CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Boston University, the America East women’s soccer regular-season champion and the 14th-ranked team in the nation, has been recognized with four of the conference’s six major postseason awards, while University of Hartford claimed the other two honors. The major award winners, along with the all-conference teams, were determined in a vote by the league’s head coaches and announced this afternoon.
The Terriers, whose regular-season crown is their fifth straight, have won 11 straight games led by their quartet of major award winners. Senior Jessica Luscinski (Bedford, N.H./Trinity) earned Striker of the Year honors for the second straight season, junior Brittany Heist (Lancaster, N.Y./Lancaster) was the Midfielder of the Year, senior Angelina Cords (Leonardtown, Md./Leonardtown) garnered Defender of the Year recognition and freshman Taylor Krebs (Dove Canyon, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) took home the Rookie of the Year award. The Hawks are having one of their best seasons in program history, compiling a 13-1-3 regular-season record and ranking among the nation’s best defensive teams. As a result sophomore Erin Quinlan (Saugus, Mass./The Governor’s Academy/Syracuse) earned Goalkeeper of the Year honors and the Hartford coaching staff, led by John Natale, was tabbed Coaching Staff of the Year.
Luscinski, a senior forward, is just the second repeat Striker of the Year since the conference instituted the award in 2002. Also a first-team all-league forward for the third consecutive season, Luscinski is tied for the league lead in assists (7) while ranking second in points (23) and goals (8) despite missing three games due to injury. Tabbed the America East Player of the Week on Aug. 23, Luscinski is tied for third on the Terriers’ all-time scoring list with 79 points.
Heist has added to the tradition of dominant Boston U. midfielders, becoming the fourth different Terrier to be named Midfielder of the Year in as many seasons. The senior captain serves as the starting point for an attack that leads America East and ranks 16th nationally with 47 goals in 19 games (2.47 gpg). Heist, a repeat first-team selection, is tied for the league lead with seven assists to go with four goals for 15 points.
Cords carries the torch of Boston U. defenders to earn the league’s top honor, which has happened for five straight seasons. A senior captain, Cords leads a back line that has allowed just 10 goals in 19 games (0.53 gapg), including only one to conference foes, and has 12 shutouts on the year. A first-team defender for the third time, Cords has also contributed offensively, tallying four points on two goals and two assists.
Krebs, a freshman forward, has added an offensive punch off the bench for the Terriers and has scored when her team needed it most. Five of her six goals have been game winners, which ranks second among league leaders. Overall, Krebs is tied for sixth in goals and ranks 10th in points (13).
Quinlan, also the all-conference first-team goalkeeper, is one of the main catalysts for Hartford’s turnaround season. The sophomore leads the country with a .948 save percentage, making 91 stops on the season (5.53 spg). Quinlan also ranks fifth in the country with a 0.38 goals-against average and has 12 shutouts on the year.
Natale, who’s in his eighth year at Hartford, has led his team to one of its best seasons in program history after experiencing a six-win improvement from last year. His squad has been built around a stellar defense which has shut out 12 opponents this year and allowed just seven goals all season, which ranks sixth nationally (0.39 team GAA). Natale, who was also named America East Coach of the Year in 2006, is assisted by Kelly Shimmin and Kevin Bacher.
Joining Luscinski among the first-team forwards are Hartford’s Mary Beth Hamilton (Columbia, Conn./Mercy) and Amelia Pereira (Madeira Island, Portugal/Escola da APEL/Martin Methodist College). The tandem has combined for 39 points with Hamilton racking up six goals and six assists and Pereira adding seven goals and seven assists. Heist is joined in the first-team midfield by teammate Kylie Strom (Endicott, N.Y./Union Endicott), Hartford’s Caitlin Alves (Ludlow, Mass./The Williston Northampton School) and New Hampshire’s Monique Lamotte (Tampa, N.Y., Freedom), who earned second-team honors each of the last two seasons. Strom is tied for third in America East with seven goals, while Alves leads the league in points (25) and goals (10). Accompanying Cords on the first-team back line is teammate Katherine Donnelly (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry/Holy Cross) and Hartford’s Michelle DiSanti (Meriden, Conn./Mercy), who have both been key contributors to their respective team’s strong defensive units.
The second-team forwards are made up of University at Albany’s Chelsea DeVerna (Setauket, N.Y./Ward Melville) and Boston U.’s Tiya Gallegos (Lakewood, Calif./Mayfair), both repeat choices, along with UMBC’s Rachel McKee (Ellicott City, Md./Mount Hebron). The Great Danes’ Rebecca Lee (Selkirk, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) and Chrissy Klepper (River Edge, N.J./River Dell), UNH’s Stephanie Gilkenson (Cranston, R.I./La Salle Academy) and Stony Brook University’s Sa’sha Kershaw (Baltimore, Md./Loch Raven) comprise the second-team midfield. The second-team defenders are Hartford’s Christiana Lang (Huntington Beach, Calif./Temecula Valley/Cypress College), New Hampshire’s Kelly Mooney (Canton, Mass./Canton) and University of Vermont’s Alexa DaMaio (Yardley, Pa./The Pennington School). Boston U.’s Alice Binns (Dorchester, Mass./Beaver Country Day/William Smith) is the second-team All-Conference goalkeeper after recording a league-best 0.31 goals-against average and nine shutouts.
The all-rookie team, which consists of 12 players regardless of position due to a tie in voting, is made up of Krebs, Albany’s Stephanie Nelle (Massapequa Park, N.Y./Massapequa), Binghamton University’s Connie Gormley (East Setauket, N.Y./St. Anthony’s), Boston U.’s Ariana Aston (Dove Canyon, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic) and Jamie Turchi (Santa Margarita, Calif./Tesoro), Hartford’s Chanel Johnson (New London, Conn./New London), University of Maine’s Jordan Pellerin (Waterville, Maine/Waterville) and Camile Varin-Tremblay (St.-Hubert, Quebec/Shattuck-St. Mary’s), New Hampshire’s Meghan Ledwith (Yardley, Pa./Villa Joseph Marie), Stony Brook’s Regan Bosnyak (Newington, Conn./Northwest Catholic) and Vermont’s Alexandra Dezenzo (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) and Kerry Glynn (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge).
Twenty-eight all-conference and all-rookie honorees will compete in the 2011 America East Women’s Soccer Championship, which begins on Thursday with two quarterfinal contests. Visit Championship Central for up-to-date tournament information.