13abc.com Joe Nugent, Sports Anchor/Reporter - email
Bowling Green State University women's soccer coach Lindsay Basalyga and her staff have announced the addition of three student-athletes to the program. Alexa Cheripko (Pickerington, Ohio/North), Evelina Hellgren (Örnsköldsvik, Sweden/Parkskolan) and Alexis Smith (Livonia, Mich./Franklin) will join the Falcons in the fall of 2014.
"We are really looking forward to these additional commitments for 2014," said Basalyga. "We'll be a very young team next fall with only 10 players returning, but both Alexa and Alexis have collegiate experience under their belt and Evelina will bring additional maturity to the goalkeeper role. Along with the previous nine commitments, we looking for each player to come in and contribute and compete for playing time immediately."
Cheripko, a native of Pickerington, Ohio, graduated from North H.S. in the spring of 2013. She comes to BGSU after spending a year at Otterbein University, and retains three seasons of eligibility. Cheripko played in all 20 matches for Otterbein last year, making 17 starts. The midfielder had three points on a goal and an assist as the Cardinals went 12-7-1 overall and 6-3-0 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. OU advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament under head coach Brandon Koons. A three-year letterwinner at North, Cheripko was a two-time all-district first-team selection, and captained the 2012 team that advanced to the state semifinals. The Panthers earned state runner-up honors in 2010. Cheripko, a National Honor Society member, was on the Distinguished Honor Roll in all four years of high school, and received the OSSCA Senior Academic Excellence Award. Cheripko has played club ball for Freedom Soccer Club
Hellgren, a native of Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, is currently a high-school senior at Parkskolan. A goalkeeper, she captained her high-school team as a senior, and also plays club ball for Själevads IK. The latter team plays in Division 1 and 2, which is one of the top leagues in the country. Hellgren's school team trains with the boys team, and plays for several cups each year. In 2013-14, the team won one cup and finished second in the other competition. In 2010, Hellgren was one of just two goalkeepers born in 1995 to be selected to participate in the Elite Camp in Halmstad, Sweden. She has served as a volunteer goalkeeper coach for a provincial team.
Smith, a native of Livonia, Mich., graduated from Franklin H.S. in 2012, and comes to BGSU after spending the last two years at Schoolcraft College. A goalkeeper, she helped the Ocelots to a 13-2-1 overall record last season, and coach Deepak Shiverman's club won the Michigan Community College Athletic Association regular-season title with a 9-0-1 record. Schoolcraft also captured the Region XII regular-season crown in 2013. Smith allowed just one goal in over 363 minutes of action last fall, for a goals-against average of 0.25. Smith also played basketball at Schoolcraft, averaging 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and earning honorable mention on the All-Eastern Conference Team. At Franklin, Smith earned four soccer letters for Dean Kowalski, and she was a four-time all-conference selection, earning all-region first-team honors as a senior in 2012. That '12 team won the school's first-ever district championship. Smith earned a total of 10 letters, playing golf and basketball in addition to soccer. She earned all-conference honors in all three sports and captained each of those three teams, including golf in three seasons and soccer in two. She has played club ball for Livonia City Soccer Club.