Women’s Soccer: Fresh faces help team rebuild after graduating key members


The 2016 women’s soccer team celebrates winning the American Conference tournament on Nov. 6, 2016. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus) 

Entering his 37th season at the helm of UConn women’s soccer program head coach Len Tsantiris was tasked with replacing with a very talented senior class, that included All-American’s Steph Ribeiro and Rachel Hill who were selected in the 2017 NWSL Draft. Similarly, major contributors, Emily Armstrong, Maddie Damm and Tori Patterson, all graduated.

Tsantiris welcomes a class of 13, that includes freshman and transfers to Storrs this season with two forwards, four midfielders, six defenders and one goalkeeper joining the Huskies.

Vivian Beil, Forward: Beil comes to UConn from the University of Maine where she played two seasons after coming to the United States from Germany.

In Germany, Beil was a regular in the German youth national team setup, representing her home country at the U16, U17, & U19 levels. Beil played five matches in Germany’s fourth place finish at the 2012 U17 World Cup.

At Maine, Beil had success earning an America East Rookie of the year award, in addition to twice being named to the All-Conference First Team. In her freshman year, Beil led the team with five assists and also had three goals. Her sophomore season she was named team captain, and led the team with three goals on the season.

Beil started the Huskies home opener against Syracuse.

Melina Couzis, Midfield: Couzis, is a native of Baldwin Place, N.Y.

Couzis was a highly decorated player at Somers High School, with 60 goals and 63 assists across her four year varsity career.

Couzis got the start in UConn’s home opener against Syracuse, slotting into the midfield.

Sara da Silva, Defense: The Freshman from Danbury, is one of various players in this years recruiting class to stay in Connecticut.

Da Silva, was named an FCIAC All-Conference performer three times during her time at Danbury High School.

In addition to soccer, da Silva also had success on the track in high school. The Danbury native competed at both the 2012 and 2013 National Junior Olympic Games in the 800m.

Sophia Danyko-Kulchycky, Midfield: Another New Yorker, Danyo-Kulchycky is from Chappaqua and attended Greeley High School.

During her senior year, Danyko-Kulchycky was named, All-Region, All-State Second Team, All-Section and All-league team member, as she left her school as the all time leader in goals and assists.

Kess Elmore, Forward: Elmore is another player in the class with an international pedigree as she arrives from England.

The forward played for Liverpool Ladies FC where she won the 2014 Youth FA Cup before coming stateside. Ellmore was also a youth international at the U20 level for England.

Yamilee Eveillard, Defender: Eveillard joins the Huskies from Valley Stream North High School.

Eveillard was a three-time All-County team member (2014-16) and Conference player of the year at Valley North. The defender also has a track and field background, lettering twice in high school.

Eveillard started in the Huskies season-opener against Syracuse on the right side of the midfield.

Courtney Hofer, Goalkeeper: The Farmington native returns to her home state after three seasons at TCU.

Last year, Hofer made a career-high 11 starts for the Horned Frogs, making 18 saves and averaging .64 goals against during that time. Hofer also saw time during her freshman and sophomore seasons.

Paige Liebel, Defense: Liebel joins the Huskies from Saint Petersburg, Florida.T

he defender had past success with her club team, Tampa Bay United ECNL, winning the United States Youth Soccer National Championship in 2015.

Additionally, she competed in Germany for Turbine Potsdam in the Junior Bundesliga.

Rachel Marchini, Defense: Another Connecticut native, Marchini is originally from Waterford.

At Montville High School, Marchini was a three-time All-Conference member and was also named to the All-State team twice.

Like some of her fellow newcomers, Marchini has also had success on the track, setting school records in the 300 meter hurdles and the 4X400 meter relay.

Julia Petrillo, Defense: Petrillo comes to Storrs via Tampa, Florida.

In high school, Petrillo helped her team to the school’s first district and regional championships and was as the team captain and defensive MVP in her senior season.

Petrillo, also made history when she became the school’s first ever cross country runner to win a meet.

Visiliky Rikos, Midfield:  The native of Westhampton, Mass. will remain in New England this season.

Rikos, played for Hampshire Regional High School where she was a three-year captain and was twice named Team MVP. The midfielder concluded her high school career with 16 goals and 12 assists. She was also twice named All-Western Mass.

Elena Santos, Defender: Santos, a Connecticut native, joins the Huskies from instate rivals Fairfield, where she played two seasons.

Prior to college, Santos attended Conard High School where she holds the school record for goals. Santos was also a team captain her senior season and was named to the All-CCC West team.

At Fairfield, Santos saw action in 31 matches over two years, with 16 starts in her sophomore year as the defender was an integral part in four of her team’s shutouts.

Santos, got the nod in the Huskies first game of the season against Syracuse at right back.

Zoe Steck, Forward: Steck joins UConn from Nutley, N.J. where she rewrote various school records.

During her four year career at Nutley High School, Steck scored 107 career goals and collected 47 assists. This tally was good enough to earn her the distinction as the all-time leading scorer in school history(male/female) as well as the record for most goals in a freshman season with 27. Steck was also a four-time First Team All-Conference performer.

Steck scored her first career goal in the Huskies first game of the season against Syracuse, that ended tied at one apiece.

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