OMAHA, Neb. - The Creighton women's soccer team has been honored for the success they have had thus far this season, with Brittney Neumann being named the 2010 MVC women's soccer Player of the Year, Bruce Erickson and the coaching staff being named the Coaching Staff of the Year, and the Jays placing seven players on the All-MVC teams, as announced by the league Thursday evening at the State Farm MVC Tournament banquet.
Earning first team recognition included senior defender Claire Zach (2009 MVC honorable mention), junior forward Andrea Zuniga and last season's MVC Freshman of the Year, Neumann. Senior midfielder Emily Orbell (a 2009 MVC first-team selection) and freshman forward Lauren Cingoranelli picked up second team honors while junior goalkeeper Alicia Montgomery and junior midfielder Erin Gunther garnered All-MVC honorable mention. Cingoranelli was also named to the all-freshman team for 2010.
This group of girls has led Creighton to a 13-3-2 overall record and 5-1-0 record in the Valley, while earning the Jays their first MVC regular season title since 2002. They lead the league in most statistical categories, including shots (276), points (113), goals (41), goals per game (2.28), assists (31), goals allowed (13), goals against average (0.70) and are tied for first in shutouts (9).
Zach, a senior center defender for the Bluejays, has started all 18 matches and leads the team in minutes played with 1,580 (out of a possible 1,670.) She has scored one goal on the season, a header in the 2-1 victory over Loyola, and had an assist in the 3-0 victory over UMKC. She also has been a major contributor to the stellar defensive numbers the Jays have put up this season, giving up just seven goals in the last 10 matches, a streak which includes six shutouts. Zach was also named a first team Academic All-District VII winner a week ago, as well as picking up All-MVC honorable mention, MVC scholar-athlete first-team and ESPN The Magazing CoSIDA Academic All-District VII second team in 2009, while earning MVC scholar athlete honorable mention in 2008.
Zuniga has more than doubled her career goals scored this season, already netting seven goals and having three coming into the year. She currently sits in second place on the team in goals, but leads the team and The Valley in assists with eight. Zuniga has started in 15 of the 18 matches she has played this season, taking 52 shots this season, with 27 on goal, both good enough for second place on the team and third in The Valley. Her 22 points this season puts her second on both charts.
After a stellar freshman campain which garnered MVC first team honors and MVC Freshman of the Year awards in 2009, Neumann has again placed her name amongst the best in The Valley. Neumann was named the MVC Player of the Year and made the All-MVC first team this season, the first Bluejay to accomplish the feat in school history. She finished the regular season leading the MVC with 59 shots, 23 points and a 1.28 points per game average. She is tied for the league lead with nine goals, three game-winning goals and 0.50 goals per match, all which put her atop the Creighton lists this season. She has 16 career goals, putting her just seven shy of the top five all-time on Bluejay charts.
A 2009 MVC first team selection and 2007 MVC Freshman of the Year, Orbell has again been a consistant rock in the midfield for the Jays. Orbell has started in 16 of the 17 matches played in this season, missing just one match due to injury. She has six assists, placing her second on the team and tied for second in the MVC. She has also scored two goals on the season, including the game winner in the 3-0 win over UMKC. Orbell is now the active career leader in goals (18), assists (18) and points (54).
Cingoranelli picked up double team honors, being named to the All-MVC second team and the MVC All-Freshman team. She has started in 16 of the 18 matches played this season, scoring six goals and dishing off three assists for 15 points. Cingoranelli has the second most goals as a freshman in the MVC and sits at sixth among all Valley players this season. Playing the outside attacker, she consistently applied pressure on the defense, firing off 25 shots on the season, with 14 on goal.
One of the top statistical goalkeepers in the league, Montgomery has again been rock solid in goal this season. She currently holds a 9-3-0 record and a league leading 0.60 goals against average this season, giving her a 0.61 career goals against average. Montgomery leads the MVC in save percentage (0.879) for the second season in a row. She was also in goal for seven of the 10 matches in Creighton's record setting 10 match winning streak earlier this season. She currently has five shutouts on the season, giving her 14 in her career.
Gunther has turned up her statistical output this season, after moving up a line and spending a lot of the season at midfielder. She is tied for the team lead in game winning goals with three, and sits in a tie for second in overall goals with seven. Gunther has attempted and made two penalty kicks this season, including the game equalizing goal in the Illinois State match last week (sending the match into over time and giving the Jays a chance at the eventual win.) She has started in 17 of the 18 matches she has played this season, with two assists and 16 points. She was also named to the MVC All-Freshman team in 2008.
Erickson brings home his second MVC Coaching Staff of the Year award this season, the other coming in the 2002 season (also the last time the Jays won their MVC regular season title.) He picked up his 200th career win in the 2-1 overtime victory over Illinois State, the match that also clinched the title. Erickson's staff includes Ileana Moschos, Digger Hawkins and Ivonne Valentin, all of which excelled in the sport in their own careers.