Kulla and McBride Earn Repeat Major BIG EAST Honors
Nov. 3, 2011
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Five members of the Marquette University women's soccer team were honored Thursday night by the BIG EAST Conference at its annual awards banquet preceding the semifinal games of the BIG EAST Championship in Morgantown, W.Va. Highlighting the evening were seniors Natalie Kulla and Kerry McBridebeing named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively for the second straight season.
"We are all very proud of our team for the outstanding job they have done during the regular season," said head coach Markus Roeders. "For us to claim our third consecutive BIG EAST divisional crown speaks for our talented players and for the high level of play. Out of all BIG EAST teams, we have the best regular season record over the past three seasons. Our team's success is built on individual excellence and both Natalie and Kerry showed again that they are among the very best in the BIG EAST and in the country. For them to repeat as recipients of these prestigious individual awards speaks highly of them and their play all year. They will go down in Marquette history among the very best that has ever played their positions. We have leaned on our three seniors, including Lindsey Page, all year and will continue to do so going into the NCAA tourney."
Kulla earned her second straight BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year honor following a regular season in which she played nearly 1,700 minutes and registered a conference-best 10 shutouts, including seven in BIG EAST play. Kulla anchored a team, which ranked first in the BIG EAST with a 0.63 goals against average. Along with goalkeeper of the year honors, Kulla was also named to the All-BIG EAST First Team for the second consectuive season. She is the first person to win back-to-back Goalkeeper of the Year honors since Villanova's Jillian Loyden (2005-07).
McBride earned repeat BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year honors while anchoring Marquette's back line as its sweeper this season. She has helped lead one of the league's best defenses to allow just seven goals in 11 conference games. McBride help limit the opposition to just 2.5 shots on goal per game, and just 3.0 shots on goal in BIG EAST play. She is the first player to win back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year honors since Notre Dame's Jen Grubb in 1998-99.
McBride and Kulla are the only student-athletes in program history to repeat as major BIG EAST award winners, and are two of three players in program history to be named to the All-BIG EAST First Team back-to-back seasons.
Kelly, one of Marquette's most dangerous forwards, had a breakout sophomore season with a team-best 38 points on a career-high 14 goals, including six game winners, and 10 assists. Three of her game winners came in BIG EAST play in wins over Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Syracuse. She is the only player in the BIG EAST with double-digit goals and assists. Kelly was named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week on two occasions and earned BIG EAST Weekly honor roll status two other weeks. This is Kelly's second All-BIG EAST honor as she was named to the league's All-Rookie team in 2010.
"Maegan has shown that she is extremely dangerous when it comes to scoring goals and also setting up others. She has had a breakout season and we know she is only getting better," said Roeders.
Miller, a starter in all 20 games, has been an integral member of Marquette's backline this season. Her consistency at the stopper position has been a key to Golden Eagles' success and she was recognized by the BIG EAST as its Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 17. Miller has also been a threat offensively registering one goal and two assists. This is Miller's second All-BIG EAST honor as she was named to the league's All-Rookie team in 2009.
Vicker, another member of MU's potent attack, has fought through injuries to play in 17 games, including 10 BIG EAST games. Vicker owns four points for the season on one goal and three assists. She scored the game-winning goal in MU's 2-1 overtime win against DePaul.
"Ally is probably least recognized player who consistently gives everything she has. It is great to see her being recognized. Mady has battled all year and the future is bright for her and our young squad. The character of these players and our squad speaks to our team's strength as they give credit to everyone and they know that individual awards are only achieved by an outstanding team," said Roeders.