By Max Calderone | Sports Writer
Baylor soccer added four student-athletes from the 2018 class on Wednesday’s National Signing Day.
Head coach Paul Jobson announced incoming freshmen Kayley Ables, Maddie Algya, Taylor Moon and Elena Reyna have all signed their letters of intent to play collegiate soccer at Baylor.
“This is an exceptional class and I am extremely excited to have each of them signed today,” Jobson said in a press release. “Not only will they bring extraordinary talent to our team, but they will fit very well into our culture as a program here at Baylor.”
All four future Bears are from Texas. Three of the four signees, Algya, Moon and Reyna, come from the same club team, D’Feeters, based out of Farmers Branch. Algya and Moon also played together at Marcus High School in Highland Village.
Baylor will be without five graduating seniors next year in the 2018-2019 season: midfielders Caitlin Schwartz and Aline De Lima, defenders Tanner Kaplan and Precious Akanyirige, and defender/midfielder Delanie Davis. Though the new signees bring an attacking mindset, they may be asked to sit back and defend more in the absence of such key players.
Ables, a forward from Waco, chose to stay close to home by signing with Baylor. She played volleyball and soccer at Waco High School, earning the Waco Tribune-Herald’s Super Centex Player of the Year for her efforts. She currently holds her school’s record for career goals scored with 100 in just three seasons.
“We were excited to have Kayley, who is arguably one of the best soccer players to ever come out of Waco,” Jobson said. “She is an incredible competitor with a tremendous work rate and has a knack for scoring goals.”
Losing De Lima means losing goal-scoring abilities, as the midfielder from Brazil led the Bears with seven goals last season. Ables may be counted upon to bring more attacking skill with a nose for the goal.
Algya, a midfielder, serves as the captain of her team at Marcus High School. She has picked up all-district and all-state honors throughout her career, as well as being named Utility Player of the Year in her district twice.
“I think Maddie is one of the most underrated players in the country,” Jobson said. “She has a great soccer mind and works extremely hard to make other players look great on her team.”
Moon, a versatile attacker who can play both as a midfielder and forward, has racked up many awards throughout her career at Marcus. She was named her district’s Newcomer of the Year in 2015 and MVP in 2017. Perhaps most impressively, she has twice been selected to the ECNL National Tournament “Best XI” and is a two-time invitee of the Nike National Soccer Camp in Portland, Ore.
“Taylor [Moon] is an extremely talented player that is considered one of the top midfielders in the country,” Jobson said. “She has a great soccer IQ and can change the pace of the game with her decision-making abilities.”
Reyna, a forward from Flower Mound, is also a two-sport athlete, playing soccer and volleyball. She helped bring Flower Mound High School to a state title in 2016 and was named the MVP of the championship game.
“Elena [Reyna] is an extremely hard-working player that has the ability to make things happen all over the field for her team,” Jobson said.
With players like forward Lauren Piercy and midfielder Julie James set to return to the Bears, the new signees will have an opportunity to learn from seasoned veterans in order to produce when their number is called.
Baylor will play five exhibition games as part of its 2018 spring schedule, beginning with Houston Baptist on Feb. 24 at Betty Lou Mays Field.