CU Buffs women’s soccer
The Buffs missed the NCAA Tournament after a late fade, so it seems fitting the Colorado soccer team has turned its attention to 2023, as head coach Danny Sanchez and his staff signed seven newcomers on Wednesday.
Jamie Campbell (Newbury Park, Calif.), Kyla Celayta (Grand Junction, Colo.), Claire Curran (San Diego, Calif.), Grace Thao (Irvine, Calif.), Angelina Moschetti (Irvine, Calif.), Hope Leyba (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Faith Leyba (Phoenix, Ariz.) all signed letters of intent and officially became Buffaloes.
“With us losing seven talented seniors, it was vital that we brought in a class that can compete right away,” Sanchez said in a release. “This incoming group can. They all come from super competitive club environments. They have all excelled on a national stage and have all the attributes to push our soccer program to the next level. We are excited to get them to Boulder this summer.”
Campbell is a 5-foot-10 goalkeeper out of Newbury Park, Calif. She has earned three letters in soccer at Newbury Park High School and has played with LAFC So Cal Youth at the club level. Last season she was First-Team All-Conference and a Coaches’ MVP. She has a four-star rating from TopDrawerSoccer.com and is also ranked the No. 7 goalkeeper in the county by TDS. Campbell has had multiple USYNT training invites and has attended numerous ODP camps.
“We feel Jamie has all the physical and mental attributes to be an impact goalkeeper in the Pac-12,” Sanchez said. “She is a great shot blocker and is very confident in her distribution. Jamie is always seeking extra individual training, in addition to her work with LAFC So Cal ECNL. Her game has really grown over the past few years.”
Celayta is the lone homegrown Colorado prospect in the incoming class. The 5-foot-11 defender comes to Boulder from Fruita Monument High School in Grand Junction. She will be a four-year letterwinner and has also lettered in volleyball and track and field. Celayta is a two-time All-Conference selection and a team captain. Fruita Monument has won the Southwest League Championship each season. Celayta played club with Arizona Arsenal ECNL, while also earning EFA Female Athlete of the Year in 2019 with Utah ODP. Her grandfather, Terry Dahlberg, played football and ran track for the Buffaloes.
“Kylah is a player that really stood out at one of our ID camps,” Sanchez said. “She has made a huge commitment to travel from Grand Junction to play with Arizona Arsenal ECNL. We like how her game has grown over the past couple of years. Kylah already has the physical qualities you look for in a Pac-12 central defender.”
Curran is a 5-4 forward out of San Diego, Calif. She will be a four-year letterwinner at Cathedral Catholic High School. As a junior, she recorded 16 goals and led the CIF San Diego section with 14 assists. She was First Team All-Western League as a junior, upgrading from her honorable mention selection as a sophomore. She captained the team to a 21-3-2 record last season, winning the Western League. She has won national championships and has been runner-up at many national and regional tournaments with San Diego Surf. Curran was invited to the 2020 SoCal USYNT camp and has been in the ODP player pool.
“Claire is lightning quick and fantastic on the dribble,” Sanchez said. “She has an unbelievable work ethic and has been an impact player for San Diego Surf ECNL for years. Claire can play anywhere wide and can leave her mark on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.”
Thao, a 5-3 midfielder, is a native of Irvine, Calif. Thao scored six goals last season and handed out 10 assists. In three seasons, she has totaled 24 goals and 23 assists. She was All-CIF and Offensive Player of the Year last season and is a multiple-time All-Trinity League selection. Thao has played for West Coast Futbol Club, while also earning USL Academy Cup MVP. She is a three-star recruit and ranked No. 27 in the Southern California region by TDS.
“Grace is a super creative attacking player that can play up top, or in an advanced midfield role, Sanchez said. “She is a fantastic ball striker who is equally adept at scoring goals as she is at setting them up. Grace plays her club soccer with West Coast GA, but also trains and plays in the UPSL. She is seeking out additional avenues to train and get better that will really prepare her for Pac-12 soccer.”
Moschetti comes to Boulder from Irvine, Calif, and Santa Margarita Catholic High School. She helped SMC go 11-5-2 last season, earning Defensive MVP honors. Moschetti is a multiple Trinity League All-Conference selection and won the conference championship in 2020. She is rated a three-star player and the No. 37 player in the Southern California region by TDS. She played club with HB Koge Slammers and was Second Team ECNL All-Southwest Conference in 2021.
“Angelina is a prototypical left back,” Sanchez said. “She works both sides of the ball, but really excels when she gets forward and supports the attack. Angelina plays for Slammers HB Koge ECNL, which competes at the highest levels in the country. She has a great feel for the game and left foot service that will really add to our ability to get forward out of the back.”
Hope Leyba is a 5-foot-10 forward out of Phoenix. She goes to Boulder Creek High School but has not played for BHS due to full-time play in ECNL. Hope has played for the Utah Royals FC-AZ ECNL and is ranked as the No. 2 player in the Rocky Mountains and Southwest Region. Leyba also is the No. 12 forward in the nation by TDS.
“Hope is a flat-out goal scorer,” Sanchez said. “Her competitiveness is off the charts. Hope is already physically ready to compete and excel in the Pac-12. She is an excellent ball striker with both feet, has a huge impact in the air and gladly sets up her teammates as well. In addition to her attacking prowess, she does a great job on the defensive side of the ball.”
Faith Leyba is a 5-foot-10 defender. Like her sister, she attends Boulder Creek High School but has not played at the high school level. Faith was First Team ECNL Southwest All-Conference in 2022, playing for the Utah Royals FC-AZ. Faith is ranked No. 20 in the Rocky Mountains and Southwest Region by TDS.
“Faith has all the qualities you look for in a Pac-12 central defender,” Sanchez said. “She is a no-nonsense 1v1 defender, who tackles with purpose and shows great leadership to the players around her in the back. Faith is dominant in the air and is a great ball striker out of the back. In addition to her defensive work, Faith is very dangerous going forward on set pieces.”
CU Buffs women’s volleyball
The Buffs signed five student-athletes Wednesday, adding outside hitter Sydney Jordan from Houston, and pinhitters Ana Burilovic and Lily Dwinell. Dwinell grew up in San Clemente, Calif., while Burilovic hails from Split, Croatia and is the lone international recruit in the group. Middle blocker Cayla Payne of Carlsbad, Calif., and outside hitter and libero Avery Bolles from Andover, Minn., round out the class.
“We are thrilled to welcome such a deep and talented class of student-athletes to Boulder in 2023. With this group we’ve added great size, skill and athleticism to our program while adding talent and depth at nearly every position,” CU head coach Jesse Mahoney said. “Each are exceptional student-athletes who will represent the University of Colorado well on the court, as well as in the classroom and the Boulder community.”
“This class will form the bedrock of our program for years to come and [the class] makes me excited for the future of Colorado volleyball,” Mahoney added. “We will be adding to this outstanding class in the spring.”
Sydney Jordan: Jordan is a 6-foot-3 outside hitter from Houston, Texas, and will be joining CU this spring to get an early start on her Buff career. She helped lead Ridge Point High School to four district championships and two State Final Four third place finishes (2021 and 2019). Jordan is only the second player in Ridge Point school history to record at least 1,100 kills and 1,200 digs during her career.
“Sydney is one of the premier six-rotation outside hitters in the 2023 class. With her size and athleticism, she has the potential to be an elite scorer at our level,” said Mahoney. “But what really separates Sydney is her volleyball IQ and her ability to play in all phases of the game. Sydney is highly motivated, and we are excited to have her joining us next January to get a head start in learning the collegiate game.”
Jordan comes from a highly athletic family. Her father was a First Team All-American soccer player at Clemson and went on to play professionally for 15 years. Her mother played varsity volleyball at the University of North Carolina and was also an All-American. Her brother is a sophomore in high school and plays volleyball as well.
According to PrepVolleyball, Jordan is currently ranked 40th for all positions in the 2023 class and was named a 2022 AVCA All-American. She was also a part of the USA Volleyball National Team Development Program.
The outside hitter was recruited by Utah, Pitt, Louisville, North Carolina, Pepperdine, University of San Diego, Illinois, and Oregon, but chose Colorado for her next chapter because it felt like home to her, she loved the beautiful campus and athletic facilities, and she wanted to play in the Pac-12.
Lily Dwinell: Dwinell is a 6-foot-2 pinhitter from San Clemente, Calif. She played all four years at San Clemente High School, and she helped her team achieve a 24-10 record this past season. One of the biggest moments of her high school career was winning league MVP her senior year. While playing club, Dwinell earned an Open Junior National Championship in 2019.
“Lily is one of the most dynamic attackers in the 2023 class. She has a heavy arm, attacks from a very high point, and has experience playing on both the left and the right pin,” Mahoney said. “We look forward to continuing her development as an attacker while also focusing on training Lily to become a future six-rotation player at the collegiate level.”
Dwinell was a part of the USA Volleyball National Team Development Program. In addition to playing indoor volleyball, one of Dwinell’s main pastimes is going to the beach to play beach volleyball.
She was also recruited by the University of Indiana, but she ultimately chose to become a Buff because she loved the culture of the team and the beauty of the campus.
Cayla Payne: Payne is a 6-foot-4 middle blocker from Carlsbad, Calif. She played at Carlsbad high school all four seasons and helped lead her team to a D1 second place finish her junior year. Payne stated this was one of her favorite moments of her high school career. Payne also teamed up with Dwinell during the past club season at Wave Volleyball Club. Additionally, the middle was nominated for the AVCA’s Best and Brightest Award along with being named an AVCA All-American.
“Physically, Cayla is a prototypical Pac-12 middle blocker,” said Mahoney. “She has great size at 6-4 and is explosive both laterally as a blocker and vertically as an attacker. She is very skilled; she’s comfortable attacking in front of the setter as well as behind off of one foot on the slide. But what I’m most excited about regarding Cayla is her motor and high level of competitiveness. Cayla gets after it on every play, and that’s what will make her an elite player at the middle blocker position.”
Payne chose CU because she felt like it was an excellent fit almost as soon as she stepped onto campus. The coaching staff and the campus culture, along with her future teammates, helped the middle blocker make her decisions.
Ana Burilovic: Burilovic is a 6-foot pinhitter from Split, Croatia. She was a national school volleyball champion for the 2021-22 school year and achieved seventh place on the World school volleyball championship the same year. She has played in the Croatian premier league for four years. This year, she won a U20 National Championship, earned the “Best Spiker Award” for the third year in a row, and achieved the MVP award for the fourth consecutive year.
“Ana has all the tools to be an elite six-rotation outside hitter. She’s an explosive athlete with a heavy arm and range at both pins,” Mahoney said. “With her experience playing at the highest levels within Croatia, as well as her experience representing Croatia internationally, we feel Ana will be able to transition into the collegiate game and compete early in her career.”
Outside of volleyball, Burilovic plays the piano, loves to solve Sudoku or crossword puzzles, and speaks four languages.
Avery Bolles: Bolles is a 5-foot-10 outside hitter and libero from Andover, Minn., who will be joining the Buffs this spring season. While at Andover High School, Bolles topped 1,100 kills and 1,200 digs. She helped her team achieve a 22-8 record this season and was named to the Andover All-Region Team. Additionally, Bolles was a 2022 Minnesota Ms. Baden Nominee and made 2022 All-State.
“Avery has played the majority of her career as a dynamic, but undersized outside hitter who has more than held her own at an elite level of competition. I’m looking forward to her maintaining that aggressive mentality as she transitions into the libero role,” Mahoney said. “Avery has a natural platform, exceptional athleticism and great defensive instincts; all the ingredients needed to become an elite libero. Along with Sydney, Avery has chosen to get a head start on her training and will be joining the program in January.”
Both of Bolles’ parents attended Bemidji State University. While there, her father played hockey and her mother played volleyball. Her sister is a sophomore in college and is a competitive spikeball player.
Bolles was also recruited to UND, North Dakota State University, Campbell, Mississippi State, and Charleston College, but she chose CU because she felt at home with the coaching staff, campus location, and team environment.
Next year’s incoming class will be bolstered by this season’s three true freshmen — Rian Finley, Kendall Meller and Emma DeSensi — all of whom are redshirting.
CU Buffs men’s golf
Brandon Knight, the 2022 California state high school champion, signed a letter of intent on Wednesday to join the Buffs.
Knight, from Foothill High School in Pleasanton, Calif., captured the CIF state championship at San Gabriel Country Club with a 5-under par 66. He shot 33 on each nine and finished with a tournament-high seven birdies and just two bogeys. One down heading into the final two holes, he birdied No. 17 to overtake his closest competitor, who bogeyed; both finished up with pars and he claimed the title.
Knight recorded several other top amateur performances over the last year, highlighted by a win in the FCG (Future Champions Golf) National Tour event at Franklin Canyon, where he shot 70-73—143. He took the runner-up spot in the FCG at Nor Cal Bay View (73-77—150) and was third in the FCG at Nor Cal Pleasanton (75-74—149).
In 2021, Knight won the FCG Callaway World Championship with a 73-67-64—204 (12-under par) scorecard at Temecula (Calif.) Creek Country Club.
He said he selected Colorado because he “loved the campus, the location and the practice facilities. Both coach (Roy) Edwards and (assistant) coach (Derek) Tolan are great coaches, and I saw a lot of potential to improve my game over the next four years.”
Edwards added: “Brandon is one of the top junior golfers in the state of California. He has had a really strong junior and high school career and continues to get better and better. We expect him to come in right away next fall and be a solid player.”
CU Buffs women’s golf
Vanessa Ngo and Carolyn Fuller have signed National Letters of Intent to join the University of Colorado women’s golf team for the 2023-24 season, head coach Anne Kelly announced on Thursday.
Ngo, from Vallejo, Calif., is a nine-time winner on the Southern California PGA Jr. Tour. She is ranked 35th in her graduating class and 82nd in the nation according to Junior Golf Scoreboard.
“Vanessa was a summer find for our program; what I like to call a ‘fly under the radar’ player,” Kelly said. “She had some very good performances this summer that got her noticed by CU and other top DI golf programs. Luckily, she liked what she saw at Colorado and committed to us this fall.”
Ngo is a two-time medalist at the Southern California Golf Association’s Foundation Cup (2019 and 2021). She placed second at the 2022 Pasadena Women’s Amateur Championship at Brookside Golf Club, which included a personal-best 66 in the first round. Ngo was second at the 2022 FCG National Tour Series at the Temecula Creek Golf Club and 23rd at the 2022 IMG Junior World Championship at Torrey Pines.
“Vanessa possesses a very competitive, hardworking, dedicated, disciplined character in both golf and academics. She has not had the opportunity to compete often at a national level, but has had success in the competitive California area. We are looking forward to Vanessa joining our team and giving her the opportunity to excel in the Pac-12 Conference and DI level.”
Fuller, a native of Phoenix, is in her senior year at Pinnacle High School. She was a member of the 2021 All-Arizona Girls Golf Team by AZCentral.com and placed third in the Arizona State Girls Division I meet.
As a sophomore in 2020, Pinnacle won the High School Golf National Invitational Tournament. She helped Pinnacle to the 2019 Arizona State Division I title, tying for fifth individually. Fuller was an honorable mention to the 2021 Sports360AZ All-Academic Team.
“We are very excited to have Carolyn join our team next fall,” Kelly said. “She was an early verbal for us last year, so it’s been a long wait to officially call her a Buff. Carolyn is a very good student and talented athlete who has been working extremely hard on her game this last year to get ready for collegiate and Pac-12 golf.”