KANSAS CITY, Mo.
– The Big 12 Conference regular-season champion West Virginia University women’s soccer team was recognized by its league peers this evening, as six Mountaineers earned a combined eight All-Big 12 honors, while coach Nikki Izzo-Brown was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, senior Frances Silva
was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and freshman Kadeisha Buchanan
was named Big 12 Defender and Newcomer of the Year.
WVU is the first program to win both the offensive and defensive player of the year awards in the same season. Prior to the defensive recognition’s debut in 2007, only Colorado (2003) had swept all of the individual honors outright.
“This is a huge compliment for this team to be recognized in this way,” Izzo-Brown says of the No. 15-ranked Mountaineers. “These awards represent one of the best conferences in the country, and this conference boasts some of the best players and coaches in the NCAA. These awards speak volumes for what these ladies have accomplished this season.”
This is the second straight Big 12 honor for Izzo-Brown and her fourth coach of the year recognition, as she was recognized by the Big East Conference in 2001 and 2002. The 18-year Mountaineer coach led WVU to its second consecutive Big 12 Conference regular-season title, as the squad posted a 7-1 record in league play. The Mountaineers won nine straight matches from Sept. 20 – Oct. 25 and own a 14-1-1 record in all-time Big 12 regular-season matches.
“I always feel a coaching award is a reflection of your staff, and I share this honor with everyone that works with me on a daily basis,” says Izzo-Brown. “(Associate head coach) Lisa Stoia and (assistant coach) Marisa Kanela work so hard, and I think this award also reflects all that they contribute to this program.”
Silva, an Overland Park, Kan., native, was unanimously selected as the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. The forward enters postseason play owning a Big 12-best 37 points (12 G, 13 A). She leads the conference in goals and assists; her assist total is a WVU single-season record.
She is the fifth Mountaineer to win a conference offensive player of the year award and the first since Ashley Banks earned the Big East Offensive Player of the Year honor in 2007.
“For Frances to win this award and to back it up with the numbers she posted this season is a direct reflection of all the hard work and focus she dedicated to the sport over the summer,” Izzo-Brown says. “She has an all-or-nothing mentality, and I’m so proud of her.”
Buchanan, a Brampton, Ontario, native, is the second straight Mountaineer to earn the Big 12
Defensive Player of the Year honor, as Bry McCarthy earned the award in WVU’s inaugural conference season. The center back helped the Mountaineer defense post six shutouts this season and hold their opponents to 23 goals. Additionally, she shows three points (1 G, 1 A).
She is the fourth Mountaineer to earn a conference newcomer of the year award, and the first since Kate Schwindel
was named the Big East Rookie of the Year in 2011.
“Kadeisha is a student of the game – she works so hard and has such passion,” says Izzo-Brown. “She truly has worked hard to play beyond her freshman year. I’m very happy for her.”
A conference-best four Mountaineers landed on the All-Big 12 First Team: forward Silva, defender Buchanan, junior forward Schwindel and freshman midfielder Ashley Lawrence
. The award is the first career first-team nod for Silva, as she was named to the 2012 second team, and the second consecutive for Schwindel, who ranks second in the Big 12 in points (28) and goals (11). Buchanan and Lawrence were the only two freshmen to garner first-team honors.
Sophomore midfielder Amanda Hill
was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team. The Washington, Pa., native tallied four points (1 G, 2 A) this season, including the assist on Silva’s game-tying goal at Oklahoma on Oct. 25. The Mountaineers defeated the Sooners, 2-1, in double-overtime, and the victory clinched the squad’s conference championship.
Buchanan, Lawrence and redshirt-freshman defender Carly Black
were named to the All-Big 12 Newcomer Team.
The eight All-Big-12 selections are a conference-best total. WVU earned a Big-12 best seven honors in 2012.
A full listing of All-Big 12 recipients can be found on Big12sports.com.