January 8, 2003

Hawkins, Wagner Selected Soccer America MVPs

Jan. 8, 2003

BERKELEY, Calif. - Sophomore striker Christine Sinclair, who scored 10 goals in the NCAA Tournament -- a pair of them, including the overtime winner, in Portland's title-game triumph over archrival Santa Clara -- has been selected Soccer America's 2002 College Women's Player of the Year.

The Canadian star, who was Soccer America's Freshman of the Year in 2001, is one of four players from the West Coast Conference chosen by Soccer America as one of 11 national MVPs. Portland defender Lauren Orlandos and Santa Clara midfielders Devvyn Hawkins and Aly Wagner are the WCC's other representatives.

Wagner, expected to be taken by San Diego with the first selection of this year's WUSA draft, was Soccer America's Player of the Year in 2001.

Top-ranked Stanford, which was eliminated on penalty kicks by Portland following a 0-0 draw in the quarterfinals, placed three players among the MVPs: goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, defender Alisan Pabon and midfielder Callie Withers.

In addition, Cardinal co-coaches Stephanie Erickson and Paul Sapsford were selected Coaches of the Year.

Also selected MVPs were West Virginia forward Chrissie Abbott, Penn State midfielder Joanna Lohman, UCLA defender Nandi Pryce and North Carolina defender Catherine Reddick.

Soccer America's Freshman All-America Team and Freshman of the Year will be announced on Jan. 22.

Sinclair, a Canadian national team standout before arriving at Portland, shared the top spot among Division I goalscorers with 26 tallies despite missing five matches while playing for the full or under-19 Canadian squads. The Pilots were 18-1-2 with Sinclair in their lineup but just 1-3-1 when she was off on national team duty.

Sinclair also won Golden Boots as the top scorer at the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship and at the CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup, the regional championship and qualifier for next fall's Women's World Cup in China. Sinclair scored 10 goals at the U-19 championship and seven in the CONCACAF tournament, leading Canada to a pair of second-place finishes. The United States beat the Canadians in overtime in the finals of both events.

Stanford assistants Erickson and Sapsford took charge after head coach Andy Nelson "resigned" in controversy on the eve of the season opener. Erickson, a former Northwestern standout, and Sapsford, an Englishman in his first season on The Farm, guided the Cardinal to a 21-1-1 record and a perfect Pacific 10 Conference campaign. The team surrendered only four goals in 23 matches.

Soccer America: College Women's MVPs

CHRISSIE ABBOTT (WEST VIRGINIA)
Junior forward from Avon, Ohio

Big East Conference's Offensive MVP scored 20 goals -- nine gamewinners -- and 47 points, playing a part in more than half the Mountaineers' goals, as WVU went 18-3-1 and won Big East's Mid-Atlantic Division.

NICOLE BARNHART (STANFORD)
Sophomore goalkeeper from Gilbertsville, Pa.

Dominant keeper returned from ACL tear that sidelined her in 2001, surrendered just four goals and notched 18.5 shutouts, 93.7 save percentage, 0.18 GAA for the Pac-10 champs.

DEVVYN HAWKINS (SANTA CLARA)
Senior midfielder from Olympia, Wash.

Nation's premier defensive midfielder quarterbacked Broncos, taking on attacking responsibilities in Aly Wagner's absence, and scored critical goals in the NCAA Tournament, including Santa Clara's lone strike in the title game. Finished with six goals, five assists.

JOANNA LOHMAN (PENN STATE)
Junior midfielder from Silver Spring, Md.

Versatile midfielder prodded Nittany Lions to Big Ten title, College Cup semifinals, orchestrating multifaceted attack and creating critical late goals. Finished with 10 goals, 11 assists as Penn State went 19-4-1.

LAUREN ORLANDOS (PORTLAND)
Senior defender from Lake Forest, Calif.

Tall, versatile center back anchored a Pilot defense that shut out 17 foes -- including nine of the last 12 -- en route to the NCAA Division I crown.

ALISAN PABON (STANFORD)
Junior defender from Dallas

Best defender on the nation's best defensive team was virtually flawless at right back, helping the Cardinal to 19 shutouts while contributing mightily to the Cardinal attack.

NANDI PRYCE (UCLA)
Junior defender from Casselberry, Fla.

U.S. under-21 captain, limited in 2000 and 2001 by a leg injury, provided the foundation for the third-ranked Bruins, who shut out 13 opponents en route to an 18-3-1 campaign.

CATHERINE REDDICK (NORTH CAROLINA)
Junior defender/midfielder/forward from Birmingham, Ala.

Backline anchor, free-kick specialist filled many roles for the Tar Heels, becoming their key attacker in their run to the College Cup final four. Missed 10 games while filling a regular role on the U.S. national team's backline. Two-time SA MVP.

CHRISTINE SINCLAIR (PORTLAND)
Sophomore forward from Burnaby, British Columbia

Division I's top goalscorer with 26 goals in 20 games -- 10 in six NCAA Tournament matches -- while winning Golden Boots at the U-19 World Championship and CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup while playing for Canada. Two-time SA MVP.

ALY WAGNER (SANTA CLARA)
Senior midfielder from San Jose, Calif.

Hermann/MAC winner set the standard in midfield -- as an unparalleled passer and creator with superb defensive instincts --and contributed nine goals, nine assists to lead the Broncos to their second successive NCAA title-game appearance. Emerged as a star with the U.S. national team, duties that kept her out of nine games. Three-time SA MVP.

CALLIE WITHERS (STANFORD)
Senior midfielder from Los Altos Hills, Calif.

Deep-lying playmaker and aerial wizard was the Cardinal's pivotal figure, directing a versatile attack, dominating play in the middle and cleaning up in front of the back four while adding five goals.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Christine Sinclair (Portland)

COACHES OF THE YEAR
Stephanie Erickson and Paul Sapsford (Stanford)