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COLLEGE SPORTS

Jessup soccer signs a six-pack of talent

Folsom, Granite Bay, Placer players sign on
By: Brianna Campbell for The News Messenger/Placer Herald
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The William Jessup University women’s soccer program struck pay dirt with six signees putting pen to paper for the 2017 season. Head coach Rachel Constantini returns for her second year at the controls.

"This year we are fortunate enough to bring in a combination of both young and experienced talent,” said Constantini. “The girls joining the squad are exceptionally versatile and will make a positive impact on and off the field, immediately.”

Emma Whigam – a graduate of Placer High School, Whigam competed for the Hillmen and club soccer’s 49er United out of Auburn.

Representing the green and gold, the Placer goalkeeper recorded a career 91 saves, averaging 3.3 saves per game. Whigam allowed just 22 goals, while also defending nine shutouts between the posts.

The new Warrior was also part of the 2016 Pioneer Valley League championship team and was awarded all-league the past two seasons. Whigam was Defensive MVP for both seasons and one as Offensive MVP.

Off the field, Whigam will study psychology and pursue a career in social work or counseling. She looks forward to her continued education on a Christian campus and finishing her degree.

Amanda Holtzen – an experienced transfer after two years on the pitch at American River College.  In her freshman season, she led the Beavers with a season-high seven goals and was instrumental in helping lift ARC over Sierra College (2-0) and scored the tying goal against Cosumnes River.

Holtzen made an impact in the classroom as well as the field, making the scholar-athlete list each semester and completing her sophomore year with a cumulative 4.0 GPA.

She will continue her academics studying kinesiology and youth ministry, with aspirations to continue her education well beyond her two more years at Jessup.

Taylor Greer – a teammate of Holtzen’s at ARC, Greer graduated from Granite Bay High School in 2015.

While with the Beavers, Greer held down the midfield for two seasons, playing 17 total games in her senior campaign and started in 15. Her lone goal of 2017 was a game-winner against Sacramento City College for a 2-0 advantage midway through the season.

Greer’s field of study is criminal justice and will pursue a career in law enforcement.

While at Jessup, her goal is to get her degree and grow as an individual making new friends.

Madison Leonhardt – traveling north from West Ranch High in Castaic, the incoming freshman played two years of varsity soccer for the Wildcats and also competed for Select Cities Soccer Club.

Leonhardt was part of the ‘Cats 2017 CIF Southern Section Division II playoff run. She contributed four goals her senior season, playing either midfield or forward.

Leonhardt joins her sister, Megan Leonhardt, who runs cross-country at William Jessup.

With a goal of working for the FBI, Madison Leonhardt will study public policy at the university, while maintaining her competitiveness on the field.

“I chose to come to William Jessup University because I wanted a well-rounded education. I will be able to grow in my faith while earning a higher education,” Leonhardt said. “I hope to succeed not only in the classroom, but on the field as well, and be an involved student within the Jessup community.”

Megan Maloney – a four-year defender with Berean Christian High School in Walnut Creek, Maloney also played for the Walnut Creek Soccer Club. The senior captain helped lead the Eagles to a 10-8-2 record and into the North Coast Section Winter Soccer Championships.

Maloney twice received Diablo-Foothill League all-league Honorable Mention recognition and looks forward to continuing her soccer career at the collegiate level. She will major in kinesiology with aspirations to become a physical therapist.

“I chose to come to William Jessup University because I fell in love with the school when I stayed there during one of the preview days, and then again when I went on my soccer recruiting trip,” Maloney said. “I look forward to getting my degree in kinesiology, pre-physical therapy and furthering my walk with Christ.”

Maddy Rojas – a Southern California native out of Whittier Christian High School, Rojas comes in after two years of playing varsity soccer for the Heralds and local club team AC Brea. A captain and center-midfielder at Whittier, Rojas played a key role for both teams. She was a strong leader her senior season for the Heralds and during her five seasons with the club.

“I liked the small Christian community and the opportunity to play soccer while in college,” Rojas said. “I would like to accomplish getting a degree with a good GPA, while playing soccer and making friends.”

Her field of study will be kinesiology, with plans to get her masters. Her career goal is to become a nutritionist and dietary nurse.  

“We look forward to competing against some of the best teams in the nation this year,” Constantini concluded. “This gives us an opportunity to continue to build upon our solid foundation. It is an exciting time to be a part of the women's soccer program as we progress as a team athletically, academically and spiritually.”