In the 2016 season, the Northern Kentucky University women’s soccer team was one of just three NCAA Division I programs to advance to the NCAA Tournament while also earning academic and sportsmanship awards from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). The Norse join Texas A&M and UNLV as the only programs to achieve the trifecta of success in competition, academics and character.
“I congratulate my coaching staff and our players for embracing our core values and continuing to strive for excellence with integrity, passion, work ethic and discipline,” said head coach Bob Sheehan. “I am proud of our coaches, players and our program to be one of only three Division I soccer programs – out of 333 in the country – that has achieved in this manner. It is a testament to the positive team culture that is a huge part of our program.”
Northern Kentucky earned its 11th-straight NSCAA Team Academic Award in October after posting a 3.42 GPA during the 2015-16 academic year. The team has been honored with the award 14 times since 2000. To qualify, teams must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 or higher for the entire academic year.
Additionally, the program earned its sixth-straight NSCAA Team Ethics and Sportsmanship Award in December. The award recognizes teams for exhibiting fair play, sporting behavior and adherence to the laws of the game. The Norse earned the Bronze level award after receiving just eight yellow cards and no red cards across 21 games this past season. NKU was one of just 13 Division I schools to be recognized.
The award recognition came as Northern Kentucky’s season culminated in the University’s first-ever NCAA Division I Tournament appearance. NKU defeated top-seeded Milwaukee in the Horizon League Championship to earn the school’s first Division I conference title. The Norse then earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament in their first year eligible to do so since being granted full Division I status prior to the start of the season. NKU fell to eventual national runner-up and No. 1 seed West Virginia.
The program recorded its third-straight season with a Division-I era record in wins after posting a 13-7-1 overall mark including a 6-2-1 record in Horizon League play.
“It’s great to be recognized for all the aspects of our team culture that we really focus on the most. Just to make it to the NCAA Tournament was an incredible experience, but when you add in our team’s other successes, the hard work really pays off,” added senior midfielder Katelyn Newton. “Our coaches set expectations for us to have integrity, discipline and work ethic and we really work to embody all of those things so that we can be as successful as possible on the field and off.”
The team success and recognition came along with numerous individual accolades throughout the season. Junior forward Macy Hamblin was named the Horizon League Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season. Hamblin also earned NSCAA All-Region and All-Horizon League First Team recognition.
Meanwhile, junior forward Jessica Frey notched All- League First Team honors in addition to being named the Horizon League Tournament MVP. Newton earned Second Team All-League honors as well as a spot on the All-Tournament team. A duo of freshman were honored as well as Ally Perkins was selected to the All-Freshman team and Shawna Zaken was named to the All-Tournament team.
Academically, Frey and Sami Rutowski were named Horizon League All-Academic honorees at the conclusion of the regular season. The duo joined 14 of their teammates on the Fall 2016 Horizon League Honor Roll, recognizing student-athletes with at least a 3.20 cumulative GPA.
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