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Big Ten Women's Soccer Season in Review

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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
First Team
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

Second Team
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

Third Team
Rebecca Candler, IND
Alex Melin, IOWA
Mary-Katherine Fiebernitz, MSU
Raquel Rodriguez, PSU
Rose Lavelle, WIS

Michigan's Nkem Ezurike and Penn State's Maya Hayes were both named semifinalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, given to the nation's top college women's soccer player. Ezurike finished the season with 14 goals and 10 assists - she now has a school record 49 career goals and 118 total points. She started all 23 matches and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection. Hayes, who finished her senior campaign with 19 goals and six assists, started all 23 matches, was a first-team All-Big Ten selection, and helped lead the Nittany Lions to their 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament.

The MAC Hermann Trophy finalists will be named on Thursday, Dec. 12.

Women's Soccer Weekly Honors

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Top Drawer Soccer announced its Team of the Week, with Michigan's Holly Hein and Meghan Toohey earning honors.

Hein scored one goal in the Wolverines' 3-0 win over Illinois State on Nov. 22, while Toohey converted a second-half penalty kick versus Notre Dame, sending Michigan to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines will face No. 1 Virginia on Friday in Charlottesville, Va., seeking a trip to the College Cup for the first time in program history.

Six Players Named College Boot Award Finalists

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Six Big Ten women's soccer players were named finalists for the 2013 College Boot Award, which recognizes the top player in women's college soccer. The conference's finalists include Illinois' Jannelle Flaws, Indiana's Shannon Flower and Lisa Nouanesengsy, Nebraska's Jordan Jackson and Penn State's Whitney Church and Maya Hayes.

Flaws finished the season with 23 goals, which is currently tied for first in the NCAA. The Big Ten Forward of the Year helped lead the Illini to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

Flower collected 87 saves and recorded nine shutouts. She helped guide the Hoosiers to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in program history. Nouanesengsy finished the 2013 campaign with 25 points, including 11 goals and three assists. She was named second-team All-Big Ten.

Jackson, who was named the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year, scored nine goals and tallied 11 assists this season, helping lead the Cornhuskers to their first Big Ten Championship and Big Ten Tournament title in school history.

Church played in all 23 games, scoring four goals and collecting one assist. She was a second-team All-Big Ten selection and helped the Nittany Lions reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Hayes scored a team-high 19 goals to go along with six assists and was named first-team All-Big Ten.

Fans will be able to vote for their top collegiate player until December 18. To vote, click here.

Illinois' DiBernardo Named Second-Team Academic All-American

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Vanessa DiBernardo of the Illinois women's soccer team was named a second-team Capital One Academic All-American, the College of Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced Tuesday.

The senior midfielder studies recreation, sport & tourism, and carries a 3.70 cumulative grade point average. She has been named Academic All-District three times, including a first-team nod in 2013. DiBernardo is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and an NSCAA Scholar All-American.

DiBernardo finished the season with seven goals and seven assists, helping lead the Illini to the "Sweet 16" of the NCAA Tournament. She currently holds the school record with 22 career assists and ranks third with 43 goals.

Three Teams Recognized in Latest Top 25 Poll

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Top Drawer Soccer released its weekly top 25 women's soccer poll, with three Big Ten teams garnering recognition. Michigan led the way at No. 6, followed by No. 10 Nebraska and No. 19 Penn State.

Michigan will play in the "Elite 8" of the NCAA Tournament on Friday. The Wolverines will face Virginia at 7 p.m. ET in Charlottesville, Va. The Wolverines will seek a trip to the College Cup for the first time in program history.

For the complete Top Drawer Soccer poll, click here.

Ten Teams Earn NSCAA Team Academic Award

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Ten Big Ten women's soccer programs were awarded the NSCAA Team Academic Award for the 2012-13 academic year, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America announced on Thursday. This award is given to college and high school soccer programs that excel in the classroom and on the field. The Big Ten's representation is listed below. Earning the honor for both their men's and women's soccer teams were Indiana, Northwestern and Penn State.

Illinois - 3.49 GPA
Indiana - 3.42 GPA
Iowa - 3.27 GPA
Minnesota - 3.48 GPA
Nebraska - 3.57 GPA
Northwestern - 3.33 GPA
Ohio State - 3.25 GPA
Penn State - 3.22 GPA
Purdue - 3.20 GPA
Wisconsin - 3.11 GPA

Three Teams Recognized in Latest Top 25 Poll

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Top Drawer Soccer released its top 25 women's soccer poll, with three Big Ten teams receiving recognition. Nebraska led the way at No. 9, followed by No. 10 Michigan and No. 19 Penn State.

For the complete Top Drawer Soccer poll, click here.

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