When looking for both offensive and defensive help, Kaskaskia College women's soccer coach Joe Basch found it in a familiar place.
The Blue Angels recently signed Mater Dei Catholic High School seniors Melanie Mensing, a forward, and defender Emily Krebs for the 2016 season.
"Mater Dei's an up-and-coming program in the area," Basch said of the Lady Knights who were 16-5-3 last season and won a Class A regional. "They've been very good and both Emily and Melanie fill needs for us."
In recent seasons, MD graduates Lauren Krebs and Anna Thompson both signed with a four-year school in Missouri Baptist University after playing for KC, and Megan Zurliene was an NJCAA Academic All-American as was Lauren Krebs.
"It's good for the program and good for soccer in general," Mater Dei head coach Jesse Essenpries said of the signings. "We're very happy to send two more players to the next level.
"Emily's a tenacious defender who really has a knack for the ball and does a great job of anticipating. Melanie's a very capable goal scorer and may have to adjust her game a little in college but she'll do fine."
Krebs anchored an MD backline that blanked opponents 17 times last year while Mensing was the top goal scorer with 16 for an offense that tallied 72 goals.
"I wanted to continue my education and stay close to home," said Krebs who is undecided on a major. "I really enjoyed visiting the school and talking to the coach.
"I know I'll have to work hard at knowing what to do with the ball [in college]."
"I want to go into nursing and having a scholarship made it easier to choose a school," said Mensing. "[In college] I'll have to work on my aggressiveness and my shooting will need to get better."
"They've both played club soccer for years, so I think the transition [from high school to college] will be easier for them," said Basch. "We're looking at Melanie to be effective at finishing for us, and for Emily to be a shut-down defender."
The Blue Angels were 12-2-1 last season and over the past six years, have a composite mark of 76-22-6 while playing in NJCAA Region 24, one of the toughest in the country.
"It's been busy," said Basch, who signed 15 players — including returnees — in a week's time. "For the most part, we're ahead of our usual pace."
Photo 1: Mike and Monica Mensing and Melanie Mensing (Center). Standing is Mater Dei Athletic Director Dennis Trame; KC Coach Joe Basch; MD Head Girls Soccer Coach Jesse Essenpries and Assistant Coach Lindsey Lappe.
Photo 2: Dennis and Mary Jo Krebs and Emily Krebs (Center). Standing is Mater Dei Athletic Director Dennis Trame; KC Coach Joe Basch; MD Head Girls Soccer Coach Jesse Essenpries and Assistant Coach Lindsey Lappe.