Leacock announces additions to 2008-09 roster
July 21, 2008
NEWARK, NJ - The NJIT women's soccer team will add four more newcomers to its ranks for the 2008 season, head coach Kevin Leacock announced.
The latest group of newcomers includes three 2008 high school graduates and a sophomore transfer from NCAA Division I Troy University in Alabama.
They will combine with four other newcomers who were announced in March as well as 15 anticipated returnees when the team begins preseason training in August.
Ten of the returnees started at least 10 games in 2007. Seven of those returning starters were freshmen, as NJIT went 4-1-1 in its last six matches to finish 4-14-1 in its first season as a full active member of Division I.
The latest group of newcomers are: sophomore Troy University transfer Mimi Thammavongsa (St. Paul, MN/Academy of Holy Angels, Richfield); Piper Lunan (Calgary, Alberta/Henry Wise Wood Sr. HS); Jaky Samuel (Spotswood, NJ/Spotswood HS); and, Jennifer Ramos (Newark, NJ/Benedictine Academy, Elizabeth).
Here is a look at the four newest Highlanders:
Mimi Thammavongsa--the Minnesota native comes to NJIT after playing her freshman season in 2007 at Troy University in Alabama. Playing at Troy, which plays in the NCAA Division I Sun Belt Conference, Thammavongsa was a back, starting all 20 games and averaging over 80 minutes a contest for a team that finished 7-13.
In high school at Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, MN, she helped her team win the 2003 state championship and was captain and all-conference as a senior in 2006. At the club level, she won Minnesota championships in 2005, 2006 and most recently in 2008, as a member of the U19 PSA Gunners.
"Mimi brings some additional experience to the back line after playing a full season at Troy University," said Leacock. "She is athletic, smart and strong to the ball. We will be looking for her to add value to the organization of our defensive responsibilities, as well as be an outlet when transitioning into attack."
She is the daughter of Boon and Mary Thammavongsa and she plans to major in architecture at NJIT.
Piper Lunan--a National Letter of Intent signee, the outside midfielder hails from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where she was a teammate of current Highlander Melissa Paul in high school at Henry Wise Wood Senior High in Calgary and on the South West United club team.
She was an eight-time winner of the City of Calgary championship, a five-time winner of the Alberta Provincial championship and a two-time Canadian national medalist (silver in 2004 and bronze in 2006).
She played on the Alberta Major Indoor All-Star team in 2008 and her club team competes throughout North America and was invited to play in China in 2006.
"Piper's speed, tactical awareness and ability to get behind her opponents will help us create more opportunities on goal," Leacock said. "She will fit in very well with our style of play given her technical strengths."
She is the daughter of Lynne and Brian Lunan and is undecided as to her college major.
Jaky Samuel--Jackleen (Jaky) Samuel is a back from Spotswood (NJ) High, Jaky played club soccer for the Cranbury Falcons. She earned numerous honors playing for Spotswood.
"Jaky is from right here in New Jersey and she is a competitive defender and ball winner," said Coach Leacock. "She reads the game very well and many times is able to diffuse a potential threat before it occurs. We are confident that she will adapt quickly to the college game and strengthen our defensive presence.
She is the daughter of Magda and Wadie Samuel.
Jennifer Ramos--A graduate of Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth, NJ, Ramos is a Newark resident who was MVP of her high school team in 2006. She also competed in track and basketball in high school and played club soccer with the "Sports Boys" girls U18 team.
"Jen is a local talent from right here in the Ironbound (section of Newark)," observed the coach. "She is a very versatile player and has good awareness on the field. She is a hard worker and connects well with her teammates on attack through her offensive positioning, vision and distribution."
She is the daughter of Luis and Patricia Ramos and will major in civil engineering at NJIT.
The latest group of newcomers joins the four previously announced National Letter of Intent signees Jennifer Kalczewski (West Deptford, NJ/Gloucester Catholic HS); Chrissy LaBellarte (Rahway, NJ/Rahway HS); Cielianna Pasiciel-Chalmers (Hemet, CA/San Jacinto HS); and, Caitlyn Ragni (Mechanicsburg, PA/Trinity HS) for the upcoming 2008 season at NJIT.
The Highlanders will report for preseason practice on August 10 and open the season on Tuesday, August 26 at 7 pm at Army in West Point, NY.