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Women's Recruiting Jul 10, 2019

University of Oklahoma soccer signs 4 more players for 2019

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NORMAN — University of Oklahoma head soccer coach Matt Potter has added four student-athletes to the Sooners 2019 roster.

The Sooners will welcome a pair of transfers in goalkeeper Nikki Panas and defender Erika Middleton. California natives Nicola Lebakos and Leah Radow will join OU as freshmen for the 2019 season.

The Sooners will open the season at home on Thursday, Aug. 22. OU will face Albany for the first time in program history at 7 p.m. at John Crain Field.

Niki Panas (GK • Jr. • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada • Arizona State)

Panas, who will be a junior this season, joins the Sooners from Arizona State where she appeared in 28 games over her two seasons with the Sun Devils.

“Nikki joins us from ASU,” Potter said. “Nikki has played on the biggest stages whether in the Pac-12 or internationally. Nikki will bring competition to a position that has been a strength of ours over the years and in doing so will provide invaluable maturity and experience to the incoming group. Full of personality, we are delighted to welcome Nikki and look forward to watching her compete and perform within the program.”

In 2018 Panas started 13 games, tallying 54 saves and three shutouts with a 6-5-1 record in goal. She posted a 1.19 goals against average in her sophomore campaign. As a freshman, she played and started 15 games while recording 81 saves. She set a career-high with 11 saves against Washington State and notched two shutouts.

A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, she won a bronze medal in 2015 in the Western Canada Summer Games with her club team. She also brings international experience as she has earned 30 international caps playing with the U15 and U17 Polish National Teams.

Panas is the daughter of Edward and Maria Panas and has four older siblings, John, Jack, Jason and Jennifer.

Erika Middleton (D • So. • Jacksonville, Fla. • Miami)

Middleton will be a sophomore and joins the Sooners from the University of Miami where she saw action in four games for the Hurricanes.

“A transfer from Miami, a program that plays in one of the premier leagues in college soccer, we are excited to see what Erika can bring to our team and the Big 12 conference,” Potter said. “With a family that has college soccer in its history, and with a storied club career our hope is that Erika brings her leadership, tough defending, and her playing abilities to the team this fall.

Middleton was an early enrollee at Miami, forgoing her senior season of high school soccer. As a junior, she earned All-Conference first team honors for the Gateway Conference and earned the Team Golden Boot award. She was a two-time Florida Times-Union All-First Coast Pick as a sophomore and junior. During her sophomore season, she was named Defensive Player of the Year. She was a team captain for the U16, U17 and U18 Jacksonville Armada FC ECNL teams, leading Florida to the 2013 State Cup Championships. Middleton was also a member of the 2012 U.S. Club Soccer National Championship squad.

She is the daughter of Trina and Dave Middleton and has one older brother, Tommy.

Nicola Lebakos (D • Fr. • Los Altos, Calif. • MVLA SC)

Lebakos comes to the Sooners from Los Altos, Calif., where she played for Saint Francis High School under head coach Dawn Hill. A defender, she played in every game her freshman, sophomore and senior seasons while being named to the 2017 WCAL all-league second team and the 2019 WCAL all-league first-team.

“Nicola comes for one of the most respected programs in the country, under the umbrella of Albertin Montoya, who is one of the most respected coaches in the country,” Potter said. “She is certainly one I have admired from afar. Nicola is an exciting addition; on her visit I could sense a competitive appetite for winning, and I am excited she decided to join us and look forward to seeing her use her versatility to compete to play.”

Lebakos competed for the Mountain View Los Altos Soccer Club under head coach Albertin Montoya and was a member of the 2017 ECNL Northwest Conference Championship squad. She also competed in the 2017 and 2018 ECNL Champions League Playoffs.

A member of the honor roll all four years of high school, Lebakos was the 2017-18 Scholar Athlete winner. She is the daughter of Richard and Kathy Lebakos and has two siblings, Keila and Daniel.

Leah Radow (GK • Fr. • Los Angeles, Calif. • LA Breakers FC)

Radow joins the Sooners from Los Angeles, Calif., and Palisades Charter High School where she was a goalkeeper under head coach Christian Chambers. Radow was the starting goalkeeper for three seasons and saw playing time as a forward her senior year, notching three goals and three assists.

“Depth is critical to the success of any program and the addition of Leah completes a GK line up that we are all excited to see evolve,” Potter said. “Leah has a competitiveness to her and with a storied career in high school Leah will push the group to be better. Leah has great potential and we are excited to see how she blossoms with all the resources Oklahoma has to offer.”

Radow was the co-captain for LA Galaxy South Bay Elite as a freshman and sophomore and most recently was the co-captain for LA Breakers FC ECNL under head coach Mike Littman. She was also a member of the U.S. team competing at the 2017 Maccabiah Games where she did not allow a goal en route to a gold medal.

Radow is the daughter of Seth and Vikki Radow and has one sister, Samantha.