Eight women soccer players receive All-Big Sky honors

[media-credit name=”Amanda Lewark” align=”alignright” width=”200″][/media-credit]

Abbey Kennedy kicks the ball down field in a game earlier this season.

At the conclusion of a successful season, which saw the Weber State University women’s soccer team reach the finals of the Big Sky Conference tournament, eight players were named to the All-Big Sky Conference Team.

Head Coach Tim Crompton said he was pleased with the performance of the team this season, especially after having a rough year last season.

“I am proud of our players and what they accomplished this season,” Crompton said, “coming back from missing the conference tournament the last couple of seasons and earning their way into the tournament this year.”

Freshman outside defender Mackenzie Day was named Newcomer of the Year in the league, sharing that honor with Idaho State University’s Amanda Ellsworth.

Day started in all 17 of WSU’s matches this season, playing 1,557 out of a possible 1,563 minutes, and helped anchor a defense that allowed just 17 goals in 17 matches. She finished the regular season with a .98 goals-against average, which is the second-best regular season mark in school history.

Alyssa Amano said defense has been something the team has focused on this season.

“Our defense has done a really good job this season,” Amano said. “Tim has always stressed our defense.”

Senior forward Jessie Baddley was named to the first team, earning that honor for the first time in her three-year career with the Wildcats. Baddley finished second in the Big Sky in total shots this season, recording 56 attempts. She had two of the Wildcats’ six match-winning goals, tallying the decisive goals in a 1-0 road win at Utah Valley University and a 2-1 overtime road win at Northern Colorado University.

Sophomore central defender Bailey Eames, senior outside defender Roxanne Tebbs and freshman midfielder Kendra Bailey were named to the All-Big Sky Second Team.

Eames and Tebbs earned All-Conference honors for the second consecutive year. Tebbs was a second-team selection in 2010, while Eames earned honorable mention last season as a freshman.

Day, sophomore goalkeeper Ryann Waldman, freshman midfielder Ryley Hansen and sophomore forward Felicia Sortor each earned honorable mentions.

The All-Conference selections were made by a vote by the league’s eight head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own players.

The Wildcats wrapped up their year last week in the final of the Big Sky Conference tournament. Crompton said qualifying for the tournament was something the team had been focusing on all year long.

“That was our No. 1 goal at the start of the season,” Crompton said. “We wanted to get back into the conference tournament and give ourselves a chance to win it.”

WSU came close to winning the tournament. In the final against the University of Montana, the Wildcats lost in penalty kicks after finishing with a 1-1 draw after 110 minutes of action on the field. The teams went to spot kicks, with UM winning that phase 4-3 to earn the title.

The Grizzlies punched themselves into the lead in the 56th minute of action, when India Watne came onto a rebound after the Wildcats had saved a shot by Ashley Tombelaine.

WSU immediately charged down the field looking for the equalizer, but came up just short on a handful of opportunities. That burst immediately shifted the match’s momentum, as the Wildcats continually attacked until Tebbs got on the end of a cross into the box from Baddley and scored with a diving header to the left corner of the goal.

“I have to say congratulations to the University of Montana and Coach Plakorus,” Crompton said. “They played a good game, and they will do a good job of representing the Big Sky Conference in the NCAA tournament.”