Immediate Release: March 30, 2007
"We definitely think this is a very strong class for '07," Leightman said. "We have a variety of players who can fulfill our team's needs and shore up our weaknesses. We expect this class to be a springboard for us to return to the America East Championship game."
Pedersen is a 5-foot-11 center midfielder and three-year captain from Mercy High. She was twice named all-district and all-catholic, and has played in Michigan's Olympic Development Program for seven years. Her club team, the Michigan Hawks, was the Under 16 national runnerup and has captured four state titles.
"We're incredibly lucky to have player with Casey's caliber," Leightman said. "She is a dominant central midfielder who brings ball-winning ability and tactical sophistication. She can really make an immediate impact in the center of our midfield."
Raske was a third-team all-state defender for Pascack Valley High. She was honored as all-county all four years and played for New Jersey's Olympic Development Program for three years. Her Under 17 club team was runnerup in the USL Super Y League in 2006 and were runnersup in 2005.
"Dani brings personality and attitude to our team," Leightman said. "She is tough as nails and can crush the ball with either foot. I like her attacking mentality. Dani will definitely be an impact wherever we decide to put her on the field."
Knopick was a captain and second-team all-state midfielder for nearby Maine-Endwell High, where she led the Southern Tier Athletic Conference in scoring in 2006. Knopick graduated No. 5 on the school's all-time scoring list. She has also played for B.C. United Fusion - the area's premier club team - which is coached by Leightman and assistant coach Sarah McClellan.
"Stefani is playing great socer right now," Leightman said. "Her athleticicm, size and versatility will allow her to step in and immediately play an important role at outside back or midfield."
Kenney was an all-state defender for Charles W. Baker High School. She was a first team all-conference player and also was selected to the All-Central New York first team. Kenney was a four-year starting back and served as team captain this past season. Her club team, Syracuse FC Vortex, captured the State West championship in 2004 and 2006, with the 2004 team reaching the regional semifinals.
"Leora is a scrappy, hard-nosed defender who is very athletic," Leightman said. "We expect her to fight immediately for a role on our back line or at outside midfield. She has a competitive streak and simply refuses to lose."
Albanese was a captain and all-league wing back for Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse. Her teams captured three Section 3 Class A championships during her five-year career. As a junior, she led the team to the state semifinals.
"Julie is probably our fastest incoming player," Leightman said. "She is very athletic and tenacious - and is a strong competitor. We'll line her up at outside midfield or up front."
Luvin was a two-time all-conference midfielder for South Side High. She led her team to back-to-back state championships as a junior and senior. As a sophomore, Luvin played for the undefeated state catholic high school champion Sacred Heart Academy. Leightman sees her moving to forward to begin her collegiate career.
"Jenna will bring some composure on the ball and the ability to hold the ball up top, which is something we're looking for," he said.
Zambelli was a captain and standout goalkeeper for Deer Park High. She has played in the Long Island Olympic Development Program for four years and her East Meadow Dynamite team advanced to the state cup final this past summer.
"Lauren has been the starting keeper for a strong East Meadow club team," Leightman said. "She is a solid keeper who hopefully will come in and challenge our current core for minutes."
Binghamton opens its 2007 season with a neutral game against former America East foe Northeastern on August 31.
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