After a season full of accolades and its 15th straight conference title, the Penn State women’s soccer team took home five of six possible individual Big Ten honors.
Junior Maya Hayes and coach Erica Walsh won conference awards for the second time in their careers.
Hayes was named Forward of the Year after scoring 12 goals with five assists in 12 regular season games for the Lions. She led the Big Ten in goals per game (1.00). Hayes won her award despite missing a handful games while competing with the U-20 United States National Team which won the World Cup in September.
Walsh received Coach of the Year, and also won the award after the 2009 season. In her sixth season as head coach Walsh led the Lions to an undefeated conference record (17-3-1, 9-0-1 Big Ten).
Senior Christine Nairn, who led the team in goals (13) and assists (8), was named Midfielder of the Year for the first time in her career. Nairn stepped into a new scoring role this season after a previous season-high of seven goals.
Sophomore Whit Church was named Defensive Player of the Year. She anchored a defense that allowed only 18 goals in 19 regular season games.
In a season with major contributions from freshmen in the starting lineup, Raquel Rodriguez was named Freshman of the Year. The midfielder scored three goals with nine assists and was the focal point of the Lions’ set pieces this season.
However, some of Rodriguez’s stiffest competition was from fellow teammate Mallory Weber, who put up 10 goals and two assists this season. Weber took home Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors three times.
The Lions were knocked out in the second round of the Big Ten tournament after losing 1-0 to Illinois, but their regular season performance earned them a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. They will take on LIU-Brooklyn in the first round at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Jeffrey Field.