Furman Lacrosse Signs Eleven to National Letters of Intent

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman head coach Rachel Whitten announced today the signing of 11 players to national letters of intent, establishing the inaugural women's lacrosse team at the school.

Furman will begin NCAA Division I intercollegiate competition as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2014-15. Members of this inaugural class will have four years of eligibility remaining, beginning with the 2014-15 season.

"I am very excited to announce Furman's first lacrosse recruiting class," said Whitten, who was named the head coach of the Paladin program last summer. "Each of these athletes is extremely talented and will have a huge impact on our team. The players come from five different states, which will broaden our style of play and each of theirs. I cannot wait for them to get to campus this fall."

Seven players from Maryland, midfielders Alyssa Cooper (Annapolis, Md.), Paige Gamble (Easton, Md.), Blake Gastley (Wolfsville, Md.), Haley Gray (Edgewater, Md.), and Ashley Trice (Berlin, Md.), defender/midfielder Jenna Stover (Cockeysville, Md.), and defender Sam Eckels (Towson, Md.), are joined in the Paladins' incoming class by midfielder Hope Herline (Brentwood, Tenn.), attacker Kristine Knowles (Toms River, N.J.), defender Nikki O'Reilly (Mount Sinai, N.Y.), and attacker/midfielder Taylor Thene (Wexford, Pa.).

Signee Position Height Hometown High School Club Team
Alyssa Cooper Midfield 5-8 Annapolis, Md. Annapolis CC Lax
Sam Eckels Defense 5-8 Towson, Md. Loch Raven TLC
Paige Gamble Midfield 5-7 Easton, Md. Easton Greene Turtle
Blake Gastley Midfield 5-10 Wolfsville, Md. Middletown Frederick Stars
Haley Gray Midfield 5-5 Edgewater, Md. South River Maryland United
Hope Herline Midfield 5-10 Brentwood, Tenn. Brentwood TNLAX
Kristine Knowles Attack 5-7 Toms River, N.J. Toms River North T-3
Nikki O'Reilly Defense 5-2 Mount Sinai, N.Y. Mount Sinai Long Island Elite
Jenna Stover Def./MF 5-7 Cockeysville, Md. McDonogh Skywalkers Blue
Taylor Thene Attack/MF 5-6 Wexford, Pa. Pine-Richland Intrepid
Ashley Trice Midfield 5-4 Berlin, Md. Stephen Decatur Greene Turtle

Alyssa Cooper - Midfield, Annapolis, Md. (Annapolis)
Helped Annapolis to the semifinals of the state championships ... competed on the varsity lacrosse team three-consecutive seasons ... also a four-year member of the varsity soccer team ... earned second-team all-county honors for soccer as a sophomore ... played on the varsity basketball team for three years, helping the team to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs ... earned the Minds in Motion award three times each year for four consecutive years ... a member of the National Honor Society. Personal: Alyssa Jane Cooper was born on January 15, 1995, in Annapols, Md. ... .daughter of Phil and Dorna Cooper.

Sam Eckels - Defense, Towson, Md. (Loch Raven)
Led her Loch Raven team to the finals of the state championships as a freshman and sophomore and to the semifinals as a junior ... four-year varsity starter ... honored as a GatorFest 2012 Standout ... earned the Old Faithful Award as a member of her TLC club team ... helped TLC to the Mid-Atlantic Championships in 2010-11 ... club team won the MD Club Championship, All-American Showcase Championship, and Downingtown Championship ... a four-year varsity starter on the soccer team ... twice honored as a member of the soccer all-county team ... helped soccer team to a state championship as a freshman ... earned Scholar Athlete accolades four-consecutive years ... a member of the National Honor Society, the Math Honor Society, and the Art Honor Society. Personal: Samantha Paige Eckels was born on January 6, 1995, in Towson, Md. ... .daughter of Steve and Tammie Eckels ... father, Steve, was a member of the soccer team at James Madison.

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