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Four Big Ten women's soccer players were selected in the 2014 National Women's Soccer League College Draft, including three in the first round. Illinois' Vanessa DiBernardo, Michigan's Nkem Ezurike, Nebraska's Jordan Jackson and Penn State's Maya Hayes will all continue their careers professionally.
DiBernardo was drafted by the Chicago Red Stars with the No. 4 overall pick, becoming the highest drafted member of the Fighting Illini in school history. A three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, DiBernardo scored seven goals and tallied a career-high seven assists during her senior campaign, helping Illinois reach the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. She was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a two-time NSCAA Scholar All-American.
Ezurike was selected eighth overall by the Boston Breakers. She is the Wolverines' all-time leader in goals (49) and points (118). The first-team All-Big Ten selection scored 15 goals and issued 10 assists during her senior year, helping Michigan advance to the Elite Eight. Ezurike also became the first player in program history to receive an NSCAA All-America first team honor.
Jackson was selected by the Houston Dash with the No. 28 overall pick in the NWSL draft. The 2013 Big Ten Midfielder of the Year collected 30 points last season, including nine goals and a conference-best 12 assists. She also earned NSCAA Scholar All-America honors and helped the Cornhuskers win the Big Ten Championship and Big Ten Tournament title.
Hayes was drafted sixth overall by Sky Blue FC. A three-time NSCAA All-American, Hayes scored a team-high 19 goals and collected six assists last season. She was a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, first-team NSCAA Scholar All-American honoree and earned back-to-back Big Ten Forward of the Year honors in 2011 and 2012.
Three Big Ten women's soccer players were named to the Soccer America All-Freshman teams, the organization announced Wednesday.
Nebraska's Jaycie Johnson was named to the first team after collecting 36 points during the season, including 17 goals and two assists. She was also named to the All-Big Ten second team after helping the Cornhuskers claim the Big Ten Championship and the Big Ten Tournament title.
Rose Lavelle of Wisconsin earned a first-team nod after scoring six goals and tallying seven assists. The Big Ten Freshman of the Year helped the Badgers finish the season with a 10-7-2 record.
Michigan's Madisson Lewis finished the season with six goals and nine assists, earning a spot on the All-Freshman team. Lewis helped the Wolverines reach the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament and finish with an 18-4-1 mark.
Soccer America announced its 2013 Women's Soccer MVPs on Wednesday, with Michigan's Nkem Ezurike and Nebraska's Ari Romero earning the honors. Ezurike ranked third in the Big Ten with 38 points, including a team-high 14 goals and 10 assists, and was named to the All-Big Ten first team. The Wolverines advanced to the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament and finished with an 18-4-1 record. Romero started all 23 games and helped the Cornhuskers claim the Big Ten Championship and the Big Ten Tournament title. She was tabbed the Defensive Player of the Tournament and was named to the All-Tournament Team.
2013 Women's MVPs
Nkem Ezurike, Michigan
Ari Romero, Nebraska
Five Big Ten women's soccer players were named to the NSCAA Scholar All-America teams. Penn State's Taylor Schram and Maya Hayes earned first-team honors, while Illinois' Vanessa DiBernardo, Minnesota's Katie Thyken and Nebraska's Jordan Jackson were second-team selections.
Schram, a senior midfielder, posts a 3.40 cumulative GPA in psychology. She scored five goals and collected eight assists for the Nittany Lions, earning her second-team All-Big Ten honors. Hayes, an NSCAA second-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection, maintains a 3.39 GPA in kinesiology. She collected 44 points this season, including 19 goals and six assists. Penn State advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
DiBernardo, who collects the honor for the second time, studies recreation, sport and tourism and maintains a 3.70 GPA. She scored seven goals to go along with seven assists, helping the Illini reach the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Thyken studies biomechanical engineering and boasts a 3.97 GPA. She led the Golden Gophers with seven goals and three assists, helping Minnesota advance to the NCAA Tournament. Jackson, the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year, compiled a 3.34 GPA in nutrition, exercise and health science. She scored nine goals and collected 11 assists, helping her team win the Big Ten Championship and Big Ten Tournament title.
In order to be selected for the team, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale throughout their career as well as start more than 50 percent of a team's games, while being a junior or a senior.
The TopDrawerSoccer.com Best XI teams were announced Thursday, with 12 Big Ten women's soccer players earning accolades. Players from seven different conference squads were named to the Best XI teams, which recognize 33 upperclassmen and 22 freshmen for their performances during the 2013 season. The full list of the Big Ten's representation on the Best XI teams can be found below.
Best XI Teams
Nkem Ezurike, MICH
Maya Hayes, PSU
Vanessa DiBernardo, ILL
Jannelle Flaws, ILL
Shelina Zadorsky, MICH
Ari Romero, NEB
Freshman Best XI
Jaycie Johnson, NEB
Rose Lavelle, WIS
Madisson Lewis, MICH
Tarah Hobbs, MINN
Nichelle Prince, OSU
Brittany Basinger, PSU
For the complete teams, click here.
The Big Ten enjoyed a successful 2013 women's soccer season that concluded with a conference record eight Big Ten teams earning bids to the NCAA Tournament. Nebraska earned both the regular season crown and the Big Ten Tournament title.
NCAA Tournament: A conference record eight Big Ten women's soccer teams competed in the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Soccer Championship. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Penn State all earned berths to the national tournament, breaking the previous record of six Big Ten teams. Five teams played in second round games, while the Wolverines and Illini advanced to the third round. Illinois fell to Boston College, 4-1, in the third round, while third-seeded Michigan advanced to the "Elite Eight" after defeating Notre Dame. In the quarterfinal round, top-seeded Virginia defeated Michigan, 2-1. For more details on the Big Ten in the NCAA Tournament, click here.
Regular-Season Crown: Nebraska clinched the outright Big Ten Championship with a 3-1 victory over Indiana on Nov. 1, marking the first Big Ten title in Cornhusker history. Nebraska earned the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Women's Soccer Tournament. For the full release, click here.
Big Ten Tournament Title: The top-seeded Nebraska women's soccer team won its first Big Ten Tournament Championship in school history after defeating No. 7 Iowa in the championship match. With the victory, the Cornhuskers earned the Big Ten's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Nebraska also captured the Big Ten Championship, becoming the first No. 1 seed to win both the conference championship and tournament title since Penn State in 2008. For more coverage of the Big Ten Tournament, click here.
Where We Rank: Three Big Ten women's soccer teams appeared in the final NSCAA/NCAA Coaches' Poll: No. 6 Michigan, No. 13 Nebraska and No. 25 Illinois. Indiana and Penn State also received votes in the final top 25 poll.
End-of-Year Awards: The Big Ten Conference announced the 2013 women's soccer All-Big Ten teams and individual honors on Nov. 5, with Big Ten Champion Nebraska earning three accolades. The Cornhuskers' Jordan Jackson was named Midfielder of the Year, Ari Romero was selected as Defender of the Year and John Walker claimed Coach of the Year honors. Illinois' Jannelle Flaws was named Forward of the Year, while Minnesota's Tarah Hobbs was tabbed Goalkeeper of the Year. Wisconsin's Rose Lavelle was named Freshman of the Year. For a complete listing of postseason honors and the All-Big Ten teams, click here.
All-America Accolades: Four Big Ten women's soccer players earned NSCAA/NCAA All-America Team accolades. Michigan's Nkem Ezurike received a first-team nod, while Nebraska's Big Ten Defender of the Year Ari Romero, Michigan's Meghan Toohey and Penn State's Maya Hayes were second-team All-Americans. For more information on the Big Ten's representation on the All-America teams, click here.
Regional Recognition: Twenty-four Big Ten women's soccer players were named to the NCAA Division I Women's All-Great Lakes Region team, including 10 on the first team, nine on the second team and five on the third team. Penn State had five players named to the All-Great Lakes Region team, Michigan and Nebraska had four student-athletes earn recognition and three Iowa student-athletes earned spots on the teams. For more information on the All-Region teams, click here.
Final National Stats: Numerous Big Ten players appeared among the leaders in the final statistics during the 2013 season. Illinois' Jannelle Flaws scored 23 goals in the season, tying for first in the nation. Wisconsin's Kinley McNicoll's 13 assists and Michigan's Taylor Bucklin's goals-against average of .476 both rank eighth in the country. For complete national rankings, click here.
Head of the Class: Following the conclusion of the fall season, the Big Ten recognized a total of 869 fall sports student-athletes who have been named to the Academic All-Conference team, which included 153 women's soccer players. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners who are in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. At least 20 student-athletes maintained unblemished cumulative GPAs, including women's soccer players Sarah Mazur of Iowa, Katie Kraeutner from Nebraska and Nandi Mehta of Northwestern. For the complete Academic All-Big Ten release, click here.
The 2013 NSCAA/NCAA Division I Women's All-America Teams were announced, with four Big Ten women's soccer players earning accolades. Michigan's Nkem Ezurike received a first-team nod, while Nebraska's Ari Romero, Michigan's Meghan Toohey and Penn State's Maya Hayes were second-team All-Americans.
Romero started all 23 games and helped the Cornhuskers claim the Big Ten Championship and the Big Ten Tournament title. She was named the Defensive Player of the Tournament and was selected to the All-Tournament Team. The Big Ten Defender of the Year helped Nebraska finish its season with a 19-4-1 record.
Ezurike ranked third in the Big Ten with 38 points, including a team-high 14 goals and 10 assists, and was a first-team All-Big Ten choice. Toohey scored six goals and added four assists, earning All-Big Ten first team plaudits. The Wolverines reached the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament and finished with an 18-4-1 mark.
Hayes, a first-team All-Big Ten selection, earned All-America honors for the third time in her career. She ranked second in the Big Ten after concluding the season with 19 goals and six assists. She helped the Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten in goals (60), assists (55), shots (419) and points (175). Penn State advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finished its season with a 15-7-1 mark.
Twenty-four Big Ten women's soccer players were named to the NCAA Division I Women's All-Great Lakes Region team, including 10 on the first team.
Illinois' Jannelle Flaws was named to the first team, while Vanessa DiBernardo was a second-team all-region pick. The Illini advanced to the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament and finished the season with an 11-9-3 mark.
Indiana's Lisa Nouanesengsy was a first-team selection after accumulating 25 points this season, including 11 goals and three assists, while Rebecca Candler was named to the third team. The Hoosiers advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finished the season with a 15-7-1 record.
Melanie Pickert and Cloe Lacasse of Iowa were both named second-team all-region, while Alex Melin was a third-team pick. It marked the first time in program history that three players have garnered all-region honors.
Michigan's Shelina Zadorsky, Holly Hein, Meghan Toohey and Nkem Ezurike were all first team choices, marking the second consecutive year that four Wolverine players were named to the all-region team. Michigan allowed just 10 goals during the season, finishing with an 18-4-1 mark.
Mary-Katherine Fiebernitz of Michigan State was named to the Great Lakes All-Region third team after scoring a team-best six goals. The Spartans finished the season with a 9-8-2 record.
Minnesota's Tarah Hobbs and Katie Thyken were named second-team all-region after finishing the season with an 11-8-2 record. Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, Hobbs led the conference with 122 saves. Thyken scored seven goals and collected three assists.
Nebraska's Emma Stevens and Ari Romero were first-team all-region picks, while Jordan Jackson and Jaycie Johnson were named to the second team. The Cornhuskers won the Big Ten Tournament and the Big Ten Championship, ending their campaign with a 19-4-1 record.
Penn State's Taylor Schram and Maya Hayes were first team selections, Whitney Church and Mallory Weber were second team picks, and Raquel Rodriguez was named to the all-region third team. The Nittany Lions advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finished their season with a 15-7-1 mark.
Wisconsin's Rose Lavelle, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, was a third-team all-region honoree. She scored six goals and tallied seven assists, helping the Badgers finish the season with a 10-7-2 mark.
All 24 players have a chance to be named to the All-America team, which will be announced on Dec. 6.
NCAA Division I Women's All-Great Lakes Region
Jannelle Flaws, ILL
Lisa Nouanesengsy, IND
Nkem Ezurike, MICH
Holly Hein, MICH
Meghan Toohey, MICH
Shelina Zadorski, MICH
Ari Romero, NEB
Emma Stevens, NEB
Maya Hayes, PSU
Taylor Schram, PSU
Vanessa DiBernardo, ILL
Cloe Lacasse, IOWA
Melanie Pickert, IOWA
Tarah Hobbs, MINN
Katie Thyken, MINN
Jordan Jackson, NEB
Jaycie Johnson, NEB
Whitney Church, PSU
Mallory Weber, PSU
Rebecca Candler, IND
Alex Melin, IOWA
Mary-Katherine Fiebernitz, MSU
Raquel Rodriguez, PSU
Rose Lavelle, WIS