PISCATAWAY, NJ – Rutgers women’s lacrosse second-year head coach Laura Brand has announced the signing of six standout student-athletes to national letters of intent to further their academic and athletic careers at Rutgers University beginning with the 2004-2005 academic year.
The class includes two attackers, three midfielders and one defender. Four of the six members hail from the state of Maryland, including three from Baltimore.
Rutgers’ newest class includes attackers Rachel Walker Bruce (Arnold, MD) and Katie Peloquin (Baltimore, MD), midfielders Valerie Depelteau (West Windsor, NJ), Courtney Wernick (Baltimore, MD) and Kate Shomo (Medford, NJ), and defender Sarah Williams (Baltimore, MD). All six recruits signed during the NCAA’s early signing period.
“Our program is elated about this recruiting class,” said Brand. “They are a perfect mix of talent and determination and we expect them to make an immediate impact. We achieved one of our main goals with this class, which was to improve the overall height of our team. With two players over 6’0” and three over 5’9”, we have added an unparalleled element to our future. This class brings outstanding academic and athletic prowess to our program, and only increases our expectations.”
Bruce was a First Team All-County selection and Second Team pick by the Baltimore Sun and Annapolis Capitol during her junior season at Broadneck High School in Annapolis, MD. She tallied 52 points last season to lead her team to its second-consecutive 4A-3A State Championship. The Bruins finished the season ranked third in the area by the Washington Post. Bruce was also a member of the field hockey team, guiding the group to the 4A state title in 2002. She was the team’s top scorer, earning All-County Second Team honors in 2002 and 2003. Bruce also competes for the Team Elite club in Annapolis.
Depelteau is one of five signees to stand 5-9 or taller. She is a three-year letterwinner for West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North in Plainsboro, NJ. She has registered 81 goals and 33 assists through three years with the Knights. Depelteau had a standout junior season, tallying 43 goals and 24 assists to lead her team to a 13-3-1 record, reaching the semifinal round of the New Jersey state tournament. She led her team in assists and was the top scorer in the area last season, earning Second Team All-Mercer County accolades. Her high school team has improved each season, making the first round of the state tournament her freshman year with a 9-3 mark, before advancing to the second round in 2002 and the semifinals of the state-wide tournament last season. Depelteau received the team’s Most Improved Award, following a 26-goal, three-assist performance as a sophomore. She has competed one year with the Tri-State Lacrosse South club team in Hightstown, NJ.
Peloquin is one of two members of this class to stand six-foot tall, joining Wernick. She was a member of the junior varsity team her freshman and sophomore seasons, before moving up to varsity last season at Maryvale Preparatory High School in Brooklandville, MD. She had a standout junior season for the Lions, earning a spot on the 300 All Star Team in 2003. She has competed for three years with Williams as a member of the Skywalkers club team, which went undefeated in the All-Star Express Tournament. Peloquin is also a three-year member of the varsity basketball team and a four-year member of the volleyball squad. In basketball, she was named the area’s “Top Rebounder” by the Baltimore Sun last season and was a member of the All-Tournament Team in 2002-03. Peloquin also played AAU basketball with the Waves in 2002.
Shomo is a four-year letterwinner out of Shawnee High School in Medford, NJ. She has led the Renegades to the Olympic-American Division title her first three years and a runner-up finish in the State Tournament her first two seasons at Shawnee. Shomo enters her final season with 87 goals and 55 assists for her career. She scored 51 goals and 35 assists last season, garnering First Team All-Conference honors, while being named a Third Team member of the National Tournament. Shomo was selected to play for the National Team following the season. During her three-year career at Shawnee, the Renegades have amassed a 58-6 record. A standout runner as well, Shomo competed on the cross country team her freshman and sophomore years and winter track team during her sophomore year. She was a member of the 4X800 team that ranked 15th nationally in track. Shomo finished first in the Freshman State Cross Country race in Holmdel, NJ in 2001.
A three-sport athlete, Wernick (6-0) enters her senior season with 70 goals and 29 assists for the Parkville High School lacrosse team. She also excels in soccer, where she led her school to three Parkville Invitational titles as a team captain, and was named to the Senior All-Star Team this past fall. Wernick also captains her varsity basketball team this winter. She helped her team to the county championship with a 22-2 record as a sophomore. Wernick scored 49 goals and recorded 22 assists for the lacrosse team last season to earn First Team All-Division and All-County accolades. She has improved each season, after scoring seven goals her freshman season and 24 during her sophomore campaign. She plays her club ball with the Baltimore Skywalkers, along with Peloquin and Williams.
Williams (5-9) hails from Garrison Forest High School in Owings Mills, MD, where she is a three-time letterwinner. Williams has started every game for Garrison Forest the past two seasons, earning Most Valuable Player honors her freshman season. Last season, her strong defensive effort guided her school to the championship of the Santa Fe Tournament. Williams is also a standout in the classroom. She was named to the honor roll her past two years, while garnering high honor roll and effort honor roll laurels during her junior year. Williams is the third member of this class from the Baltimore Skywalkers club team, where she was a First Team All-Star. She also is a four-year MVP for the soccer team, while lettering three times in field hockey at Garrison Forest.
Brand guided Rutgers to a 12-4 record, including a 3-3 mark in the BIG EAST, the most league wins in program history in her inaugural season with the Scarlet Knights. RU finished fourth in the conference while Brand was named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year. Rutgers will open the 2004 season with an exhibition contest at No. 8 Loyola on Sunday, Feb. 22, before beginning its regular season at home against Northwestern on Feb. 28.