Courtesy: Ilya Pinchuk (Moscow, Idaho)
|Small, Flockhart are All-WAC|
DENVER – The Western Athletic Conference announced its 2012 women’s soccer All-WAC honors on Wednesday at its pre-championship banquet and selected two University of Idaho players among those honored.
Vandal senior Chelsea Small became the first four-time all-conference honoree in school history with her First-Team All-WAC selection, while senior midfielder Jill Flockhart was All-WAC for a third-consecutive season as a member of the Second Team.
“It’s a testament to their hard work and they’ll be the first to tell you it’s because of the hard work of their teammates,” Idaho head coach Peter Showler said of the honors. “They’ve shown that individually within games and the other coaches around the league recognize that. To be recognized by your opposition, it means you’re doing well.”
Small, a senior from Solana Beach, Calif. (Torrey Pines HS), tied for third in the WAC this season in total goals (8) and points (17) and led the league during the regular season with 87 shots. She also tied for the WAC lead with four game-winning goals during the season.
Of her eight scores this season, five came during WAC play, which was tied as second-most in the league during WAC competition. She also tied for the league lead with two game-winners in conference play.
Small is Idaho’s all-time leader in career goals (39), points (91), game-winning goals (16) and shots (400). She also holds Idaho’s single-season records for goals, points, game-winners and shots and ranks in the top 10 in WAC history in goals and shots.
Small’s four First-Team All-WAC honors make her the first Vandal woman since basketball player Alli Nieman to be a four-time first-team all-conference honoree in a team sport. Nieman was a four-time First-Team All-Big West Conference honoree from 1997-2000. The last Vandal woman to achieve the feat in any sport is Christie Gordon, who was a First-Team All-WAC honoree four years in a row in the women’s 100-meter hurdles in track and field from 2006-10.
“That’s an amazing achievement,” Showler said. “It’s from everything she embodies about soccer, on and off the pitch. It’s a great reward when people recognize all your hard work, and to do it four years in a row is absolutely incredible.”
Flockhart, a senior from Salmon Arm, British Columbia (Salmon Arm Secondary), is tied for third on the team with eight points this season and ranked second among Vandals with six assists during the regular season. Flockhart dished up four of her six assists during league play and ranked third individually in assists during WAC matches.
Flockhart moved into second all-time at Idaho in career assists this season with 17. She also ranks third all-time in game-winning goals (5), fourth in total points (35) and eighth in career goals (8) in Idaho soccer history.
The WAC honor is the third of Flockhart’s career. She was a First-Team All-WAC selection in 2010 and 2011.
“It’s down to consistency and the high level of performance, week in and week out, and it’s justly rewarded,” Showler said.
Regular-season co-champions Denver and Utah State led all schools with seven and five All-WAC selections, respectively. Seattle U had three picks, while Idaho and Louisiana Tech each earned a pair and UTSA, San Jose State and Texas State had one each.
Denver junior forward Kristen Hamilton earned the WAC Offensive Player of the Year honor, while Utah State senior Natalie Norris was the WAC Defensive Player of the Year for a third-consecutive season. Texas State freshman forward Lynsey Curry was the WAC Freshman of the Year and Denver’s Jeff Hooker was named WAC Coach of the Year.
First Team All-WAC
Kaitlin Bast (Sr., F, Denver)
Kristen Hamilton (Jr., F, Denver)
Chelsea Small (Sr., F, Idaho)
Stephanie Verdoia (So., F, Seattle U)
Melissa Busque (Sr., MF, Seattle U)
Nicholette DiGiacomo (Jr., MF, Denver)
Mari Miyashiro (Jr., MF, Utah State)
Jessy Battelli (Jr., D, Denver)
Sam Harder (So., D, Denver)
Natalie Norris (Sr., D, Utah State)
Ashlyn Mulford (Sr., GK, Utah State)
Emily Brennan (Jr., F, Louisiana Tech)
Jennifer Flynn (Jr., F, Utah State)
Maria Jose Rojas (Jr, F, UTSA)
Julia Besagno (Jr., MF, Seattle U)
Jill Flockhart (Sr., MF, Idaho)
Katy Van Lieshout (Sr., MF, Denver)
Megan Molina (Jr., D, San Jose State)
Mo Rockwell (Sr., D, Louisiana Tech)
Taryn Rose (So., D, Utah State)
Emma Staley (Sr., D, Texas State)
Lara Campbell (Sr., GK, Denver)
Offensive Player of the Year: Kristen Hamilton (Jr., F, Denver)
Defensive Player of the Year: Natalie Norris (Sr., D, Utah State)
Freshman of the Year: Lynsey Curry (Fr., F, Texas State)
Coach of the Year: Jeff Hooker (Denver)