Northern Kentucky sophomore Macy Hamblin has been named the Horizon League Women’s Soccer Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year, while Milwaukee sophomore Cassidy Blanchard earned Defensive Player of the Year accolades in voting of the League’s 10 head coaches.
UIC sophomore Kelly Fritz earned Goalkeeper of the Year accolades for the second consecutive season, while Detroit’s Claudia Eustaquio collected Freshman of the Year honors. In his debut season with Milwaukee, Troy Fabiano was voted the League’s Coach of the Year by his peers after leading the Panthers to their 15th regular-season title in the last 16 years.
In Northern Kentucky’s first season in the Horizon League, Hamblin collected the most points in voting to earn Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year honors. The sophomore tied for the League lead with 20 points, pacing the conference with eight assists. The Norse will take the No. 3 seed into the Horizon League Tournament after winning a program-record 10 matches.
Blanchard led a resurgent Milwaukee squad, keying a defense that did not allow a goal in six October League matches. Overall, Milwaukee has posted shutouts in nine matches. Blanchard joins Nicole Sperl (2010) and Jamie Forbes (2011) as Panthers to be selected as the League’s top defender.
Fritz became the first player in League history to earn consecutive keeper of the year nods, posting five shutouts in 18 matches. In League play, Fritz turned in three clean sheets, turning in over five saves per match.
Stepping between the posts for Detroit, Eustaquio posted three shutouts in nine League matches. Overall, Eustaquio’s five shutouts on the year tied for third in the conference.
Regular season champions, Milwaukee placed two players on the First Team, with Maria Stephans joining Blanchard. Northern Kentucky, Valparaiso, Oakland and Wright State all placed two players onto the team as well. Hamblin and fellow forward Jessica Frey represented the Norse, while Joan Sieja and Alice Palmer carried the Oakland banner. Valparaiso’s Rita Craven and April Cronin earned First Team selections for the second consecutive seasons. Wright State’s midfield duo of Bryce Hueber and Niki Romero also collected first team honors. UIC’s Fritz was the first-team goalkeeper.
Four more Panthers were voted Second Team All-League, as Anna Smalley, Kelsey Holbert, Callie O’Donnell and Paige Lincicum made it six Milwaukee student-athletes on all-league teams. Cleveland State and UIC placed two student-athletes apiece on the team, with Kaila Sargema and Allie Sieradzki representing the Vikings and Olivia Everin and Madison Pollard the Flames. Detroit’s Alyssa Lotito, Wright State’s Ashley Gogolin and Kyler Lum of Youngstown State rounded out the team.
Eustaquio led the All-Freshman Team and was joined by teammate Molly Kane. Oakland placed two freshmen on the team, led by Emily Zweng and Maria Zandi. Aaliyah Patten was selected to the squad from Wright State, while Milwaukee’s Kelli Swenson, Northern Kentucky’s Taylor Spaulding, Cleveland State’s Ashley Thiss, UIC’s Naomi Rushe, Youngstown State’s Madison Hughes and Valparaiso’s Kelsey Jahn rounded out the 11.
The Horizon League Women’s Soccer Championship kicks off Monday, Nov. 2, with two first round contests. No. 3 Northern Kentucky hosts No. 6 Cleveland State, while No. 4 Wright State welcomes No. 5 Valparaiso. Both matches will kick off at 7 p.m. ET. On Thursday, Nov. 5, the tournament will move to Engelmann Stadium on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for the semifinals and championship rounds. The first semifinal will see No. 2 Oakland square off against the highest remaining seed at 5:30 p.m. ET, with No. 1 Milwaukee taking on the lowest remaining seed at 8 p.m. ET. The championship contest will commence at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 7.
All five matches will be carried live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. On site coverage will also be provided across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Periscope and Snapchat by following “@HorizonLeague”.
2015 Horizon League Women’s Soccer Award Winners
Player of the Year: Macy Hamblin, So., F, Northern Kentucky
Offensive Player of the Year: Macy Hamblin, Northern Kentucky
Defensive Player of the Year: Cassidy Blanchard, So., D, Milwaukee
Goalkeeper of the Year: Kelly Fritz, So., GK, UIC
Freshman of the Year: Claudia Eustaquio, GK, Detroit
Coach of the Year: Troy Fabiano, Milwaukee
First Team All-League
Macy Hamblin, So., F, Northern Kentucky
Rita Craven, Sr., M, Valparaiso
Joan Sieja, Sr., F/M, Oakland
Jessica Frey, So., F, Northern Kentucky
Bryce Hueber, So, M, Wright State
Alice Palmer, Jr., F, Oakland
April Cronin, Jr., F, Valparaiso
Maria Stephans, Jr., M, Milwaukee
Cassidy Blanchard, So., D, Milwaukee
Niki Romero, So., M, Wright State
Kelly Fritz, So., GK, UIC
Second Team All-League
Kaila Sargema, Jr., F, Cleveland State
Alyssa Lotito, Sr., D, Detroit
Anna Smalley, So., M, Milwaukee
Kelsey Holbert, Sr., M, Milwaukee
Allie Sieradzki, Sr., M, Cleveland State
Ashley Gogolin, Sr., M, Wright State
Olivia Everin, So., F, UIC
Kyler Lum, So., M, Youngstown State
Madison Pollard, So., D, UIC
Callie O’Donnell, Jr., M, Milwaukee
Paige Lincicum, Jr., GK, Milwaukee
Claudia Eustaquio, GK, Detroit
Aaliyah Patten, F, Wright State
Taylor Spaulding, D, Northern Kentucky
Kelli Swenson, D, Milwaukee
Ashley Thiss, M, Cleveland State
Naomi Rushe, Fr., F, UIC
Maria Zandi, Fr., D/M, Oakland
Emily Zweng, Fr., GK, Oakland
Madison Hughes, M, Youngstown State
Kelsey Jahn, M, Valparaiso
Molly Kane, M, Detroit