New Mexico State soccer head coach Blair Quinn has added eight athletes to the Aggie roster on national signing day. Midfielder/forward Gabby Campbell, defender Melissa Canizalez, goalkeeper Tayler Hammack, forward Devin Hart, defender/midfielder Stephanie Petre and goalkeeper Taylor Rice signed National Letters of Intent, while defender Maggie Sabik inked a financial aid agreement to play for the Aggies in fall 2013.
"It's a seven-member class, which is a relatively large for a recruiting class, but it is my first full class since I've been at New Mexico State," Quinn said. "It really covers every position, goalkeeping, defenders, midfielders and forwards. It's a really dynamic class in terms of their athleticism and the diversity of size. It covers every aspect that we need to keep making our team better."
Campbell arrives in Las Cruces from Albuquerque and St. Pius X High School. The midfielder/forward directed the Sartans to the state semifinals in 2012. Campbell led the team in points with eight goals and 15 assists as a senior. She ended her career with 35 goals and 42 assists. As a senior, she was a first team all-state and first team all-metro selection. In her junior season, she led St. Pius X to the state finals and district championship. Campbell earned second team all-metro honors in 2011. As a sophomore, she led the Sartans to the state semifinals and in points with 11 goals and nine assists. She was a three-time first team all-district honoree in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and two-time second team all-state selection in 2010 and 2011.
"Gabby Campbell is a really, really quick and dynamic attacking center mid," Quinn said. "She can also be used as a forward on the left wing. She is only 4-10 but this kid has a wicked left foot. She can really, really strike a ball and put it on frame and create some goal scoring opportunities. She is a dangerous player."
A defender, Canizalez joins the Aggies from Las Vegas, Nev., and Shadow Ridge High School. During the 2011-12 season, she led the Mustangs to a 13-4-2 record. Canizalez earned All-Northwest League honors. She was also the best defensive player for the Mustangs.
"Melissa Canizalez is a very good organizing center back," he said. "She is very, very tough in the tackles, which I think is important for a center back. You have to be a good one-v-one tackler. Her ability to organize the people around her, which is uncommon for young players, is what makes her a special defender."
Hammack, a goalkeeper from Socorro, N.M., earned five letters and started playing high school soccer in the eighth grade. In both her junior and senior seasons at Socorro High School, she led the Lady Warriors to two district championships. Hammack earned first team all-district honors and second team all-state honors in 2011 and 2012. She spent three years at Portales High School from 2009-11 and anchored the Lady Rams to two district runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2010 and a third-place showing in 2008. In her freshman and sophomore campaigns, Hammack was a first team all-district and honorable mention all-state selection. She was also a second team all-district and honorable mention all-state honoree as an eighth grader.
"Tayler is a kid that we saw last year at one of our one-day clinics," he said. "She came down and spent a day with us at our clinic and went through all the training and by the end of day, our current players who were helping run the clinic, were coming up to me saying, 'have you seen this kid make these saves, this goalkeeper?' She is super, super outgoing. Easily the biggest personality of all the kids in the class, and she is very, very athletic. What I'm excited about Tayler is her ceiling is miles and miles high. She has so much potential because she hasn't had a lot of high-level training, because she lives in a small town. So I think once she gets here and gets in this environment, she is just going to go through the roof."
An Albuquerque, N.M. native, Hart joins the Aggies as a forward after a successful four-year career at Hope Christian. As a senior, she earned both district player of the year and state player of the year honors after scoring 107 goals in her high school career. Hart set the scoring record at Hope Christian for both boys and girls. In 2012, she led the Huskies to the state finals and a 19-4 record with 33 goals scored. In her junior season, Hart scored 31 goals, and the team finished 17-5 after a state semifinals showing. Hart and the Huskies won the 2010 state championship and finished 17-6. She scored 28 goals as a sophomore and earned state tournament co-MVP honors. In her freshman campaign, Hart had 15 goals and Hope Christian finished 10-11. In addition, she was a three-time first team all-state and three-time first team all-district selection.
"Anybody that quite frankly looked at our record and our goal scoring last year will see that Devin is a kid we needed to have," Quinn said. "She scored over 100 goals in four years of high school and was one of the leaders in the state at any level across the board. She had 33 goals this year. The kid just finds a goal, and we don't have enough of that right now. As she learns the college game and becomes a little more dangerous in her one-v-one abilities and not using just straight pace, I think she is going to continue to be a tremendous goal scoring threat on a day-to-day basis."
Petre, a defender and midfielder, arrives in Las Cruces from Tempe, Ariz., and Corona Del Sol High School. She is currently in the midst of her senior season with the Aztecs, and she has 16 goals and 29 assists. As a junior, Petre led Corona Del Sol to a 10-10-1 record, and she earned second team all-central region honors. In her sophomore campaign, she earned Tempe All-City, first team all-central region, honorable mention all-state, coaches second team all-state, second team all-state and offensive player of the year honors following a state quarterfinals appearance and an 11-8-4 record. Petre directed the Aztecs to the state championship match in 2010 and finished with a 13-10-2 record. She helped the team set the program scoring record en route to earning coaches honorable mention all-state honors.
"Steph Petre, we tease her, she is our redhead, and she has a little bit of that feistiness in her," he said. "She plays wide back and there's a very good possibility that she could be a left back for us as well as being possibly an attacking center mid. For a kid that is as slightly built as she is, she has a lot of fight to her in her defensive tackling. She is very, very quick on and around the ball, so she becomes a threat in the attacking sense. Coming out of Phoenix, I've known her for quite a long time and have seen her grow as a player, and I'm really looking forward to having her at the college level."
A goalkeeper, Rice joins the Crimson and White after spending two years at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. In 2012, she led the Coyotes to a sixth-place district finish and a 9-9-1 record. As a freshman, Rice anchored Chandler-Gilbert to a 16-5-0 record in 2011 and a second-place finish in the district. As a senior at Mesquite High School, Rice and the Wildcats finished in third place in the district and posted a 24-12-8 record. Rice collected many accolades at Mesquite including coaches first team all-state, first team All-5A Tribune, second team Arizona Republic All-State and first team all-central region honors.
"Taylor Rice is another kid out of Phoenix that I've known for a long time from my time when I was there and through her high school days," Quinn said. "Typically we don't go the junior college route in recruiting, but we needed immediate depth in our goalkeeper position, because our two current kids are redshirt seniors, and it would be a huge hole to fill the following year. She is a kid that is going to come in and challenge to play right away. She is very, very quick and reads the game well and is technical, so I think she is going to make an immediate impact on the goalkeeping position in her presence being here."
A defender, Sabik graduated from La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, N.M., in December and is currently enrolled at NM State. Sabik led the Bears to state championships in 2011 and 2012. She was a two-time district player of the year, two-time first team all-district, two-time first team all-state and two-time first team all-metro selection in 2011 and 2012. As a sophomore, Sabik helped La Cueva to the state title match and was a first team all-district, honorable mention all-state and second team all-metro honoree.
"Maggie is a super, super smart kid. She was so excited about becoming an Aggie that she graduated early. She graduated high school in December, and she has been in training with us already for two weeks. We had a senior that was starting center back for four years in Courtney Irwin, and that's something we have to replace immediately, and I think Maggie is probably the front runner to do that. I think her ability to step in this spring and learn the system and learn the team will help her come in and make an immediate impact as a freshman. She is hands down the best defender in the state of New Mexico to come out of this class, no question."
Name Pos. Ht. Hometown/Previous School/Club
Gabby Campbell MF/F 4-10 Albuquerque, N.M./St. Pius X HS/Rio Soccer Club
Melissa Canizalez D 5-4 Las Vegas, Nev./Shadow Ridge HS/Heat FC
Tayler Hammack GK 5-6 Socorro, N.M./Socorro HS/Rio Soccer Club
Devin Hart F 5-3 Albuquerque, N.M./Hope Christian HS/AUFC 95
Stephanie Petre D/MF 5-3 Tempe, Ariz./Corona Del Sol HS/Sereno
Taylor Rice GK 5-7 Gilbert, Ariz./Chandler-Gilbert Community College
Maggie Sabik D 5-6 Albuquerque, N.M./La Cueva HS/AUFC 95