Williams' Defensive Player of the Year Award Headlines Valley Honors
Courtesy Missouri State Athletics
Springfield, Mo. -- Seven Missouri State women's soccer players picked up league honors, the Valley office announced at its annual awards banquet on Thursday night. Senior Nia Williams picked up the Defensive Player of the Year award and first team All-MVC honors. Fellow seniors Grace Cross and Michelle Sommer also were named to the first team. Rachel Weimer (second team), Chelsea Voet (honorable mention), Molly Brewer (All-Freshman team) and Alix Opfer (All-Freshman team) rounded out the Bears' accolades.
"The fact that we had seven players recognized shows our depth on the team this season," said head coach Rob Brewer. "Our goal scoring was spread out and our defense was pretty solid. We have tried to build a solid team from the back to the front and the quality of the individuals on this team has led us to great success over the years."
Williams' Defensive Player of the Year award continues a tradition of solid defense for Missouri State. It is the seventh time in program history that an MSU defender has been honored as The Valley's best. Previous winners for the Bears include Jennifer Grocki (2000), Sarah Guenther (2003, 2004), Kate Hercules (2005), Jackie Jasper (2007) and Jordan Reppell (2010).
The all-conference honor for Williams is the fourth of her career, but her initial first-team selection. She completed her four year career last week, racking up 14 career assists, tied for second in program history. A three-time MVC Defensive Player of the Week, Williams started all 69 matches she participated in and missed just five matches in her career. She scored her first career goal this season, the game-winner against Western Illinois. During her career, Williams has earned MVC All-Tournament team honors (2010) and MVC All-Freshman team accolades (2009). Off the field, she has been an MVC Scholar-Athlete team honoree in back-to-back seasons and picked up CoSIDA Academic All-District honors last season.
Cross picked up her second consecutive first-team selection and third career all-conference award. She started her 56th consecutive match for the Bears' in the regular season finale last week. Cross earned MVC Defensive Player of the Week and MVC All-Tournament team honors in 2011. Her offensive output has been vital for the Bears as both of her career goals were game-winners and all three career assists came on game-winning goals. Cross has also picked up several academic honors in her career including NSCAA Scholar All-Region in 2011 and MVC Scholar-Athlete team in 2010.
Sommer picked up her second all-conference honor, moving up from the second team a year ago. She continued to be an offensive force for the Bears in her final season as her four goals were second on the team. For the second-straight year, she led the team in shots taken and racked up 137 shots in her career, the fourth-highest total in program history. Earlier today, she was named to the Capital One Academic All-District team for the second-straight season and Sommer has been on the MVC Scholar-Athlete team each of the last two seasons.
Weimer returned to the Bears' lineup after two consecutive shortened seasons due to injury. She made the most of it, scoring a team-high six goals and 14 points, fourth in the Valley in both categories. She had three game-winning goals, including both conference wins for the Bears this season, the only player in the league with multiple game-winners in MVC play. Weimer was a second-team all-conference pick and MVC All-Freshman team member in 2009. An MVC Offensive Player of the Week in August 2011, Weimer scored a goal against UALR for the fourth-straight year earlier this season.
Voet stepped in admirably as a first-year starter in her senior season. She tied for the regular season league lead with seven shutouts on the year. After blanking Creighton this season, Voet earned MVC Goalkeeper of the Week and MVC Scholar-Athlete of the week honors on October 16 and 17, respectively. Voet was especially stout at home, allowing just two goals at Plaster Field and holding a 685-consecutive minute home shutout streak during the year. She was also recognized as a Capital One Academic All-District VI first teamer earlier Thursday.
Brewer made an impact on the Bears' offense in her first season as a Bear. Her 11 points were second on the team as she pitched in three goals and five assists. Brewer's assist total was tops on the team and ranked her third among MVC players. Two of Brewer's three goals were game-winners, including the late goal to give the Bears the program's third-straight 2-1 win over UMKC.
Opfer was also a vital cog in the Bears' system. She split time between defense and midfield this season. Opfer was one of three Bears to start every match in 2012 and played the fourth-most minutes on the team. She rattled off seven shots while a midfielder with five on net, the highest shots on goal percentage of players with multiple shots on goal.
It is the fourth time in program history that the Bears have had three first-team selections (2000, 2008, 2009). However, the streak of consecutive years with a first-team goalkeeper ends at seven straight seasons.
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