BATON ROUGE – LSU Soccer’s 2013 recruiting class earned recognition among the nation’s best in the preseason on the strength of its international pedigree, and the group backed up its reputation as three Tiger rookies were named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Freshman Best XI teams on Thursday with their performance in 2013.
LSU is the only school nationwide with more than one player named to the first and second teams on this year’s TopDrawerSoccer.com Freshman Best XI as attacking midfielder Emma Fletcher is a first-team selection and striker Summer Clarke and defender Megan Lee are each second-team selections while being named among the top 22 rookies in NCAA soccer for 2013.
Thursday’s announcement comes on the heels of a rookie season in which Clarke, Fletcher and Lee were also each named Second-Team All-SEC performers during their debut season in Baton Rouge.
It marked the first time in Southeastern Conference history that three freshmen from the same school were named to the All-SEC team that is released annually following a vote of the league’s head coaches.
While three Tigers have been honored among the nation’s top freshmen, other schools receiving one selection apiece include Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Harvard, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Portland, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Not only were they named among the “Freshman Best XI” this season, but each ended the season ranked among the Top 20 freshmen nationally in the final TopDrawerSoccer.com Women’s Freshmen Top 100 in 2013. Fletcher ended the season as the No. 8-ranked freshman nationally, while Clarke is the No. 13-ranked freshman and Lee is the No. 17-ranked freshman in the NCAA ranks this season.
Clarke, Fletcher and Lee helped form the nucleus of LSU’s Class of 2013 that received consensus recognition as one of the Top 15 recruiting classes in the country heading into the 2013 season. Their talent was certainly on display while leading a youthful Tiger squad into the top half of the SEC table in a tie for sixth place in the final league standings this season.
Clarke emerged as one of the SEC’s top goal scorers in her debut season at LSU as she was LSU’s top scorer with 10 goals and three assists for 23 points for 20 matches this season. She scored a total of eight goals in SEC play to tie for the No. 3 spot in the SEC, which includes three multi-goal games with a hat trick at Arkansas on Oct. 4 and two goals each at Alabama on Oct. 6 and Texas A&M on Oct. 31.
A native of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, Clarke was honored as the SEC Offensive Player of the Week and TopDrawerSoccer.com National Player of the Week after scoring five of LSU’s eight goals in a weekend sweep at Arkansas and Alabama in early October, including both game-winners.
Fletcher enjoyed a record-setting freshman season with the Tigers as one of the SEC’s top attacking midfielders while scoring one goal and serving up a team-leading 12 assists for 14 points on the year.
Fletcher’s 12 assists is a new LSU freshman record, breaking the school’s previous freshman mark of eight assists by now senior Addie Eggleston during her debut season in 2010. Fletcher was the SEC’s top assist maker in 2013 as her 12 assists in all games and eight assists in league play topped the SEC scoring charts. She is also tied for the No. 11 spot in the NCAA rankings with 12 assists on the season.
A native of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, Fletcher earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors in back-to-back weeks while scoring her first career goal in a 1-1 draw with Tennessee on Sept. 27 and assisting a game-winning goal in a 3-2 overtime victory over Mississippi State on Sept. 29 before dishing out four assists in LSU’s weekend sweep at Arkansas and Alabama.
Lee was the beneficiary of Fletcher’s service in a 3-2 overtime win against Mississippi State as she scored the game-winning Golden Goal in the 95th minute for her first career goal as an LSU Tiger.
Lee has proven herself as arguably the most versatile Tiger during the 2013 season while seeing action on each level of the field as a forward, midfielder and defender this fall. Primarily a defender in LSU’s setup, Lee is already one of the SEC’s top left backs while scoring one goal and dishing out three assists for five points on the year.
Unlike Clarke and Fletcher, Lee did not appear in each of LSU’s 11 SEC matches this year as she missed a home match with Georgia on Oct. 25 and a road match at Kentucky on Oct. 27 after being called into international duty with the Football Ferns of the New Zealand Women’s National Team for a two-game series with the world’s No. 1-ranked United States.
A product of Massey, Auckland, New Zealand, Lee took the next step in her footballing career while earning her first international cap at the senior level with the Football Ferns as a late substitution in New Zealand’s 1-1 draw with the United States in their friendly played at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 30.
TopDrawerSoccer.com Freshman Best XI for 2013
Rookie of the Year: Savannah Jordan, Florida
Position, Player, School
GK, Kailen Sheridan, Clemson
D, Maddie Bauer, Stanford
D, Kadeisha Buchanan, West Virginia
D, Christina Gibbons, Duke
M, Morgan Andrews, Notre Dame
M, Emma Fletcher, LSU
M, Rose Lavelle, Wisconsin
F, Darian Jenkins, UCLA
F, Jaycie Johnson, Nebraska
F, Savannah Jordan, Florida
F, Margaret Purce, Harvard
Position, Player, School
GK, Tarah Hobbs, Minnesota
D, Brittany Basinger, Penn State
D, Mandy Freeman, Southern California
D, Megan Lee, LSU
M, Nickolette Driesse, Florida State
M, Madisson Lewis, Michigan
M, Allison Wetherington, Portland
F, Summer Clarke, LSU
F, Marian Crowder, Georgia
F, Nichelle Prince, Ohio State
F, Murielle Tiernan, Virginia Tech