New Carroll College soccer recruits are staying in Helena. Katie Martin (left); Ashley Carlson (center); Cailyn Wall (right) and Saints coach Dave Thorvilson (top). Andy Curtis/MTN Sports

(Editor’s note: Carroll College athletics release)

HELENA — Carroll College women’s soccer head coach David Thorvilson has announced the signing of five athletes for the 2018 class, including four Montanans, three of which are from Helena.

The Saints signed Katie Martin, a midfielder/forward and Cailyn Wall, a defender, both out of Helena High, and Ashley Carlson, an attacking midfielder/forward from Helena Capital High School. Joining the three Helena natives are Ellie Stevens, a defensive midfielder from Glacier High School in Kalispell, and McKenna Payne, a defensive midfielder from Great Oak High School in Temecula, Calif.

“All five of the kids have Montana connections, they are all tremendous athletes,” Thorvilson said. “I am excited about the mix of offensive and defensive mix in the class. It isn’t easy to get the top kids in the state to stay at home, but we are excited to get this group of athletes to stay in their back yard and play for Carroll.”

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The duo of Helena High players are coming off their second State Class AA title in three seasons.

Martin was a four-year letterwinner for the Bengals and a team captain in 2017. She earned All-Conference honors in 2015 and 2016 and finished her career with 25 goals and 33 assists.

She carries a 3.5 GPA, was Academic All-State all four years, is a member of the National Honor Society and is been recognized as an honor roll student.

“Katie had a tremendous high school career culminating with a State Championship her senior year,” Thorvilson said. “She is strong and athletic and score goals which we need to do better. We are excited to see her stay home and play at Carroll.”

While Martin was key for the Bengals on the offensive side, Wall was an important aspect of the defensive end of the field. She was named First-Team All-State on the championship team after earning being a four-year letterwinner for Helena High.

She also produced strong academic standing as a four-year Honor Roll Student. Her brother Braden just closed out his four-year career with the Carroll men’s soccer program.

“Helena High gave up very few goals on their way to the state championship this last year and Cailyn was a major factor in that defensive group,” Thorvilson said. “She has lots of pace and can help build the attack out of the back as well as recover into good defensive shape.”

Carlson brings an offensive punch. She was the third-leading scorer in Montana with 15 goals this season. She was a two-year captain and led the Bruins to a state Class-A Runner Up finish in 2016 and a second-place finish in the Division in 2017.

She Carries a 4.0 GPA and was a four-year Honor Roll honoree. She was also named Academic All-State for three seasons.

“Ashley is a very creative player that can score goals or set other players up,” Thorvilson said. “She is a soccer junky and always looking for opportunities to play and I think her teammates will really enjoy playing with her.

“I am very excited to get these three Helena athletes, they have grown up playing together in club and against one another in high school and those bonds will help them transition into the collegiate setting.”

Stevens is a two-year captain and an All-State player for Glacier High. She is a three-time All-Conference honoree. She was also the basketball team captain and the 2016-17 basketball Defensive MVP.

She led the Wolfpack to a pair of Class AA state tournament appearances.

Academically, she carries a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society, earned the AP Merit Distinction and was the principle cellist in the Glacier High Chamber Orchestra.

“Ellie came to our soccer camp the last few summers and continues to impress our coaching staff,” Thorvilson said. “She can play a central defensive role and was a been a leader on her club and high school teams.”

The final signee may be from California, but she has Montana roots. Payne’s mother is a Montana native.

She was a three-year letterwinner at Great Oak and just completed her senior season, earning First-Team All-Southwest League honors. She is a District Scholar Honor recipient with a 4.86 GPA.

“I have had to pleasure to watch McKenna play in a few college showcase tournaments over the last two years,” Thorvilson said. “She plays for a tremendous club put together a great senior year. I am excited to see what she does in her next four years.

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