INDIANAPOLIS – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee junior Sarah Hagen has been named Horizon League Women’s Soccer Player of the Year, while Butler freshman Jackie Hafele has earned Newcomer of the Year honors. Milwaukee senior Nicole Sperl was chosen Defensive Player of the Year, while Cleveland State goalkeeper Kelly Zinkiewich was voted Goalkeeper of the Year.
After leading Butler to their first share of the Horizon League title since 1996, head coach Tari St. John was selected Coach of the Year. Butler went 2-8-0 in non-conference games, but found their stride in the Horizon League, going 6-2-0 to match Milwaukee’s record and take the No. 1 seed into the Horzion League Women’s Soccer Tournament.
In voting conducted of the League’s coaches, Hagen was the near-unanimous choice for both Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year accolades. The junior, who earned Player of the Year honors in 2009, led the Horizon League in goals (15) and points (35) while finishing tied for third with five assists.
In conference play, Hagen finished the eight-game slate with nine goals and one assist, pacing the League with 19 points in leading the Panthers to a share of their 11th straight Horizon League regular season title.
Her teammate Sperl was part of an effort that saw the Panthers allow just three goals in eight conference matches. While anchoring the defense, the senior chipped in a goal and five assists, helping Milwaukee finish the regular season with a 6-2-0 mark.
Hafele was the lone newcomer voted First Team All-Horizon League, controlling the middle of the field for a resurgent Butler squad. The Prospect, Ky.-native finished tied for second on the team in points, finishing the season with nine after a two goal, five assist output.
Zinkiewich set Cleveland State single-season records for shutouts (7), goals against average (1.12) and save percentage (.811). Entering the Horizon League Tournament, Zinkiewich’s 380 career saves are good for fourth on the all-time conference list.
Seven players join Hagen, Sperl, Hafele and ZInkiewich on the All-Horizon League First Team. Milwaukee’s Sarah Talbert rounded out the trio of Panthers on the team, while Katie Griswold was the second Butler player to receive first team honors. Natalie Daniels gave Cleveland State two first team honorees, while Wright State placed Brittany Persaud and Lauren Patterson on the team. Loyola’s Maggie Doe and Alexandra Suschak of Detroit rounded out the 11-women squad.
The Horizon League Women’s Soccer Championship kicks off Saturday, Oct. 30, when No. 3 Cleveland State hosts No. 6 Detroit at 5 p.m. ET. On Sunday, Oct. 31, No. 5 Loyola travels to Dayton, Ohio, for a 1 p.m. ET match with No. 4 Wright State. No. 1 Butler will square off against the lowest remaining seed while No. 2 Milwaukee will meet the highest remaining team in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 5. The championship contest will commence at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 7. Butler will be the host for the semifinals and finals.