Oct. 31, 2012

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Atlantic 10 Conference released its annual women’s soccer awards on Wednesday in preparation for the 2012 Atlantic 10 Championship, which begins this Thursday, Nov. 1 at the University of Rhode Island’s Soccer Complex in Kingston, R.I.

For the second straight year, La Salle head coach Paul Royal earned Coach of the Year honors, as voted on by the league’s 16 head coaches. Dayton senior Colleen Williams was selected as the Offensive Player of the Year, while La Salle junior Courtney Niemiec was named Defensive Player of the Year. Mo Hawkins of Saint Joseph’s was named Midfielder of the Year for the second straight year, while Butler’s freshman Sophia Maccagnone was selected as Rookie of the Year.

The head coaches also selected the 12-member First and the 10-member Second All-Conference Teams. A tie in the voting resulted in co-first team goalkeepers.

In addition to the All-Conference Teams, an 11-member All-Academic team was selected, based on a vote of the women’s soccer media relations directors at each of the 16 member institutions.

Royal earned Coach of the Year honors after leading his team to a second straight unbeaten mark in A-10 play, posting an 8-0-1 conference record. The Explorers have not lost an A-10 regular season contest since October 29, 2010, marking the fifth longest streak in the country. La Salle held a 10-game winning streak before a 2-1 non-conference loss to Princeton in overtime in the final week of the regular season. The Explorers head into the Atlantic 10 tournament as the top seed for the second consecutive year.

Williams, a Titusville, N.J. native and two-time Hermann Trophy Watch List candidate, leads the Atlantic 10 in eight offensive categories, including shots (131), goals (17), assists (12) and points (46). The senior Flyer also leads the NCAA in points per game (2.56) and is second is total points (46) and assists. A top 10 candidate for the Senior CLASS award, Williams has made the A-10 All-Academic team two times and was named the 2011 A-10 Championship  Most Outstanding Player. The league’s 2010 Offensive Player of the Year has led the A-10 in scoring three of her four years at Dayton.

Niemiec, a junior defender from Philadelphia, Pa., anchored a defense that ranked second in A-10 play with a 0.53 goals against average and shutout opposing teams eight times, including five conference foes.  As a captain and one of three Explorers to start every game, Niemiec also contributed to the offense with three goals and four assists on the season.

Hawkins, also a Philly native, ranks sixth in the Atlantic 10 with four goals, including two game-winners in league play. The junior midfielder ranks third all-time for the Hawks in career points (61) and goals (25).

Hailling from Shelby Township, Mich., Maccagnone, a three-time A-10 Rookie of the Week selection, leads the conference with six game-winning goals, good for seventh in the NCAA.  Maccagnone was an integral part of a Bulldog offense that won 11 games for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign.

The single-elimination tournament, which expanded from six to eight qualifying teams this season, begins this Thursday, when top-seeded La Salle takes on the No. 8 seeded Charlotte at 11:00 a.m. The second match features league-newcomer Butler, who earned a No. 4 seed, against fifth-seeded St. Bonaventure at 1:30 p.m. Finishing second in the league, Dayton will face the seven seed, Massachusetts, in the 5:00 p.m. match-up, while VCU, also in its first season in the Atlantic 10, received a No. 3 seed and will play No. 6 Saint Joseph’s in the final game of the day at 7:30 p.m.

Every match of the 2012 Championship is being web-streamed for free at www.atlantic10.com. Live stats, photo galleries, and game recaps will also be available on the Women’s Soccer Championship Central at www.atlantic10.com.

FIRST TEAM
Forwards
Colleen Williams, Dayton
Moa Mattsson, Massachusetts
Courtney Conrad, VCU

Midfielders
Sophia Maccagnone, Butler
Juliana Libertin, Dayton
Renee Washington, La Salle
Mo Hawkins, Saint Joseph’s

Defenders
Alysha Mallon, Dayton
Courtney Niemiec, La Salle
Shannon Van Riper, St. Bonaventure

Co-Goalkeepers
Gabrielle Pakhtigian, La Salle
Christine Neal, Saint Joseph’s

SECOND TEAM
Forwards
Ashley Campbell, Dayton
Kelsey Haycook, La Salle
Becca Wann, Richmond
Wendy Acosta, VCU

Midfielders
Amanda Jones, Charlotte
Alexis Garcia, Dayton
Cristin Granados, VCU

Defenders
Kelly Mahoney, Butler
Jourdan McVicker, La Salle
Carly Edgcomb, VCU

ALL ROOKIE
Sophia Maccagnone, Butler
Maddie Kiebel, Charlotte
Ashley Campbell, Dayton
Nicole Waters, Dayton
Kristi Abbate, George Washington
Ellie Bailes, Rhode Island
Abby Maiello, Saint Bonaventure
Olivia McEachern, Saint Joseph’s
Shauni Kerkhoff, Temple
Erin Lafferty, Temple
Wendy Acosta, VCU

ALL ACADEMIC
Kelly Mahoney, Butler
Alex Kubrick, Charlotte
Sarah Ann Waugh, Charlotte
Juliana Libertin, Dayton
Colleen Williams, Dayton
Sarah Senoyuti, Dayton
Kathleen Wolff, Duquesne
Jourdan McVicker, La Salle
Gabby Pakhtigan, La Salle
Renee Washington, La Salle
Moa Mattsson, Massachusetts