Illinois head coach Tricia Taliaferro and her staff signed three players on Thursday
Feb. 8, 2001
Champaign, Ill. - The Illinois soccer team reached the NCAA Tournament in just its fourth year of existence last season. Now Head Coach Tricia Taliaferro has another class in place that could help take the program to the next level. The coach announced the signing of three players on Thursday.
Taliaferro believes that this class will complement the current group of Illini well and ultimately help Illinois' quest for a Big Ten championship. The class includes Leisha Alcia, a 5-8 goalkeeper from Mississauga, Ontario, Tara Hurless, a 5-3 forward from Rockford (Ill.) Boylan High School, and Christine Sinak, a 5-5 midfielder from Webster Grove (Mo.) Nerinx Hall High School.
Alcia, a senior at St. Martin's High School, played for the Burlington Sting Club team which won the Canadian National Championship and posted a 54-4-3 record in 2000 after a two-year stint playing for Scarbrough Shadow, which won the national title in 1997. In addition Alicia was a member of the Ontario team for the past four years. That club claimed the provincial national title in 1999. Alicia earned a spot on the U18 National Team in 1999 and the U19 National Team in 2000.
"We saw Leisha on a recruiting trip out in Maryland last year," said Taliaferro. "When she came in and met the team, and the team met her, it was just an automatic fit. Her athleticism is definitely something that we needed in goal. She has the ability to come in and compete at a level that we've established here at Illinois. She's great off of her line and has courage-- all the things that you want in a goalkeeper."
Hurless earned first team All-Northern Illinois Conference Honors for the past three seasons as well as all-conference honors in women's basketball in 1999. Hurless, a three-time MVP for the Titans, has scored 91 goals and 65 assists in her three seasons. She had 25 goals and 21 assists in 1998, 31 goals and 25 assists in 1999, and 35 goals and 19 assists in 2000.
"Tara Hurless has speed, is a goal scorer, and is very technical, " explained Taliaferro. "She can play with both feet and is very tactically aware. Tara understands the game very well and has a different style that will complement the ones that are here."
Sinak earned First Team All-Metro honors as a junior in 2000 after posting career highs in both goals (10) and assists (10). She started as a freshman on the Nerinx Hall Marker team, which advanced to the Missouri State Final Four, but was injured most of the 1999 season. Sinak has made her mark as a member of the Busch Soccer Club team, which has won state titles each of the past five seasons. The Busch team won the WAGS Tournament in Washington, D.C., in 1996, while finishing runner-up in 1998. In 1998, the club earned Regional runner-up honors and was crowned champion at the Orange Classic Tournament and in 1999 won the regional to earn a spot in the national finals. Sinak also played for the regional team that toured Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France in 2000.
"Chris is one of those player who understands the game, is very technical and fit and someone who can play at a high level," said Taliaferro. "She could play the outside or in the back. As the years go on she's going to be a center mid. It's nice to get a player of her quality out of the hotbed of St. Louis."