Women's Soccer: Five Named All-BIG EAST
By Tim Goodenow for MSNsportsNET.com
HARTFORD, Conn. – Five West Virginia University women’s soccer players earned all-BIG EAST recognition Thursday night at the annual BIG EAST awards banquet held at the Hilton Hartford Hotel.
Senior Carolyn Blank was named to the all-BIG EAST first team for the second-straight season, while senior Nicole Mailloux and junior Megan Mischler earned third team honors, and freshmen Bri Rodriguez and Caroline Szwed were named to the all-Rookie team.
“I’m so happy for all the young ladies that were honored tonight in such a tough conference with so many talented players,” says coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “I’m excited for them because it shows that hard work pays off.”
Blank, a Toms River, N.J., native has started every match of her career, totaling 89 starts for the Old Gold and Blue. The Hermann Trophy candidate and two-time team captain has started more matches than any player in program history. Blank, a second team All-American last season, has totaled seven points this season in leading the Mountaineers to a 10th-straight BIG EAST tournament appearance. Now a three-time all-BIG EAST honoree, she has guided the 2009 Mountaineers to 12 shutouts as a defensive center midfielder.
“It is unbelievable what Carolyn has accomplished in her career,” says Izzo-Brown. “She is a special player with so much talent. She does so much for this team and another first team honor is very appropriate.”
Leading the West Virginia offense has been forward Mischler. A Moon Township, Pa., native, Mischler leads the Mountaineers with five goals on the season including three game-winners. The all-conference nod is the second of her career after being named to the all-BIG EAST third team a year ago despite missing the final eight matches with a broken fibula.
The WVU defense has been outstanding as of late, posting shutouts in six of the last seven matches, and 12 total on the season. Anchoring that defense is team captain Mailloux, the lone returning starter on a rebuilt back line. The Mississauga, Ontario, native has helped the Mountaineer defense limit nine different opponents to two shots on-goal or less this season.
Rodriguez and Szwed have been outstanding for WVU, each starting every single match of their rookie seasons. Rodriguez, an Aurora, Ill., native has contributed five points on one goal and three assists this season. Szwed, an Oakville, Ontario, native leads West Virginia in assists with five, and has one goal on the season for seven points.
The Honorable Mention all-BIG EAST team has been discontinued, allowing the BIG EAST all-Rookie team to return for the first time since the 2003 season.
All-American forward Katie Barnes earned WVU’s first all-BIG EAST first team selection in 2002. Since then, 10 different Mountaineers have earned 19 first team all-conference honors.
No. 24 West Virginia makes its eighth BIG EAST Championship semifinal appearance tomorrow night against 10th-ranked Marquette at 5 p.m. at Joseph J. Morrone in Storrs, Conn.
The Mountaineers are 5-0 all-time against the Golden Eagles and have never met in postseason play. However, Friday’s contest serves as a rematch of the regular season meeting where WVU posted a 1-0 victory in Morgantown on Sept. 24.
A complete list of all-BIG EAST teams is listed below:
ALL-BIG EAST FIRST TEAM
ALL-BIG EAST SECOND TEAM
ALL-BIG EAST THIRD TEAM
ALL-BIG EAST ROOKIE TEAM
2009 BIG EAST Women’s Soccer Major Award Winners
BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year
BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year
BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year
BIG EAST Rookie of the Year
BIG EAST Coach of the Year
Team Fair Play Award
Michaela Abam - La Salle Pregame
WVUsportsBuzz presented by U.S. Cellular
Nikki Izzo-Brown - La Salle Preview
United Bank Playbook
Mario Alford - Oklahoma Pregame
Tony Gibson - Oklahoma Pregame