No. 6 Women’s Soccer Cleans Up 2014 Big Ten Awards
The women’s soccer team is having a dream season, and today its achievements were recognized by the Big Ten in big ways. Coach Erica Walsh, defender Whitney Church, and midfielders Raquel Rodriguez and Emily Ogle all brought home conference awards, while a slew of all players made All-Big Ten teams.
Walsh, who led the Nittany Lions to a 17-2-0 record and the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament, received Coach of the Year honors for the third time (2009, 2012). Her impressive resume shows how qualified she is: Penn State has never missed the NCAA Tournament in seven seasons under Walsh’s tutelage after winning six consecutive regular season Big Ten titles. Now, Walsh is looking for a National Championship to add to her ever-growing list of accolades.
On the player side, Church won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in her career after leading the Lions from the back all season (and putting herself on track to possibly play in a back line with fellow Penn Stater Ali Krieger for the USWNT). Church will graduate as one of the most decorated players in Penn State’s history.
Rodriguez, who was Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2012, continued her upward trajectory as a dangerous and incisive midfielder, taking home Big Ten Midfielder of the Year honors. She is also a member of the Costa Rican National Team, and helped the Central American team Las Ticas to its first Women’s World Cup bid. Ogle, meanwhile, showed all season that she might be the best freshman in the country, and was awarded the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
In addition to those awards, Penn State is all over the All-Big Ten first and second teams, as well as the all-Freshman team. Rodriguez and Church were first-team choices, with Frannie Crouse, Emily Hurd, Kori Chapic and Britt Eckerstrom making up the spine of the second team. Crouse, Ogle, and Maddie Elliston made the first-year squad, and Kindrah Kohne received Penn State’s sportsmanship award.
Big congrats to all of the Lions on these achievements. The top-seeded Nittany Lions take on Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.