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The University of South Carolina at Lancaster Lancers women’s soccer coaches have been busy in the last week, signing area players for the USCL program.
The USCL women’s soccer program’s latest coup came at Andrew Jackson High where Lady Vols’ standouts Ashleigh Aiello and Katherine Killingsworth joined the Lancers.
The AJ duo signed with the Lancers on Tuesday afternoon in the school’s media center.
Aiello, a two-sport standout at AJ where she also plays basketball, is a four-year member of the Lady Vols’ soccer team. She also captained the Lady Vols’ basketball team this winter.
Her play at sweeper has been a spark in AJ’s defensive play this spring.
“She has played exceptionally well in the defensive position of sweeper when we have used a diamond shape in our defense, or played the faster defender in the double-center setup we have used this year,” AJ girls coach Ronnie Wall said.
A two-year captain of the AJ girls soccer team, Aiello was recognized as the Best New Player in her freshman season, and has earned four letters.
“Ashleigh has a great work ethic, almost never missing practice. Earlier this year, after running her own mile at the end of practice, and finishing in the front group of players, Ashleigh joined in and ran with the players who were struggling to complete their mile in the required time. As she ran with them, she shouted encouragement for them to pick up the pace and sprint to the end. That leadership by example contributed to her being selected as a captain in her junior and senior seasons.
“Ashleigh is a gifted athlete, and has learned the skills of soccer well, but it is the ‘heart’ she brings to the field when she competes that sets her apart from others. She will drive herself to stop an oncoming offensive player in all situations.
“I am thrilled for Ashleigh to have the chance to continue to compete with the Lancers soccer program. She has earned the opportunity through hard work and dedication,” Wall said.
Killingsworth, a four-year letterman, has played mainly in the outside defensive position until her senior season.
“She played well as a defender, but she has really improved herself as a player this year
“In the summer and fall of 2010, she worked hard to improve her fitness and came into fall tryouts eager to show she could help the Lady Vols offensive attack,” Wall said.
Killingsworth was selected as a captain for her senior season and has played in the left side of the midfield.
“She has become an important offensive member of the team, scoring seven goals to this point in the season, and winning the Golden Boot Award during the Ben Lippen Easter Classic in April for scoring more goals in three matches than any other player,” Wall said. “Katherine will get a chance to improve even more next year under the coaching staff at USCL, and she will give them another offensive weapon in the attack.”
USCL coach Randy Jordan is elated to have both AJ players.
“We look for them to come in and contribute off the bat,” Jordan said. “They will be assets at USCL.”
Both players are happy for the chance.
“It’s an up and coming program and I’m glad to be part of it,” Killingsworth said.
“I’m very excited and I know this will be a good experience,” Aiello said.