Every four to five years, a college roster will have a 100% turnaround, making every recruiting class important. This fall, APSU welcomed a new class of freshman across multiple teams.
The National Signing Day’s early period featured numerous high school seniors from across the country signing the dotted line to join the Governor family next fall.
Of APSU teams that welcomed the future of their program on Wednesday, Naomi Kolarova’s soccer squad appears to have had one of the best signing periods. After adding just five players a year ago, the team welcomed a dozen athletes this year including Katie Bahn and Emma Dalton.
Bahn is the first Gov to hail from Hendersonville High School. She was also the only goalie signed by Kolarova this year. As a four-year starter for the Commandos, Bahn was named to the District 10-AAA All-District Team three times. With her in the net, Hendersonville appeared in four straight District Championships, took home a 2019 region title and also had a pair of runner-up finishes.
For Bahn, soccer started at a young age as she started playing recreationally at four. She has also taken part in two travel clubs for her young career with the spring-league Tennessee United Soccer Club from 2011-2019 and the fall-league Tennessee Soccer Club since 2019.
Bahn says that over her career as a Governor, she wants to help the team win an Ohio Valley Conference Title and make it to the NCAA Tournament. As for personal goals, she wants to make an impact right out of the gate as a freshman, whether it be as a sub off the bench or on the field.
The team will be returning both goalkeepers from a year ago in Peyton Powell and Chloé Dion. Bahn could still see substantial playing time early into her career, as Powell and Dion serve as upperclassmen in the Fall 2021 season.
Another strong signing for Kolarova was Emma Dalton from Southeastern High School in Fishers, Ind.
Like many APSU student-athletes, Dalton will be a ways away from what’s familiar when she starts classes next fall, but says the campus and Clarksville community made her feel right at home during her visits.
“I’ve been talking to Austin Peay a while about soccer and the first time I visited it felt like home,” Dalton said. “I visited a lot of colleges and none of them spoke to me as Austin Peay did. With the family-like community, I just felt like I belonged. I did not get that sense from a lot of the schools I visited.
“Meeting the girls from the soccer team also helped my decision. They really just accepted me. I was able to spend the night with the players and be able to know people before I was even considered as an option for recruitment. I thought that was an amazing experience that really helped me feel like I was a Gov and that I should be a Gov.”
Dalton was a key player for the Royals over her career. According to Maxpreps, the program ranked 19th nationally and seventh in the state of Indiana throughout the 2020 season.
Kolarova added that she will look to Dalton to add depth to an already impressive Governors team that ranked fourth in goals during OVC competition last fall.
Soccer was not the only sport to have an impressive signing day. Taylor Mott and APSU volleyball were also able to obtain a pair of commitments over the week including one from Alaijiah “AJ” Rose.
AJ, originally from Clarksdale, Miss, comes from Lake Cormorant High School in Mississippi. She began to play volleyball in seventh grade and has had an impressive career on the court ever since.
Rose led the Gators to a 3-2 win against Long Beach in the Class 5A State Championship. She was also named as DeSoto County’s Most Valuable Player for the 2020 season.
While she still has a while until she can begin competing for OVC Championships, Rose has substantial goals set for her career at APSU.
“My freshman goal is to be able to keep up my grades and be able to do volleyball at the same time. As for a career goal, I really want to go to the Olympics,” Rose said.
National Signing Day featured numerous APSU teams welcoming the future of their program. Signees such as Bahn, Dalton and Rose look to help their programs capture an OVC title and much more when they officially begin their career as a Governor next fall.