2019 D3soccer.com Women's All-America teams
| (l. to r.) Forward of the Year Brooke Firestone, Midfielder of the Year Bria VarnBuhler, Defender of the Year Maialen Martinez and Goalkeeper of the Year Isa Berardo.
Photos (l. to r.): Messiah College Athletics, Dave Hilbert/d3photography.com, Dave Hilbert/d3photography.com, Danny Reise/WUSTL
The 2019 season has come to a close, and now that the new men's and women's champions have been crowned, the tenth 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. Of the nearly ten thousand young women to appear in at least one contest during the 2019 season, 569 were nominated for All-America consideration. Of those, 92 appeared on at least one ballot, and our teams were selected from that elite group.
Thirty-three players representing twenty-one schools—three for the first time (Dickinson, Elizabethtown, and Randolph-Macon)—and seventeen different conferences have been named to the three All-America teams. Eleven of this year's honorees appear for a second time. As usual, a majority of the selections are seniors (20), but only seven juniors were named, the fewest since the inaugural year of the awards in 2010. The teams are rounded out by five sophomores and our third-ever first-year, forward Alex Adams of national semifinalist Carnegie- Mellon. In an impressive example of Division III student-athlete philosophy, ten of the thirty-three players were also named to the CoSIDA 2019 Academic All-America NCAA Division III women’s soccer teams: Berzolla, Firestone, Groom, Lawson, Nielan, Panko, Sauvayre, Shivley, St. Aubin, and Washburn.
Our Players of the Year—three seniors and a junior—were all on the pitch in Greensboro during the Final Four. For the first time, two of the four come from the same team and also represent our first Players of the Year from west of the Rockies.
The D3soccer.com Forward of the Year is Messiah College senior Brooke Firestone. She is the second Falcon forward and seventh Falcon overall to receive Player of the Year recognition, just ahead of William Smith’s six. Firestone was first-team MAC Commonwealth for a third time and repeated as the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year. Her 19 goals from 99 shots (.192 Shot%) with 63 on target (.636 SoG%), 44 points, and 8 game-winning goals were all team highs as well as top marks in the conference. The Falcons advanced to the National Championship match when she converted the deciding penalty kick in the shootout against Carnegie Mellon in the Semifinal.
Senior Bria VarnBuhler of Pomona-Pitzer Colleges is the D3soccer.com Midfielder of the Year. The 2019 SCIAC Athlete of the Year and three-time first-teamer led the Sagehens to a program-best 20-2-2 record (0.875 winning percentage, ninth in Division III), which culminated in their first trip to the Final Four. Along the way, she set program records for goals (21) and points (45) in a season, totals that led the SCIAC, one of the strongest conferences in Division III, by wide margins. An efficient (.230 Shot%, .630 SoG%) and dangerous attacking threat. Varn Buhler accounted for a third of the Sagehens 63 goals and tallied nine game-winning goals. Three of those nine came in the postseason: the SCIAC Semifinal and Final and the NCAA First Round.
William Smith College junior Maialen Martinez has earned the D3soccer.com Defender of the Year award, joining three previous Herons who have received this honor (2013, 2015, and 2016). With Martinez, 2019 Liberty League Defensive Player of the Year, anchoring the backline, the Herons conceded a paltry 5.4 shots per game on average, only 2.5 on target, despite playing one of the most challenging schedules in Division III. Their defense ranked third in the nation in goals-against average (0.29) and fifth in shutout percentage (.750). Additionally, Martinez contributed two goals, four assists, and one game-winner to the William Smith attack.
The Goalkeeper of the Year award goes to senior Isa Berardo also of national semifinalist Pomona-Pitzer. The two-time All-SCIAC first-team performer was outstanding between the pipes for the Sagehens, backstopping the team to 12 solo shutouts and combining for 17 in total against a schedule ranked in the top ten at year-end. While facing an average of six shots per game, 3.6 on frame, Berardo recorded a 0.904 save percentage and .35 goals-against average, both good for fifth in the nation. During the Sagehens’ run to the Final Four, Berardo posted four consecutive solo shutouts, all on the road, against St. Scholastica, Wartburg, No. 10 Chicago, and No. 4 Washington U., and made the game-winning save in the penalty kick shootout win over WashU.
The D3soccer.com women’s Coach of the Year is Scott Frey of Messiah College, who led the Falcons to a record-breaking sixth national championship, passing UC San Diego, who won five before leaving for Division II. Coach Frey, also our Coach of the Year in 2011, is our second repeat honoree joining Michelyne Pinard of Williams College. Frey’s career winning percentage of .919 is tops across all NCAA divisions of men’s and women’s soccer. He collected his 400th career victory on opening day and sits fifth among active D-III women’s coaches with 421 wins. Guiding Messiah to this year’s national championship came with its share of challenges. One of his All-Americans missed the first three rounds of the tournament and was far from 100% at the Final Four; his other All-American’s season ended early in the Sweet 16 match. The Falcons fought back from a two-goal deficit with 21 minutes to play in the Elite 8 and from a one-goal gap in the semifinal with 13 minutes to play and overcame their Achilles heel by winning penalty kick shootouts in both matches. In the Final, halftime adjustments turned the tables in a scoreless game that had been favoring William Smith before the interval, with the Falcons spending much of the second half on the front foot in a 1-0 victory.
|2019 WOMEN'S PLAYERS OF THE YEAR|
|Forward of the Year: Brooke Firestone (Sr.), Messiah|
|Midfielder of the Year: Bria VarnBuhler (Sr.), Pomona-Pitzer|
|Defender of the Year: Maialen Martinez (Jr.), William Smith|
|Goalkeeper of the Year: Isa Berardo (Sr.), Pomona-Pitzer|
|2019 WOMEN'S ALL-AMERICANS|
|F||Brooke Firestone *||Sr.||Messiah|
|F||Riley Cook *||Jr.||Christopher Newport|
|F||Alana Hughes *||Sr.||Centre|
|M||Sunny Gelnovatch *||Sr.||Messiah|
|M||Emily Maheras||Sr.||Johns Hopkins|
|M||Julia Panko *||Sr.||Stevens|
|D||Maialen Martinez||Jr.||William Smith|
|D||Gabbie Cesarone||So.||Washington U.|
|D||Sarah Tomich *||Jr.||Wheaton (Ill.)|
|F||Ashley St. Aubin *||Sr.||Augsburg|
|M||Sara Bakke||So.||Wheaton (Ill.)|
|M||Bella Shivley *||Jr.||Otterbein|
|M||Anika Washburn||So.||Case Western Reserve|
|D||Kristen Canepa *||Sr.||Trinity (Texas)|
|F||Alex Adams||Fr.||Carnegie Mellon|
|F||Taylor Cohen||Sr.||Washington U.|
|D||Emilie Sauvayre *||Sr.||William Smith|
|D||Jessie Turner *||Sr.||Centre|
|* previous D3soccer.com All-America honors|
|2019 WOMEN'S COACH OF THE YEAR|
|Scott Frey, Messiah (22-1-3) - 2019 National Champion|