BELLEVILLE — When Southwestern Illinois College hired Juergen Huettner as its women's soccer coach earlier this month it knew it was getting a great motivator with the ability to recruit top players on both sides of the Mississippi River.
Huettner, who coached at St. Louis Community College for five years and led the team to two straight National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Tournaments, announced Tuesday that five players from SLCC have transferred to SWIC and will be members of the Blue Storm soccer program.
Topping that list is former Belleville East standout Emily Constantini. Also transferring are Taylor Tosovsky, Annie Miskovic, Mirando Buettner and Sammie Weaver.
Added to the players recruited by former coach Chad Lignoul and players returning from a year ago and SWIC has 17 players on its roster for the upcoming fall season
In addition, Triad senior Meredith Wendt, who originally committed to SLCC, has changed her mind and will play at SWIC.
"Recruiting is fun for me now,'' Huettner said. "I have some good connections in St. Louis and of course I know all the coaches and have some very good connections in Illinois.
"I would like to get a couple of walk-ons and we're still looking to sign one more player. We've got 18 scholarships in all. But I like what I have so far. With these kids, the players Chad (Lignoul) signed and with the players we have coming back, I think we'll have a good team.''
Ace of the SWIC pitching staff during the 2014 season, sophomore Dustin Dalton was voted to the NJCAA All Region 24 team and was a Great Rivers Athletic Conference selection, Blue Storm coach Neil Fiala said.
A graduate of Francis Howell North, Dalton was 9-4 with a 3.16 ERA in 79 2/3 innings of work this spring. Dalton led the Blue Storm in wins, innings and strike outs (49).
"Dustin had a good year for us,'' Fiala said. "He was voted our top pitcher by his teammates and really pitched some great games for us over the past two years."
Also selected to the all-Region 24 squad were infielder Sean Murley and outfielder Adam Bauer.
Bauer, who played at Belleville West, led SWIC in hitting (.371), hits (55) doubles (15) and triples (6). Murley, a graduate or Eureka High School in Missouri, was voted as the team MVP by his teammates and was also the Blue Storm's top defensive player.
Murley batted .356 with 56 hits and 31 RBIs.
Fiala said both played key roles for a SWIC team which finished 37-20. "Adam was very consistent all year for us and made a great transition from first base to left field. We are looking for great things from him next year,'' Fiala said. "(Sean) Murley had a great year for us. It says it all when his teammate vote him the MVP and best defensive player on the team. He really made some big plays defensively for us down the stretch."
Fiala also said that sophomore first baseman Matt Spradlin was named to the GRAC squad.
Spradlin hit .328 with four home runs and a team-leading 48 RBI.
"Matt was our cleanup hitter this year and really had some big hits for us. He also did a great job for us at first base.'' Fiala said. "Our team was really balanced this year. In fact, we had seven different players receive votes for MVP and that has never happened for us before.
"Sometimes you will get three or four guys receiving votes, but our balance was shown by the vote.''