CHICAGO – Danielle Koncius, a junior goalkeeper from Palos Hills, Ill., who transfers in from Heartland Community College in Normal, Ill., along with a pair of incoming freshmen in forward Julia Gawlak of Hickory Hills, Ill., and defender Gina Rodriguez of Glen Ellyn, Ill., have all recently signed letters of intent to continue both their athletic and academic careers at Saint Xavier University as members of the Cougar women's soccer program. The trio joins the roster this fall and will compete for playing time on the field during the 2013 campaign. Saint Xavier University women's soccer coach Evan Strehlau is excited about the additions and loves the fact that he is able to find such a wealth of talent so close to SXU's Chicago campus.
Koncius is the daughter of Arvyd and Lisa Koncius of Palos Hills. Prior to her two-year stint at Heartland CC, she enjoyed a standout prep career at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Palos Hills where she was coached by Mike Kealy. In her second year at Heartland, Koncius finished fifth in the nation in save percentage (.904), third in shutouts (15) and second in goals-against average (0.31). Heartland finished the 2012 campaign with an overall record of 13-3-2 and won the Region 24 Championship for the first time in program history.
"Danielle joins our team after spending two years at Heartland Community College and gaining some valuable collegiate experience," said Strehlau. "During her final season there, she had 15 shutouts and was one of the national leaders in save percentage, plus her team won the region championship and was ranked No. 15 in the nation. Danielle's experience and knowledge will only get continue to grow when she joins us in the fall."
Gawlak is the daughter of Janina Gawlak of Hickory Hills. She is coached by Mike Kealy and Chris Campols as a prep at Stagg High School and also plays club soccer for the Inter FC team under Gerry Norris. Rodriguez is the daughter of Ray and Tammy Rodriguez of Glen Ellyn. She played under Kent Overbey during her high school career at Glenbard East High School and is also a member of the FC Panthers, a club team coached by Ben Dourado. Rodriguez plans to pursue a degree in nursing at Saint Xavier University.
"Julia is one of those hard working players, who won't let anything get in her way," said Strehlau. "She has great skill with the ball and is always looking for ways to improve. Julia is ready to take the next step with her soccer career and we are excited to make that happen for her. Gina is going to add depth to our defense. Her ability to see the game as it develops and her love of attacking out of the back is just a few of the qualities that led us to recruiting her. Gina will put pressure on our returning defensive line and challenge for a starting spot."