NEWARK, NJ—NJIT head coach Ally Nick announced the addition of nine standout student-athletes that will join the Highlanders in the Fall 2017.
In the first season under the direction of Nick, the Highlanders saw numerous improvements from the previous season, which includes:
The Highlanders finished with a 6-9-3 overall mark (second highest win total over the last six seasons; NJIT went 8-10-1 in 2013). The six wins surpassed NJIT's wins output from 2015, when the team finished 2-14.
NJIT recorded the program's first ASUN Conference victory with 3-0 victory at USC Upstate (first season in the ASUN Conference – 2015-16).
The Highlanders started the season 4-0-2 through the first six matches, the best start in program history.
NJIT eclipsed their Division I program record for most goals in a season (23), previously held in 2009, netting 24 goals in 2016. The seven-goal output against Saint Peter's (August 29) was the highest total for the Highlanders since they began competing against a Division I schedule in 2006.
The NJIT incoming group announced by Nick includes: Jennifer Callaghan (center midfield; Nutley, NJ/Nutley HS), Sophia Barros (goalkeeper; Jeffersonton, VA/Culpeper County HS), Christine Conaghy (forward; Absecon, NJ/Holy Spirit HS), Carlitah Cortina (forward; Getafe, Madrid, Spain/Los Escolapios de Getafe), Alana Copeland (defender; Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, England/Westwood College), Yasmeen Malik (midfielder/defender; Langhorne, PA/George School), Nicole Loehle (midfielder/defender; Morganville, NJ/Colts Neck HS), Cat McCarty (goalkeeper; York, PA/West York Area HS) and Katrina Nguyen-DeMary (attacking center mid; Milltown, NJ/East Brunswick HS).
"We are excited to welcome the Class of 2021 to our Highlander family, head coach Nick commented. "These nine individuals have the potential to make an immediate impact next Fall. This class will add a combination of skill, athleticism and tactical knowledge to our team which will allow our program to continue to grow and reach new heights. Not only will they add quality on the field, but this class also possesses characteristics that will represent our women's soccer program in the classroom and community. We are looking forward to our new family members joining us this Fall."
Here is a closer look at the newcomers:
New Jersey native Jennifer Callaghan, a center midfielder, is an all-County first-team honoree from nearby Nutley High School. Callaghan, in addition to incoming freshmen Nicole Loehle and Katrina Nguyen-DeMary, all played club for the FC Copa Academy. FC Copa Academy was 2014 & 2015 State Champions and 2016 Regional Semi-Finalists and National Finalists.
Callaghan intends to major in chemical engineering at NJIT.
Sophia Barros, one of two incoming goalkeepers, is from Jeffersonton, Virginia, where she helped guide Culpeper County High School to the 2016 Regional Champions and State Finalists.
Barros played club for Arlington Soccer, where she was selected to the 2015 SYL National Select Team and SYL National ODP Camp. In 2014, Arlington reached the SYL North American Finals.
A member of the National Honor and Spanish Honor Society, Barros intends to major in biology at NJIT.
Christine Conaghy, the Atlantic City Press Player of the Year, scored a program-record 34 goals for Holy Spirit High School to go along with 12 assists, during her senior campaign. Her 82 career goals are also a program record at Holy Spirit.
A Cape Atlantic first-team honoree as a sophomore, junior and senior and all-South Jersey third-team selectee as a junior, Conaghy scored seven goals in Holy Spirit's four playoff wins, including three goals in a 4-1 win against Our Lady of Mercy Academy to win the school's first South Jersey Non-Public B Title.
Conaghy played club for the Mount Laurel United Magic. The Magic were named US Club Mid-Atlantic Regional Champions u17 Super Group, reached the National Championship and EDP first Division south finalist.
Carlitah Cortina, who hails from Getafe, Madrid, Spain, played club for Atletico de Madrid Femenino. The left-wing helped guide Atletico de Madrid Femenino to the championship of the u18 Group 2 League, Group 2 of Madrid champions and finalist of u18 champion cup of Madrid.
Cortina intends to major in biochemistry at NJIT.
Alana Copeland, from Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, England, played for the Leicester City Women FC club team. Leicester City Women FC captured the Nottinghamshire County Cup with Nottingham Forest in 2016.
Copeland intends to major in biology at NJIT.
Yasmeen Malik, a midfielder/defender from Langhorne, PA, joins the Highlanders after attending George School in Newton, Pennsylvania. Malik was named Friend's School All-League and Bucks County Golden second team as a freshman and junior (2014 and 2016) and earned Honorable Mention as a sophomore (2015).
Malik played club for FC Bucks, who were State Cup Champions and NPL semifinalist in 2015.
Malik intends to major in biology at NJIT.
Nicole Loehle, a midfielder/defender from Morganville, NJ, attended Colts Neck High School, where Colts Neck won the New Jersey High School State Group II Quarterfinals and reached the ECNL National Finals Match. Nicole played club for FC Copa Academy, with incoming freshmen Jennifer Callaghan and Katrina Nguyen-DeMary. In 2016, the trio reached the was an NPL National Finalist with FC Copa and in 2014, FC Copa was a finalist in the New Jersey High School State Group III and reached the ECNL Championship Playoff.
Loehle intends to major in chemical engineering at NJIT.
A goalkeeper from York, Pennsylvania, Cat McCarty, was a YAIAA first-team honoree as a senior and second-team selectee during her junior campaign at West York Area High School. As a senior, McCarty was selected for the GameTime Pennsylvania All-Star team.
McCarty played club for LDC United and intends to major in biology at NJIT.
Katrina Nguyen-DeMary, a graduate of East Brunswick High School, guided her team to the Greater Middlesex Conference Finals. In doing so, East Brunswick defeated ninth-seeded South Brunswick, 2-0, capturing the GMC title.
An all-Red Division honoree in soccer, Nguyen-DeMary was a member of the women's cross country team, who were also crowned GMC Champions, women's lacrosse and track and field teams. Nguyen-DeMary played club for FC Copa Academy with incoming Highlanders Jennifer Callaghan and Nicole Loehle, where FC Copa was a NPL National Finalist.
Nguygen-DeMary intends to major in biomedical engineering.