Oct. 31, 2012
Park Ridge, Ill. -
The Big Ten Conference announced its 2012 women's soccer All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners on Wednesday, with conference champion Penn State collecting five of the six individual honors. The Nittany Lions' Maya Hayes was named Forward of the Year, Christine Nairn took home Midfielder of the Year honors, Whitney Church claimed Defender of the Year laurels, Raquel Rodriguez garnered the Freshman of the Year award and Erica Walsh earned Coach of the Year accolades. Michigan's Haley Kopmeyer was named Goalkeeper of the Year.
Hayes earned Forward of the Year accolades for the second consecutive year. The junior tied for the conference lead in goals per game (1.00) and was tied for sixth in goals (12) after missing seven games while playing on the gold medal-winning U.S. U-20 Women's National Team in the U-20 World Cup.
Nairn reeled in Midfielder of the Year honors after lead ing the Nittany Lions in points (35), goals (13), shots (71) and assists (9) this season. The senior was third in the conference in assists and assists per game (0.47) in all games.
Church earned Defender of the Year laurels after leading a Nittany Lion defensive corps that allowed just 10 goals in 11 conference matches this season. She also helped Penn State to seven shutouts, including four in Big Ten play.
Kopmeyer took home Goalkeeper of the Year honors after leading the conference in shutouts (9) this season, with six in Big Ten play. The senior also ranked second in goals-against average (0.66) and save percentage (.854) in all games.
Rodriguez earned top billing among freshmen after leading the conference in assists (7) and assists per game (0.64) during Big Ten play. Rodriguez is the seventh Nittany Lion to win the award, and the second in the last four years, as Nairn claimed the honor in 2009.
Walsh led Penn State to its 15th straight Big Ten Championship, compiling a 16-2-1 overall record and a 10-0-1 mark in conference play en route to her second Big Ten Coach of the Year honor. She helped the Nittany Lions to a final regular-season national ranking of No. 3 and the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.
Hayes, Nairn, Church and Kopmeyer earned spots on the All-Big Ten first team and were joined by Illinois' Vanessa DiBernardo, Michigan's Nkem Ezurike, Holly Hein, and Shelina Zadorski, Michigan State's Annie Steinlage, Minnesota's Taylor Uhl, and Ohio State's Tiffany Cameron and Danica Wu. The complete All-Big Ten teams, including the All-Freshman Team, is attached above.
The Big Ten also recognized 12 Sportsmanship Award honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. The complete list of honorees can be found below.