The women's soccer program received its first-ever NCAA Tournament bid this year
EASTON, Mass. (November 21, 2016) – Stonehill College women's soccer head coach Alex Wilson and assistant coaches Meghan O'Brien and Sam Whitney have been named National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Women's Regional Staff of the Year, announced by the association on Sunday.
This honor is a result of a vote by other NSCAA member coaches in the East Region. Wilson, who is in her fourth season in charge of the soccer program, has seen the most improvement since taking the reigns in 2013 and was honored as the NE-10 Coach of the Year.
"It's an honor to receive this recognition as a coaching staff, but it doesn't happen without the team," fourth-year head coach Wilson reacted. "This 2016 squad had total buy in – to our system, to our culture, and to each other – and that contributed greatly to our conference championship and historical first-ever bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament. I am so proud of the 30 players that put on this uniform and I feel the same pride when I come to work for them every day. My staff has supported me and I'm thankful for their dedication to this program. This group of seniors has been committed to our goals since day one and this is just another accolade to honor their final season as Skyhawks and set the bar for future teams."
This year, the Skyhawks kicked off the season with their first Catholic Cup Championship, including a 3-1 victory over Assumption College and a 1-0 win over Saint Anselm College in the title game. Stonehill continued driving forward, taking off with a 10-0-1 overall record, and 7-0-1 mark in NE-10 play. Stonehill earned its first national ranking since 2000, while also recording victories over No. 20 LIU Post and No. 5 Adelphi University.
Stonehill made its first appearance in the NE-10 Tournament since 2014 after posting an 8-5-1 conference record, finishing fourth out of the 15 teams. The 2016 squad blanked The College of Saint Rose in the quarterfinal, 2-0, and then surpassed Adelphi, 1-0, in the semifinal round. In the championship game, the Skyhawks topped Pace University, 2-1, winning its first NE-10 Tournament Championship since 1995 while also earning its first NCAA Tournament bid in program history. The opening round gave Stonehill a NE-10 matchup facing American International, where the Yellow Jackets moved on with a 3-1 win.
"We are literally at a loss for words," stated four-year assistant coach O'Brien. "We are honored to receive the award, but we are most grateful for the 30 young ladies that have been on board with our team philosophy since the beginning. We are beyond proud of the ladies for taking our ideals, setting lofty goals and making their dreams reality through hard work and dedication. Our leadership has extended beyond our staff, from the captains and many other players who take on various roles. The team mentality is always present and we wouldn't be accepting this award if that mindset wasn't instilled in all 30 of our girls."
This year, the women's soccer coaching staff trained NE-10 Goalkeeper of the Year Jamie Block (Georgetown, Mass./Georgetown) who also picked up her first, first team honor. Brianna Duserick (Canton, Mass./Canton) was the other Skyhawk who was named to the NE-10 All-Conference first team. Seniors Claire O'Brien (West Hartford, Conn./Hall) and Lauren Kapatoes (Hopedale, Mass./Hopedale) were tabbed on the All-Conference second team, as Kapatoes was also named the NE-10 All-Tournament MVP at the conclusion of the championship game. Block and Duserick joined her on the All-Tournament team, as well. Sophomore Courtney Campo (Quincy, Mass./Quincy) received her first NE-10 accolade as she recorded an All-Conference third team mark, as freshman Nicole Geraghty (Bridgewater, Mass./Bridgewater-Raynham Regional) was named to the All-Rookie team.
"The coaching environment throughout the season is always positive and supportive," addressed second-year assistant Whitney. "This, along with great leadership and a total team effort, paved the way for all the successes we achieved this season. The standard for success has been established for future seasons to come."
Most recently, Block and Duserick were named to the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association All-East Region Second Team.
Wilson, O'Brien and Whitney will now be placed on the National Staff of the Year ballot, where the winners will be announced on December 20 and presented the award at the College Coaches Reception during the NSCAA Convention in Los Angeles, California from January 11-15, 2017.
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