KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC women’s basketball team received three signed National Letters of Intent on the opening day of the late signing period, putting the finishing touches on an 11-player 2018 recruiting class.
The three student athletes – Cristina Soriano (Valladolid, Spain), Awal Ajak (Des Moines, Iowa) and Ericka Mattingly (Wichita, Kan.) – join a talented 2018 class that already held eight signees from the early period following the first season of UMKC head coach Jacie Hoyt.
“We are thrilled with the way we rounded out our recruiting class,” commented Hoyt. “Each of these players bring a very high level of playing experience and are proven winners. Mattingly and Ajak are NJCAA All-Americans and all three come from very successful and well-coached programs.”
Soriano, a 6-5 forward/center, heads to UMKC after a stellar two-year stint at Monroe College – New Rochelle Campus. As a freshman for the Mustangs, the native of Spain played in all 28 games and made 27 starts, averaging 12.3 points along with 9.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, both team-bests. Soriano put together another strong campaign this season, averaging 10.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists in 25 games played. Her two excellent seasons at Monroe College included 13 double-double performances.
“Cristina will give us a size advantage that will be hard for opponents to match up against. She is a game changer in the paint on both ends of the floor.”
Ajak, a 6-0 guard from Kirkwood Community College, adds another talented junior college transfer to the UMKC roster. The Des Moines, Iowa native arrived at Kirkwood after a stellar high school career at Des Moines East High School where she earned First Team All-State honors after averaging 11.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Ajak started in all 38 games in her sophomore season for the Eagles, averaging 9.4 points on a stellar shooting campaign, converting on 42.7% of field goal attempts, 41.5% on three-pointers and 80% from the foul line. Ajak also chipped in with 2.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game, which led to NJCAA Second Team All-American honors.
“Awal will bring us a lot of versatility and can play all positions on the floor. Her athleticism and skill set is unique and she can score at all three levels.”
Mattingly, a 5-8 guard from Butler Community College, rounds out the 2018 class as the fourth junior college transfer making their way to UMKC. After guiding her Wichita South High School team to four consecutive Class 6A State Championships, Mattingly began her collegiate career at UT Arlington. Following the season, she journeyed back to the state of Kansas and joined the Butler CC women’s hoops team. Her standout sophomore season for the Grizzlies saw Mattingly lead the team in scoring (14.5 ppg), rebounding (6.3 rpg) and assists (3.7 apg), securing a spot on the NJCAA All-American Team.
“Ericka will provide leadership and toughness that will elevate everyone around her. She is a skilled guard with a very high IQ and motor.”
The final three additions to the 2018 class add to an already formidable influx of talent to the program that will look to build on last year’s strong first season for Coach Hoyt. The 2017-18 campaign resulted in a fifth-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) that included a 7-7 league record, both program-bests since joining the WAC.
“Our emphasis in this year’s class was to target players who know what it takes to win, and more importantly hate to lose,” said Hoyt. “I can’t wait to see them all gel together and make an immediate impact on our program.”
– UMKC –