Season Preview: Defenders

Aug 15, 2013

BOISE, Idaho - The 2013 defending corps features both fresh faces and returning veterans. Three freshmen join the back line, including Kelli McCluskey, Hailey DeVries and transfer Allie Cummins.

Sophomore Kelsey Nicassio and junior Mikhaila Bowden bring top-level experience from the offseason back to Boise State. Both Bowden and Nicassio played last month in the US Youth Soccer Nationals Tournament with their club team, SoCal Blues. They ended up taking second, but both are excited to bring a winning mentality back to the collegiate level.

Bowden returns for her junior season with the most experience on the back line. The Huntington, Calif., native started 19 games last season and led the team in minutes played for the second-consecutive season. Bowden was also named to the Mountain West All-Academic Conference Team.

Nicassio played in 15 of the 20 games last year and took three shots on goal. This season, Nicassio looks to improve those numbers and support the attacking game.

"We're really excited to bring back that same championship game mentality," said Nicassio. "If we treat every game with importance, like a championship, then we can win games."

"Of course we want to go all the way," added Bowden. "But that means we have to stay disciplined and work hard every day as a team."

Sophomore Dominique Banks returns this season after a solid freshman debut. Banks made 17 appearances and 13 starts, also starting the last 12 games of the season. She tallied one point with a game-winning assist against Nevada.

"The back line is very talented and fast," said head coach Jim Thomas. "They are getting good reps and have an excellent attacking prowess. Mikhaila Bowden came out the gate strong, and she will be a force in the back for us this season. I've been very pleased with our transfer, Allie Cummins. She has been working very hard and is already gelling with the team."

Allie Cummins will play her first year of collegiate soccer after transferring from Oregon. The Bend, Ore., native played three years with the Oregon State ODP team and helped lead her club team to three State Cup Championships. During high school, Cummins was a two-time first team all-state selection.

Hailey DeVries, the Littleton, Colo., native comes to Boise State from Arapahoe High School where she split her time between soccer and track. Her high school soccer team advanced to the finals and semifinals of the 5A Colorado State Finals. DeVries was selected to the ODP team from 2008-10, helping her 19th ranking in the Rocky Mountains/Southwest region by TopDrawerSoccer.com

Tacoma, Wash., native Kelli McCluskey joins the Broncos from Decatur High School, where she was a four-year varsity letter-winner at Stadium and Decatur High. McCluskey was also a three-year member of the Washington State ODP team.

Check back for an inside look on the midfielders from assistant coach Madison Collins.


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