|(l. to r.) Forward of the Year Kenne Kessler, Midfielder of the Year Jenna McKinney, Defender of the Year DJ Cole and Goalkeeper of the Year Olivia Barnhill.
Photos: Hardin-Simmons University Athletics, UChicago Athletics, Messiah College Athletics, Williams Athletic Department
The 2017 season has come to a close and now that the new men's and women's champions have been crowned, the eighth annual D3soccer.com All-America teams are ready for release. The women’s teams were chosen by D3soccer.com staff, Division III soccer coaches and sports information directors from a field of more than 400 nominations.
Thirty-three players representing twenty-one schools, with six first time appearances, and sixteen different conferences have been named to the three All-America teams. Nine of this year's honorees are repeat selections, Emily Maxwell of Lynchburg has been honored for the third straight season. The eighteen seniors named, while an expected majority, is toward the lower end of the range of the previous seven years. Thirteen juniors appear, one more than the previous high mark of twelve in 2014. Two sophomores round out the field. For the first time, all our Players of the Year are juniors. Historically these honors have gone primarily, but not always, to seniors.
The D3soccer.com Forward of the Year is Hardin-Simmons junior Kenne Kessler. The American Southwest Conference player of the year had a career year leading the nation in scoring with 37 goals and 10 assists as the Cowgirls (23-1-0) advanced to the Final Four for the second time in program history. Her 37 goals set the school record and stands sixth all-time in Division III history for goals in a single season. With 2016 D3soccer.com All-American forward and leading scorer Kami Jones sidelined for much of the season with an injury, Kessler ably filled the void leading the Cowgirl attack which averaged 4.6 goals per game, third in the nation. She is the second Forward of the Year from Hardin-Simmons joining Katie Kuykendall who was honored in 2012. A standout in the classroom as well as on the pitch, Kessler was honored with the prestigious 2017 CoSIDA Division III Academic All-America of the Year in women’s soccer.
For the second consecutive season, a University of Chicago player is the D3soccer.com Midfielder of the Year award winner with junior Jenna McKinney following in the footsteps of her senior teammate Mia Calamari who earned this honor last season. In 2016 as a sophomore and again this fall she was named University Athletic Association (UAA) MVP. Against one of the most challenging schedules in Division III women’s soccer, the Maroons were eighteenth in goals per game off the feet of McKinney’s team-leading 15 goals, 6 assists and 36 points. With four goals and two assists during the NCAA Tournament, she was involved in nearly half of the Maroons’ fourteen tallies in their run to the national championship final. McKinney was honored by CoSIDA as a 2017 Third Team Academic All-American and the United Soccer Coaches (USC) named her their 2017 Women's Scholar Player of the Year for Division III recognizing her as a true scholar athlete, an outstanding example of NCAA Division III philosophy.
Messiah College junior DJ Cole has earned the D3soccer.com Defender of the Year award. She joins Kelsey Gorman (2012) as a Falcon awarded Defender of the Year honors. In 2016 she appeared as a third team D3soccer.com selection in the midfield. This season she dropped into the back line, accepting the challenge of filling the hole left in the Falcon’s central defense by the graduation of 2016 D3soccer.com first team All-American Kayla Deckert. With her play as the anchor of Messiah’s nearly impenetrable defense, Cole earned recognition as the MAC Commonwealth Defensive Player of the Year. In 2017 against their typical top five schedule, the Messiah defense turned in an eye-popping statistical performance. Cole helped Messiah allow just four goals on the year. The team's goals against average (0.166), which is the program’s second best all-time mark, shutouts (19) and shutout percentage (0.826) all led the nation while the team save percentage (0.909), shots allowed average (4.5) and shots on goal average (1.8) were all top five ranked team statistics.
The Goalkeeper of the Year award goes to junior Olivia Barnhill of National Champion Williams. This season Barnhill faced an average of 3.1 shots on goal from about eight total shots per game and posted a 0.891 save percentage that ranked ninth in the nation. Against one of the nation’s most competitive match slates, her goals against average of 0.33 was good for sixth best nationally. Barnhill finished the season with 21 wins; recorded twelve solo shutouts and shared in five others. Peaking at the right time is the mark of a champion and Barnhill certainly was true to this axiom. She notched six of her twelve solo shutouts in the NCAA Tournament stopping 31 of 31 shots (5.2 saves per game). She was brilliant in the championship, especially over the final twenty minutes as Chicago pressed in a desperate attempt to equalize. For her performance, Barnhill was named the Outstanding Defensive Player in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
For the second time in three seasons and our first repeat honoree, the 2017 D3soccer.com women's Coach of the Year is Michelyne Pinard of Williams College as she led the Eph's to their second title after the program's first ever national championship in 2015. They came up just short the previous year, losing a penalty kick shootout in the 2014 final. Culminating with this season’s program-best 22-1-1 record, Pinard’s squads have compiled an outstanding cumulative mark of 82-4-7 (.919) over the last four seasons on their way to three Final Fours and two national championships. Having completed her 16th season as Williams head coach with a career record of 239-45-30 (.809), she is the winningest head coach in program history and her career winning percentage ranks fifth among active coaches in Division III women's soccer.
|2017 WOMEN'S PLAYERS OF THE YEAR|
|Forward of the Year: Kenne Kessler (Jr.), Hardin-Simmons|
|Midfielder of the Year: Jenna McKinney (Jr.), Chicago|
|Defender of the Year: DJ Cole (Jr.), Messiah|
|Goalkeeper of the Year: Olivia Barnhill (Jr.), Williams|
|2017 WOMEN'S ALL-AMERICANS|
|M||Jenna McKinney *||Jr.||Chicago|
|M||Mia Calamari *||Sr.||Chicago|
|M||Megan Barwick||Jr.||William Smith|
|M||Jessica Goldman *||Sr.||TCNJ|
|D||DJ Cole *||Jr.||Messiah|
|D||Danielle Sim *||Sr.||Williams|
|D||Kirsten Parrish *||Sr.||Hardin-Simmons|
|D||Emily Maxwell **||Sr.||Lynchburg|
|F||Evie Manning||Sr.||William Smith|
|F||Christine Levering *||Sr.||TCNJ|
|M||Darcy Cunningham||Jr.||Washington U.|
|M||Julia Kelly||Sr.||Trinity (Texas)|
|D||Hannah Reich||Sr.||Ohio Northern|
|D||Alex Moy||Sr.||Carnegie Mellon|
|F||Haili Adams||Sr.||Carnegie Mellon|
|F||Audrey Reid||Sr.||Geneseo State|
|M||Gabby Gillis||Jr.||Chris. Newport|
|M||Maggie Crist *||Jr.||Washington U.|
|M||Madison Peebles||Jr.||Wheaton (Ill.)|
|D||Katherine Campbell||Sr.||William Smith|
|* previous D3soccer.com All-America honors|
|2017 WOMEN'S COACH OF THE YEAR|
|Michelyne Pinard, Williams (22-1-1) - 2017 National Champions|