(Editor's note: Carroll College media release)
HELENA -- Carroll College women's soccer coach Dave Thorvilson announced the initial signees of his 2020 recruiting class on Thursday.
Thorvilson and the Fighting Saints will welcome in Emily Funseth, Morgan Ferestad, Zoie Althoff, Emily Sondag and Natalie Brown.
Funseth, Ferestad and Althoff all come to Carroll after stellar prep careers in Montana.
"There is a great group of players coming out of the state this year and we feel very fortunate to have gotten three of the best," Thorvilson said.
Funseth, of Great Falls, will graduate from C.M. Russell later this spring. She is a four-year starter for the Rustlers, who capped off her career in the midfield with three goals and two assists in her senior year. She helped CMR to a playoff victory, was twice named all-conference, awarded her team's offensive MVP, given the Rustler Award and voted a team captain.
"We are very excited to have Emily come into our program," Thorvilson said. "She has been attending our summer camp with her high school team for years and impressed us at a young age. Her vision in the midfield has made her one of the best players in the state and I can't wait to see her transition to the college game."
She played club soccer for the Montana Rush, Montana United, Rocky Mountain FC and the Montana Development Program. She also has played basketball for CMR since her freshman year, earning a letter each season.
She is the daughter of Danielle and Michael Funseth and her brother Cole Funseth also is a Saint. She intends to pursue a sociology criminology degree and currently holds a 4.0 GPA.
"Carroll is a great soccer program," Funseth said. "The school has amazing academics and I wanted to follow in my big brother's footsteps."
Ferestad comes to the Saints out of Billings, where she attends Billings Central High. The forward posted senior year totals of 28 goals, 5 assists and spent all four years in high school as a varsity starter for the Rams. She helped the Rams win two state championships and place runner-up two more times. She has been an all-state selection four years and broke the Class A season scoring record while also setting the career scoring record of 118 goals.
"Morgan's high school accolades speak for themselves. She scores goals and sets up her teammates," Thorvilson said. "She was our first commitment last year and everybody wants a goal scorer like her on their team."
She played club soccer for the Billings Magic City and United Club.
"Carroll will be an avenue for me to get the education that I have always wanted and continue to be surrounded in a faith-based community," Ferestad said.
She is the daughter of Terry and Sarah Ferestad and plans to study biology with an emphasis in pre-med education. She comes to Carroll with a 4.0 GPA.
Althoff partnered with Ferestad in high school, creating a potent duo for the Rams. Althoff scored 26 goals and recorded 16 assists in her senior campaign. She is a four-year member of the varsity team. During her career with the Rams, she helped the team go 10-2 in playoff games, including two state championships and two state runner-ups. She was a three-time all-state pick and a four-time all-conference selection. She recorded 78 career goals and broke the all-class state assists career record with 49 set-ups.
She played club soccer with Edge Soccer, while also playing for Billings United and Magic City, RMFC for one year, and two years of MDP.
"I chose Carroll to bring out the best in myself academically, athletically and spiritually," Althoff said.
She plans to study occupational therapy or nursing and brings a 4.0 GPA with her to Carroll.
Sondag, a forward and defender out of Richland, Washington, comes to Carroll after closing out her career at Hanford High School. She spent four years on varsity and was a co-captain her senior season. She scored nine goals to close out her final season, bringing her career total to 29 goals. She is a two-time all-conference selection, and helped her team to a fourth place finish at state in 2016.
"Emily has come to camp the last two years and I got to watch her club team play in Las Vegas last year," Thorvilson said. "She is very good technically with the ball and can take players on through the middle and final third of the field."
She played club soccer for the Three Rivers Soccer Club.
"I chose Carroll because of its academic reputation, religious affiliation and successful soccer team," Sondag said.
She is the daughter of Joe and Usa Sondag. She plans to study nursing at Carroll and holds a 3.76 GPA.
Brown comes to Carroll out of Pasadena, California, where she attended Flintridge Preparatory School. She scored 10 goals and recorded six assists in 15 games her senior year. The left back/wing also helped her team record 11 shutouts. She played four seasons of varsity soccer, helping her team win its league three consecutive seasons and advancing to the state championships with a best finish of second place.
"Natalie is our one true defender in this group," Thorvilson said. "I watched her play last spring in a Southern California college showcase and she impressed me from minute one. Her style of play is very similar to ours and after visiting campus this fall we both knew it would be a great fit."
She played club soccer for Real SoCal, SoCal Academy and FC Valencia SWAP.
She is the daughter of Warren and Jennifer Brown.
"I first learned about Carroll through family," Brown said. "I fell in love with the people, the soccer program and the campus."
She plans to study environmental science and anthrozoology. She comes to Carroll with a 3.72 GPA.
Thorvilson expects to add a few more recruits in the coming months to an already strong class.