-ups.
Quoting Coach Varga: "Gabby has as high a work rate as anyone I have seen. She covers a lot of ground in the midfield defensively and has the ability to create on the dribble and off the ball as well."
Alisha Holcombe – Outside Forward – Locust Grove, Va.
The Details: The 5'7" forward played at Eastern View High School where she was named first-team All-Conference during her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. She earned second-team All-State honors as a sophomore. Holcombe played club soccer for Rob Ukrop and Richmond United ENCL, leading the team to a plethora of on-field accomplishments. While she was with Richmond, the team was United and National Futsal finalists, and Regional Futsal champions. Holcombe was also a Golden Boot winner and represented the Region I team for the Olympic Development Program (ODP) on multiple occasions.
Quoting Coach Varga: "Alisha is as dynamic a forward as we have in the Big South Conference. She is creative and athletic and has a knack to score goals and will be a handful for defenders that have to match up against her."
Sara Houff – Midfielder – Caryville, Tenn.
The Details: Houff prepped at Grace Christian Academy in Caryville, Tennessee for coach Birtney Jones. The 5'4" midfielder scored 39 goals and registered 49 assists over her final two seasons. She was named first-team All-Conference on multiple occasions and was the team's Offensive Player of the Year during her junior and season seasons. Additionally, she received numerous honors from the TSSAA and is the association's record-holder for most assists in a career and single season. She led her high school squad to district, region and sectional championships, as well as an elite eight appearance in the state tournament, all of which were firsts for GCA.
Quoting Coach Varga: "Sara has composure and comfort on the ball that will help us as we continue to strengthen our midfield.  She has the ability to get herself out of tight space with the ball at her feet and can find teammates in dangerous areas to create scoring chances."
Katie Howard – Left Wing/Left Back – Louisville, Ky.
The Details: Howard played high school soccer under head coach Tammy Hailey at Assumption High School and scored 26 goals, while assisting on 23. She was a member of the 2017 Regional High School Honorable Mention team and a 2017 Region VII High School Honorable Mention All-Star. Additionally, she was named to the ODP state team in 2015 and 2016, while earning team honors as the 2017 Offensive MVP.  During her tenure with Assumption, Howard and her teammates were region runner-ups on three occasions. She played club soccer with the Kentucky Fire Juniors 99 Red and scored 26 goals to go along with 20 assists. The KFJ were the U18 State Cup champions in 2016 and a State Cup finalist in 2017 (U17) and the 2016 league champions.
Quoting Coach Varga: "Katie is a hard working defender that is very competitive. She has an eagerness to learn and grow as a player that will suit her very well at GWU. She looks to get involved out of the back and fits right into our system."
Kate Katzman – Forward/Outside Mid – Brentwood, Tenn.
The Details: Katzman played at Independence High School in Brentwood, Tennessee where she had a decorated career as a forward and outside mid for coach David Cordero. She scored 16 goals and had 24 assists, six of which were game winning assists. She was named to the All-District team as a junior and senior and led Independence to the 2015 district and region championships. The 5'4" forward was a captain her senior season and ended her career second on the all-time assists list. At the club level, she played for the Tennessee Soccer Club ENCL squad. 
Quoting Coach Varga: "Kate's best soccer is ahead of her. I have seen a lot of development over the past couple years and she gives us an up-and-coming force on the wing. She has speed with and without the ball and will add to our attack immediately."
Katelyn Kellogg – Goalkeeper – Goshen, Ky.
The Details: Kellogg comes to Gardner-Webb from North Oldham High School, where she spent four years as a goalkeeper and ended her time on the pitch as the school's all-time saves leader with 436 stops. She earned All-Region honors in high school and was twice named to the All-State team, while also earning a spot on the Region II Olympic Development Program. The Kentucky native played club soccer for the Kentucky Fire Juniors where she won seven consecutive Kentucky State Cup championships.
Quoting Coach Varga: "Katelyn can make saves that will leave your mouth open. She is athletic and likes to fly around the goal. She has advanced footwork and has had quality coaching to be sure she will be well prepared for the collegiate level."
Jada Newton – Forward – Woodbridge, Va.
The details: The Virginia native played at Osborn Park High School for head coach Robert Watters. Newton was first-team All-Conference for the Cedar Run district and led the team in goals during the 2014-15 season. During that season, she scored 16 times and had seven assists. The 5'9" forward helped Osborn defeat Woodbridge High School for the first time in over 20 years, 3-1, and scored the second goal in the contest. At the club level, she was the leading scorer for the Northern Virginia Soccer Club (11 goals and 2 assists) in 2017-18. The team won the State Cup championship and had a 14-2 record. Additionally, Newton was a Super Y League Golden Boot winner in 2014. 
Quoting Coach Varga:  "Jada will be a great fit for us at Gardner-Webb. She has the strength to hold up play for us center forward but also has the pace to stretch the opponents back line by running with the ball."
Taylor Robinson – Outside Back – Leesburg, Va.
The Details: The 5'6" outside back is a native of Leesburg, Virginia and played club soccer for the FC Virginia Development Academy and head coach Christian Cziommer. Robinson helped her team finish the fall season as the top-ranked team in the Atlantic Conference of US Development Academy teams. The FC Virginia DA club won 12 of 16 regular season games and earned the top seed for the national playoffs.
Quoting Coach Varga: "Taylor is a student of the game and a hard defender. She is not afraid to get stuck in on challenges against anyone.  Taylor has also grown a lot as a player and the DA system has been good for her with the amount of quality training that she gotten over the past year."
Michaela Stone – Center Mid –Yadkinville, N.C.
The Details: Stone played at Forbush High School for Kenan James and scored 33 goals while assisting on 20. She earned All-Conference honors for three seasons and was All-Region as a sophomore, while garnering All-Region and All-State recognition following her junior season. She was named Defensive Player of the Year for the conference during her junior year and led Forbush to a state championship appearance her freshman and sophomore years. She played club soccer for NC Fusion ECNL.
Quoting Coach Varga: "Michaela has a high soccer IQ and reads the game very well. She is a technical midfielder that comes from one of the top club teams in North Carolina and will be well prepared to make the jump to Division I soccer."
Catch the Runnin' Bulldogs soccer team on the field beginning in August 2018.
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