Mt. Pleasant girls soccer players Ulery, Leeder commit to D-I programs

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019 | 4:26 PM


Mt. Pleasant will have a pair of Division I midfielders prowling the soccer field this fall.

Brooke Ulery and MacKenzie Leeder have made verbal commitments to higher-level programs on the eve of their junior seasons.

Ulery plans to attend Cleveland State, and Leeder pledged to Duquesne. Both are two-time All-WPIAL and all-section selections. Last season, Mt. Pleasant went 10-7 (7-7 in Section 3-AA) but missed the WPIAL playoffs.

Both girls are defenders for Century Soccer Club. Both said they anticipate playing an outside- or center-back position in college.

Ulery’s choice coincides with her potential choice of major.

“Cleveland State offers the ideal atmosphere in regards to both academic and athletic programs for me,” Ulery said. “In the future, I am looking to study health science, and Cleveland State works very closely with the Cleveland Clinic.

“From an athletic standpoint, there was nothing I didn’t like about the school. The coaches, the players, the environment and the campus is everything I could ask for. The coaching staff is especially special, and I am grateful to get the opportunity to play under a great group of individuals. The women’s soccer program has really built up within the last two years, and I cannot wait to be a part of it.”

Leeder said she had other Division I offers but chose Duquesne for its “Great atmosphere that the coaches and the current players have and the relationship that they all have with each other,” she said. “I always wanted to go to Duquesne since I was 12 and stepped on the campus. It is home away from home.

”I love the coaches there. They strive to not only make you a better athlete but the best person you can possibly be. I also always wanted to be in the city, and there is no better city than Pittsburgh.”

Mt. Pleasant coach Josh Pajak said Ulery missed the second half of last season with an injury, and the team missed having her skills — and IQ — on the pitch.

“Brooke is a very intelligent player and plays a holding midfielder who links our back line to our attacking players,” the coach said. “The pace of play and our ability to possess the ball runs through her.”

Leeder is always on the attack, Pajak said.

“Mackenzie creates a lot of goal-scoring opportunities for herself and teammates,” Pajak said. “She is strong on the ball and plays with a lot of intensity.

“They both work extremely hard, and it has been a goal for each of them to play at the highest level possible.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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