The SIU women’s soccer team goes through a conditioning drill at the start of their first-ever practice on Wednesday morning in Carbondale.

CARBONDALE — The inaugural SIU women's soccer team finalized its roster with the addition of seven players Thursday, six of which are Division I transfers.

Georgina Franco, a freshman defender from San Diego, was the only first-year player in the group. Coach Grant Williams signed four defenders, one midfielder/defender, one midfielder and one forward as the Salukis prepare for their first exhibition match today at Tennessee Tech.

"We added depth and experience with this group," Williams said in a statement. "This group we brought in has been there, done that. They have been through a preseason before and can pat someone on the back and say 'You can do this'. They understand the level of competition and can provide a level of comfort to our young players that have not yet played a single minute of collegiate soccer."

Hailey Blanchard, a Frankfort native, played at the University of Missouri last season. The sophomore defender competed in 14 of the Tigers' 19 matches last year and saw time on defense and in the midfield. She did not play for her high school team.

Ellie Lewis, a sophomore midfielder/defender from Zionsville, Indiana, competed for a Murray State team that won the Ohio Valley Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

Andrea Rodriguez, a midfielder from Louisiana Tech, gives the Salukis another senior to go along with Carbondale native Ashley Moore. Rodriguez, who was born in Madrid, started seven of 17 matches for the Lady Techsters. She played two years at Monroe College in New York, and helped the Mustangs beat two top-five opponents.

Kailyn Stone, a sophomore defender, played in 10 games last year at North Alabama. She played outside back, center back and forward at Reitz Memorial High School in Evansville, Indiana, and helped the Tigers win the 2017 state title. Kathryn Creedon, a junior forward from Pooresville, Maryland, played in five games in two seasons with UMBC. Maya Warrior, a sophomore defender from Keller, Texas, played in 16 of UTEP's 19 matches last season. Warrior was the All-District defender of the year her junior year after coming back from an ACL injury.

SIU's exhibition match at Tennessee Tech is one of three for the Salukis before their official opener against Division II Illinois-Springfield Aug. 23. SIU plays at Tennessee Tech at 6 p.m. Sunday, at Illinois-Chicago Tuesday night and at home against Southeast Missouri State Saturday night at 7.

Tennessee Tech went 7-8-2 last season. The Golden Eagles went 3-2-1 against teams the Salukis will play in either a regular-season match or exhibition this season. They tied SEMO and beat Belmont, IPFW and SIU-Edwardsville.

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Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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