Here I was thinking today would be a basketball-heavy day.
UB Women's Soccer has been controlling the MAC all season long to the tune of a 9-0-2 regular season record, #1 seed in the conference and just the third-ever conference semifinal berth in program history. Today, the conference announced its individual awards and All-MAC First, Second, and Freshman teams, and UB enjoys a strong presence on the list.
That's an understatement: Buffalo swept the individual awards, claiming Coach of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Freshman of the Year honors, while also putting a full seven of the starting eleven on one of the three teams.
First, the individual awards. Coach Burke claims the Coach of the Year award in just his first season as a collegiate head coach. This one was pretty much a no-brainer, if not for the undefeated MAC season - only the third in conference history - but for UB's improvement over last year under former coach Michael Thomas and the fourth-place (in the East!) forecast in the MAC preseason poll. Congrats, Coach!
Katie Roberts claimed the Offensive Player of the Year Award after ten regular-season goals and five game-winners, including a memorable five-game stretch back at the beginning of the winning streak during which the senior scored six goals in five games, including the game-winners in four straight. The senior also had a goal - the game-winner, of course - in UB's quarterfinal victory over Toledo last Sunday. Katie also has two assists on the season.
The Defensive Player of the Year Award went to UB defender Jackie Hall, a former midfielder who has been a physical force in Buffalo's dominant defense. Hall and her teammates on the backline have held opponents under five shots on goal in nearly 75% of this season's games. Even from the backline, Jackie has two goals this year, both gamewinners, against Niagara in Lewiston and against Akron in double overtime to close out the regular season.
I am not sure immediately how many times Roberts and Hall were named MAC Players of the Week, but I think it's three for each. I will update after posting.
Finally for the individual awards, freshman goalkeeper Laura Dougall takes the Freshman of the Year award to complete the clean sweep for Buffalo. Laura stepped into the shoes left by Ainsley Wheldon and has been the reliable backstop for UB all year, setting school records for shutouts, wins, and goals against average in a season and saving some of her best play for the end of the season in wins over Ball State, Miami, and Toledo.
Dougall, Hall, Roberts, and defensive midfielder Courtney Mann were all named First Team All-MAC. Sophie Therien, who patrols the defense next to Hall and behind Mann and is just as critical to UB's success, was named to the second team, along with Celina Carrero, who's fourth in the MAC in points, first in assists, and tied for sixth in goals.
Dougall was of course named to the All-Freshman Team and was joined by Julia Benati, who scored Buffalo's first goal of the season way back against St. Bonaventure and quite simply makes things happen, sitting seventh in the conference in shots.
The First, Second, and Freshman All-MAC teams are reproduced below. Congrats to Coach Burke and the entire team on a great season! Keep your eyes on the prize and keep winning!
2014 Freshman of the year: Laura Dougall, Freshman, Buffalo
2014 Offensive Player of the Year: Katie Roberts, Senior, Buffalo
2014 Defensive Players of the Year: Jackie Hall, R-Junior, Buffalo
Coach of the Year: Shawn Burke, Buffalo
2014 All-MAC First Team
Lani Smith, Senior, F, Akron
Laura Dougall, Freshman, GK, Buffalo
Jackie Hall, R-Junior, D, Buffalo
Courtney Mann, Senior, MF, Buffalo
Katie Roberts, Senior, F, Buffalo
Emily Dzik, Senior, D, Eastern Michigan
Molli Krick, Senior, MF, Eastern Michigan
Angela Vultaggio, Senior, F, Eastern Michigan
Jenna Hellstrom, Sophomore, F, Kent State
Kelsey Dinges, Senior, MF, Miami
Courtney Zanotti, Senior, Miami
2014 All-MAC Second Team
Leah Mattingly, Sophomore, D, Ball State
Madison Oyer, Junior MF, Ball State
Lauren Cadel, R-Sophomore, Bowling Green
Celina Carrero, Sophomore, F, Buffalo
Sophie Therien, Senior, D, Buffalo
Laura Gosse, Senior, F, Central Michigan
Bianca Rossi, Senior, F, Eastern Michigan
Haley Walter, Junior MF, Miami
Isabella Echeverri, Freshman, MF, Toledo
Lindsey Lee, Junior, D, Western Michigan
Rachel Chaney, Senior, MF, Western Michigan
Kylie Nylen, Junior, MF, Western Michigan
2014 All-Freshman Team
Skylar Fleak, Bowling Green
Julia Benati, Buffalo
Laura Dougall, Buffalo
Kristen Brots, Kent State
Doni Capehart, Kent State
Maggie Scott Miami
Kat Zalar, Miami
Amy Annala, Northern Illinois
Lauren Gierman, Northern Illinois
Isa Echeverri, Toledo
Emma Kahn, Western Michigan