CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — After a competitively balanced regular-season, the 2013 America East Women’s Soccer end of the year honors reflected the same story line with five teams represented in the six major awards, the conference office announced Wednesday. Hartford, Maine, UMBC, Stony Brook and Vermont each earned one of the conference’s yearly honors. The major award winners, along with the all-conference teams, were determined in a vote by the league’s head coaches.
UMBC claimed its first America East Co-Regular Season title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, and with it came the program’s first major award winners as Jessy Brown was named Co-Midfielder of the Year and head coach Leslie Wray captained a group that earned Coaching Staff of the Year honors. Stony Brook junior Ashley Castanio was named the conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year, leading the Seawolves to their first Co-Regular Season title. Hartford had a pair of honorees, including Striker of the Year, Chanel Johnson, and Co-Midfielder of the Year, Stephanie Santos. Maine senior Maggie Malone took home Defender of the Year accolades.
Johnson is the second-straight Hawk to be named Striker of the Year after Amelia Pereira earned the distinction last year. The only unanimous All-Conference First Team selection, she scored seven of her nine goals during conference play to lead the America East. Johnson also led the conference in points (14), shots (39) and tied for second in game-winning goals (2) during America East action. For the season, Johnson totaled nine goals and three assists for 21 points, while taking 88 shots and scoring three game-winners. This is the first all-conference selection for the junior.
Brown is the first women’s soccer student-athlete to earn a major award in UMBC program history, being named Co-Midfielder of the Year. A three-time America East Player of the Week, Brown helped UMBC complete the best turnaround in America East history and become co-regular season champions and earn the No. 1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament. The junior totaled six goals, including a conference-best five game-winning goals and one game-tying goal. She was fifth in the conference in all games played with 14 points (6 g, 2 a), scoring three goals and handing out two assists during conference play.
Santos joins Brown as Co-Midfielder of the Year, becoming the first Hawk to earn the award. Santos is the playmaker for John Natale’s squad, leading the conference with seven assists to help Hartford rank second in the conference with 27 goals. The junior also earned her first selection to the All-Conference First Team and helped Hartford earn the No. 4 seed in the tournament.
Malone anchored a back line that surrendered just 0.94 goals per game to become the first Black Bear since 2005 to be named Defender of the Year. An All-Conference First Team honoree, Malone helped Maine rank second in the conference in goals allowed and earn the No. 3 seed in the America East Championship.
Castanio is the third Seawolf to earn America East Goalkeeper of the Year and the first since Marisa Viola in 2008. Castanio, the First Team All-Conference goalkeeper, was integral in leading Stony Brook to its first co-regular season title. She led the conference during league play with three shutouts and an .849 save percentage. The junior also led the conference in all games with 88 saves and finished the regular-season with a 1.09 goals against average and a 10-5-4 record.
McFarland is the second Catamount to be named Rookie of the Year, joining Corinne Imperatore who earned the honor in 1996. McFarland led all freshmen and ranked seventh in the conference in points with 12, tallying five goals and two assists. Three of the freshmen’s goals came during conference play, including the game-winner in the final game of the season that gave Vermont its third-straight trip to the America East tournament.
The UMBC coaching staff and head coach Leslie Wray orchestrated the best turnaround in America East history to be unanimously selected as the Coaching Staff of the Year. After finishing in last place in 2012 with an 0-5-3 conference record, the Retrievers tied for the regular-season title and earned the No. 1 seed with a 6-2-0 league record and 18 points. As it stands now, UMBC has the third-best turnaround in the country, going from 1-11-5 (.206) to 11-5-2 (.667).
Joining Johnson as all-conference first team forwards are Stony Brook senior Larissa Nysch and UMBC junior Alexa Quaranta. Nysch led the league in all games played in goals (10) and points (24). Nysch was a second-team pick in 2012. Quaranta paced the UMBC offense with seven goals to go with one assist.
Brown and Santos highlighted the first-team midfield that also included Binghamton sophomore Rebecca Raber and Maine senior Lisa Bijman. Raber started all 17 games for the Bearcats and ranked second in points with nine (3 g, 3 a), while Bijman played a more defensive role for the Black Bears and helped the team rank second in goals against averaged.
Hartford junior Raelynn Mikell and Stony Brook sophomore Stella Norman finish off the back line with Malone. Mikell and the Hawk defense ranked first in the conference with a 0.67 goals against averaged. Norman was outstanding on both ends of the field for the Seawolves, ranking second on the team with 16 points, totaling five goals and six assists. The sophomore did most of her damage from set pieces and finished third in the conference in points per game. Castanio rounded out the all-conference first team in net.
Four forwards notched second-team all-conference accolades due to a tie in voting, including a pair of Maine Black Bears in Charlene Achille and Eve L’Abbe. Achille moved from midfield to forward during conference play and scored four goals in the eight conference games, while L’Abbe led Maine in points with 11 (4 g, 3 a). Hartford senior Natasha Douglas was the team’s second leading scorer and tied for seventh in points with fellow second-team forward, Vermont freshman Nikki McFarland. McFarland is one of three freshmen on the all-conference second team.
Two freshmen are featured in the all-conference second team midfield in UMBC’s Meg Kowalski and Maine’s Arianne Leclerc. Stony Brook sophomore Tessa Devereaux and Hartford graduate student Amanda Hamilton also earned recognition.
Binghamton junior Connie Gormley, Vermont senior Haley Marks and UMBC sophomore Amira Walcott make up the all-conference second team defenders. Maine sophomore Lauren Swant and UMBC Lauren Kadet, both natives of Oakville, Ontario, were both honored as the second team goalkeepers
Due to a tie in voting, 12 student-athletes were named to the All-Rookie team including Rookie of the Year Nikki McFarland from Vermont. Hartford and Stony Brook led all teams with three honorees apiece. The Hawks had two defenders elected to the team in Katie Connolly and Caitlin Smallfield along with goalkeeper Jessica Jurg. The trio combined to make up one of the best defenses in the league.
Defender Christina Fluman and midfielders Maxie New and Leah Yurko were All-Rookie honorees for the Seawolves. All-Conference second team selection in Maine’s Leclerc and UMBC’s Kowalski were joined by Albany forward Alexa Schneider, Binghamton midfielder Katie O’Neill and New Hampshire goalkeeper Mimi Borkan.
In addition to the all-conference teams and major award winners, the America East also announced the All-Academic Team. To be eligible for the All-Academic team, a student-athlete must carry at-least a 3.5 GPA and play in 50% of the team’s games. Student-athletes are then nominated and voted on by a group of Faculty Athletic Representatives, Sports Information Directors and Academic Advisors.
Three all-conference selections also were named to the All-Academic team including Maine senior Lisa Bijman (3.95 in Kinesiology and Physical Education) and sophomore Eve L’Abbe (3.96 in Pre-Medical Studies) along with UMBC junior Jessy Brown (3.70 in Biology). Hartford sophomore Emma Donnelly and UMBC sophomore Nikki Boretti each earned spots on the All-Academic Team with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages.
Binghamton led all teams with three student-athletes named to the team, including senior Emma Kurth (3.79 GPA in Global Culture), junior Emily Nuss (3.85 GPA in Cell and Molecular Biology) and Conor O’Brien (3.87 in Cell and Molecular Biology). UMass Lowell sophomore Colleen Corliss earned the first America East honor for the institution with a 3.95 gpa in Biology as a sophomore. New Hampshire had a pair of honorees to round out the team in junior Hannah Blondin (3.89 gpa in Anthropology) and senior Colleen Murray (3.75 gpa in Biology).
The 2013 America East Championship begins on Thursday, October 31 with two quarterfinal games as No. 3 Maine hosts No. 6 Binghamton at 1 p.m. and No. 4 Hartford hosts No. 5 Vermont at 6 p.m. No. 1 UMBC and No. 2 Stony Brook will host semifinal games on Sunday, Nov. 3, and the 2013 title game will be held either Nov. 9 or Nov. 10 at the highest remaining seed. For more information on the 2013 America East Championship, visit the Championship Central page at www.AmericaEast.com.