BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh head coach Eric Lambinus has announced the addition of seven student-athletes, who will join the women’s soccer program in the fall. The Class of 2017 features two student-athletes from Massachusetts, two from New Jersey, two from Pennsylvania and one from Illinois.
“The coaching staff is very happy to welcome seven student-athletes to the women's soccer program at Lehigh,” said Lambinus, who enters his fourth season. “We have gotten to know them very well throughout the extended recruiting process and feel that they are a very committed group who will have an impact on the program immediately. During the process it became very apparent that Lehigh was the perfect fit for them to continue their development as a students, soccer players and young ladies.
Lambinus continued, “Each student-athlete has good soccer intelligence, high work rate, solid athletic ability, and extremely competitive nature. Those traits were specifically targeted and will only help our program continue to develop. We feel that each one of them will make a significant impact on our program during their four years at Lehigh.”
Here is a complete rundown of the incoming freshmen:
Laura Courtney – Defender – Bolton, Mass. – Arts and Sciences
Courtney is the first of two incoming players from Massachusetts, hailing from Bolton, where she was a four-year All-League and All-State player for the Nashoba High Chieftains. She was the captain of her high school soccer team, leading them to the state championship semifinals her junior year (as well as leading the league in goals) and to the state finals her senior year. Courtney was an honorable mention for the ESPN-Boston MIAA Female Soccer Award and led her team to a top three ranking from ESPN-Boston during her senior year. Courtney plays central defense for the Stars of Massachusetts in the ECNL under Dave Baker, and she was also a three-year member of the Olympic Development Program in Massachusetts. Off the field, she is an honor roll student at Nashoba Regional High School.
“I fell in love with Lehigh as soon as I saw it. The campus has the most beautiful architecture, as well as a great college feel. Lehigh gives me the chance to get an outstanding education, while playing competitive soccer at the same time, and is everything I am looking for in a college.”
Coach Lambinus on Courtney:
"Laura is a strong soccer player in every sense of the word. She has good technical ability, understands several positions and is not afraid of a physical challenge on the field - all the things we look for in a player at Lehigh. She primarily played as a defender for her Stars of Mass team but was a very effective offensive player for her school team. Laura's competitiveness will fit in nicely with the rest of our team!"
Leah Holmes – Forward – Hopkinton, Mass. – Arts and Sciences
Holmes is the second player in the incoming class from Massachusetts. She attended Hopkinton High School, where she was a four year honor roll student and a member of the National Honor and Latin Honor Societies. Holmes was a two year captain for her high school soccer team, leading the team in goals, assists and total points. This past year she was honored by the Tri-Valley League, the Boston Globe and the MetroWest Daily News with soccer All-star accolades. Holmes also plays for the NEFC Elite coached by Chris Hamblin where she leads her team in assists. She helped pilot NEFC Elite to the 2012 Massachusetts State championship title, where she received the MVP award. Holmes is a highly adaptable player, capable of playing both offensive and defensive roles.
“I wanted a school that was both challenging academically but also good Division I soccer and Lehigh suited both of these areas perfectly. The school also has a beautiful campus and I fell in love with it after I visited. The coaches and the team were both so welcoming and nice and after that there were no “other” choices.”
Coach Lambinus on Holmes:
"Leah is an athletic and energetic left-footed player who has the ability to play anywhere on the field. We love her attacking mentality that she displays when playing any position. Her ability to beat defenders in 1v1 situations and serve great balls into the box will be a great dynamic to add to our team this year."
Brinn McClennan – Midfield – Wyomissing, Pa. – Arts and Sciences
McClennan is one of two Pennsylvanians who will join the team in 2013. She comes from Wyomissing High School, where she had a standout athletic and academic career. McClennan led her soccer team in goals her senior year, captaining the team and receiving All-District honors. In addition, she was also a team captain and All-District award winner for her school’s track and field program. McClennan plays for Mike Moyer and Eric Puls on the FC Revolution Dynamo club team, who were three time EPYSA State cup finalists and Indoor state cup champions (2009-2011). McClennan is a highly technical midfield player who is capable of playing both central and outside midfield positions. Academically, she is a member of the National Honor Society.
“After my first visit, I fell in love with all that Lehigh has to offer: challenging academics, a strong women’s soccer program, a beautiful campus, and yes, even those scaling steps. Once speaking with the coaches and meeting the girls, I felt welcomed and right at home which only extended my love for Lehigh, making it the perfect fit.”
Coach Lambinus on McClennan:
"Brinn is a fierce competitor who we thought was highly underrated in the recruiting process. She is a tireless worker who is just starting to see her true potential. An aggressive midfield player, she will put the opposing team under pressure both offensively and defensively. We are excited to see how Brinn develops over the next few years."
Kalin Ojert – Defender – Doylestown, Pa. – Arts and Sciences
The second incoming player from Pennsylvania, TopDrawerSoccer.com lists Ojert as a four star player to watch and as one of the top eight recruits for the 2013 class in the region. Ojert plays defense for the FC Bucks ECNL team, and she has been a member of the Eastern Pennsylvania ODP team for the past three years. She attended Central Bucks West High School, where she received All-Suburban One League and All-Intelligencer honors for her soccer performance for two consecutive years (2010 and 2011). Outside from her high soccer ability, Ojert brings to Lehigh a great commitment to leadership and service as she is the acting secretary of her school’s National Honor Society, a member of the Presidents Education Award program, captain of her high school soccer team and recipient of the 2012 EPYSA Good Citizenship Award.
"I knew Lehigh was the right choice the second I arrived on campus. The beautiful setting and the warm welcome made me feel at home. The combination of outstanding academics and athletics was a perfect fit for me."
Coach Lambinus on Ojert:
"Kalin is a perfect fit for our women's soccer program and Lehigh. She is an attacking outside back that is a good defender but excels at getting into the attack. She could play in the back but possibly in the midfield as well. Kalin is a great athlete who has grown a lot over the past two years, and we look forward to helping her reach her full potential in the next few years."
Victoria Pantaleo – Forward – Colts Neck, N.J. – Arts and Sciences
Pantaleo comes to Lehigh from New Jersey where she attended Colts Neck High School. She was coached by Dominic Bucci on the NJ Matchfit Chelsea Beat, which competes in the National League and qualified for the National Championship Series. In 2012, Pantaleo helped the Beat to win the 2012 NJ State Cup Championship, as well as placing as finalists in both the Region 1 Championship and US Youth Soccer National League Championship. She is also a member of the NJ ODP team. Pantaleo was a two year Star Ledger top class player, and a third team all Monmouth County player her junior year for Colts Neck High School. Pantaleo is a highly aggressive player, capable of playing in several positions, including outside back, midfield and forward.
“I chose Lehigh because it provides me with the perfect college experience - a balance between academics, athletics, and social activities. I am looking forward to the challenges of Lehigh's superior academics and excited to be part of a highly competitive soccer program. Lehigh has given me an opportunity to get a top-notch education while fulfilling my passion to play soccer.”
Coach Lambinus on Pantaleo:
"Tori is one of the toughest and most aggressive soccer players we have ever recruited! She can play several position and excels in 1v1 situations whether as a defender or as an attacking player. She is going to be a handful to play against during her four years, and that really excites the coaching staff."
Clara Scher – Midfield – Livingston, N.J. – Arts and Sciences
Scher is the second member of the class coming from New Jersey, where she had a high impact soccer career at Livingston High School. Scher was the leading scorer her junior year (46 goals, 35 assists) for her high school soccer program as well as team captain her senior year. She was picked as one of MSGVarsity’s Top 20 players in New Jersey (2011), was a two-time first team all-conference (2010, 2011) and NJ All-Essex player, and a third team All-New Jersey honoree (2011). Scher is a highly competitive central midfield player for the SDFC 09 Lynx coached by Ed Duddy and Ashley Hammond. The Lynx are currently ranked as the number one club team in N.J., the number two club team in Region 1, and the number three club team in the nation by GotSoccer.
“I chose Lehigh because it is a welcoming and engaging environment of students and athletes that are constantly trying to learn and improve themselves. The students are passionate about the school and its success, and I believe I can contribute my energy and enthusiasm to the community.”
Coach Lambinus on Scher:
"Clara is a great student-athlete who will bring a ton of positive traits to our program. She is a tough, aggressive and skillful player on the field and just an absolute joy off the field. She is a great individual with unquestionable leadership qualities that will help her impact our program in many different ways."
Madeline Walsh – Midfield/Forward – Evanston Ill. – Arts and Sciences
Walsh comes from the farthest of any member of the incoming class as she joins the Mountain Hawks from Evanston, Illinois. She attended Evanston Township High School, where she was a member of the Honor Society. Walsh is highly involved in leadership development as she is the Executive Student Council President of her High School. Walsh plays for Rori Dames on the ECNL Eclipse and Eclipse Select club team, which is ranked sixth in Region II by GotSoccer. She is a hardworking offensive player, who is captain of the Eclipse and plays outside midfield and forward.
“I chose Lehigh because it has the perfect balance of rigorous academics and competitive athletics. The coaching staff and the girls were all so open and welcoming and made me feel like a part of the team from the start. Everyone at Lehigh is proud to call themselves a Mountain Hawk, and it's that school spirit that gets me excited to become one too!”
Coach Lambinus on Walsh:
"Madeline is a versatile player who really understands the game of soccer. She is the type of player that all coaches love to have on their teams, and that is very evident from the feedback we received from her club coaches. She can play with both feet, has good technical ability and a great work ethic. Madeline has the ability to play several positions for us and that will help her contribute during her four years."