MARSHFIELD, Mass. – The NECC announced its 2018 Women's Soccer All-Conference teams and major award winners on Friday afternoon. The awards were voted on by the conference's ten coaches following the conclusion of the regular season. Eight of the conference schools are represented on the all-conference teams, with Lesley and New England College leading the way with nine and seven honorees, respectively. Lesley also took home three of the four major awards.
Lesley University midfielder McKenna Straube (Junction City, Ore.) was voted the 2018 NECC Player of the Year, while her teammate, defender Sophie Smurthwaite (Woodland Hills, Calif.) earned Rookie of the Year Honors. New England College's Kayla Pugliese (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) was named Goalkeeper of the Year. Lesley head coach Paul Vasconcelos was voted Coach of the Year by his peers.
Joining Straube in the first-team midfielder slot is Kelsey Shea (Belchertown, Mass.) from Elms College, Emily LePage (West Greenwich, R.I.) of New England Col., and Molly Madore (Higganum, Conn.) from Southern Vermont College. Becker College's Lindsey Keith (Sutton, Mass.) is a first team honoree in the forward position, along with Jordan Mitchell (Sachse, Texas) of Lesley and Michaela Pomeroy (Thetford, Vt.) of New England College. Christina Leonardo (Enfield, Conn.) is a first team defender selection, along with Melanie Mathewson (Santa Rosa, Calif.) of Lesley, and Jayne Wierzbivki (Wilmington, Mass.) from Southern Vermont. Goalkeeper of the Year, Kayla Pugliese rounded out the first team.
The second team features two Becker midfielders, Shannon Kelley (Bellingham, Mass.) and Ciara McKissick (Charlton, Mass.), along with Southern Vermont's Taylor Mallett (Berwick, Maine), and Lesley midfielder Rachel Buckley (San Diego, Calif.) Buckley's teammate Samantha Bessey (Algonquin, Ill.) joins her on the second-team as a forward, along with Bay Path University's Jai Ruiz (Hadley, Mass.), and Elm's Sydney Goodwin (Lawrence, Mass.). Two defenders from New England Col. were honored, Dawn Johnson (Farmingdale, N.Y..) and Madison Wheeler (Benton City, Wash.), and were joined by Lesley's Kyra Harbus (Ventura, Calif.) in the second team defender slot. Elms goalkeeper Rebecca Molin (West Hartford Conn.) closed out the All-NECC second team.
On the third team are midfielders Kyndall Fry (Tampa, Fla.) of Eastern Nazarene, Gigi Thibault (South Hadley, Mass.) of Elms, Amanda Cardoso (Watertown, Mass.) and Maddie Gibney (Albany, N.Y.) of Southern Vermont. Forward Sam Bernardi (Longmeadow, Mass.) of Eastern Nazarene earns third-team accolades, along with fellow forwards Xaelel Allen-Caballero (Henrietta, N.Y.) from Lesley, and Bridgette Winters (Hillsboro, N.H.) of New England Col. Rookie of the Year Sophie Smurthwaite headlines the defender slot, while New England College's Emilie Nowakowski (Meriden, Conn.) and Naya Cerda (West Islip, N.Y.) of Southern Vermont were also honored. Lesley's Brittley Gaan (Bellevue, Wash.) rounds out the third team in the goalkeeper spot.
NECC Player of the Year – McKenna Straube, Lesley (Sr., M, Junction City, Ore.)
In her senior campaign, Straube led the Lynx to an undefeated 9-0 regular season conference record, and the top seed in the NECC Women's Soccer Championship. Straube was dominant at the defensive midfielder position, as Lesley did not allow a single goal in regular season conference play. The senior also tacked on a goal and an assist.
NECC Goalkeeper of the Year – Kayla Pugliese, New England College (Sr., Mamaroneck, N.Y.)
Senior Kayla Pugliese finished her collegiate career in impressive fashion, starting all nine conference games in goal for New England College. The senior allowed only four goals in her nine starts, leading the Pilgrims to a 7-1-1 conference record, and the second seed in the NECC Women's Soccer Championship. She posted a 0.48 goals-against average, tops among goalkeepers who played in six or more conference games. She recorded 28 saves in league play for a .875 save percentage.
NECC Rookie of the Year – Sophie Smurthwaite, Lesley (Fr., D., Woodland Hills, Calif.)
Freshman Sophie Smurthwaite was an integral cog in a Lynx defense that did not allow a single conference goal in the regular season. She started in six of Lesley's nine conference games, while playing in all nine. The freshman also scored a game-winning goal from the defender slot.
Coach of the Year – Paul Vasconcelos, Lesley
In his eleventh season, Vasconcelos led the Lynx to an undefeated 9-0 regular season conference record, and the top seed in the NECC Women's Soccer Championship. His team was the top defensive squad in the league, as the Lynx did not allow an opponent to score in conference play. This is his eighth NECC Coach of the Year award, and second consecutive accolade (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2017).
First Team All-NECC
F – Lindsey Keith, Becker (Sr., Sutton, Mass.)
F – Jordan Mitchell, Lesley (Sr., Sachse, Texas)
F – Michaela Pomeroy, New England Col. (Sr., Thetford, Vt.)
M – Kelsey Shea, Elms (Sr., Belchertown, Mass.)
M – McKenna Straube, Lesley (Sr., Junction City, Ore.)
M- Emily LePage, New England Col. (Sr., West Greenwich, R.I.)
M – Molly Madore, Southern Vermont (Sr., Higganum, Conn.)
D – Christina Leonardo, Elms (Sr., Enfield, Conn.)
D – Melanie Mathewson, Lesley (Jr., Santa Rosa, Calif.)
D – Jayne Wierzbicki, Southern Vermont (So., Wilmington, Mass.)
GK – Kayla Pugliese, New England Col. (Sr., Saratoga Springs, N.Y.)
Second Team All-NECC
F- Jai Ruiz, Bay Path (Sr., Hadley, Mass.)
F- Sydney Goodwin, Elms (Fr., Lawrence, Mass.)
F- Samantha Bessey, Lesley (Jr., Algonquin, Ill.)
M- Shannon Kelley, Becker (So., Bellingham, Mass.)
M- Ciara McKissick, Becker (Sr., Charlton, Mass.)
M- Rachel Buckley, Lesley (Sr., San Diego, Calif.)
M- Taylor Mallett, Southern Vermont (Jr., Berwick, Maine)
D – Kyra Harbus, Lesley (Sr., Ventura, Calif.)
D – Dawn Johnson, New England Col. (Sr., Farmingdale, N.Y.)
D – Madison Wheeler, New England Col. (Fr., Benton City, Wash.)
GK – Rebecca Molin, Elms (Jr., West Hartford, Conn.)
Third Team All-NECC
F- Sam Bernardi, Eastern Nazarene (So., Longmeadow, Mass.)
F- Xaelel Allen-Caballero, Lesley (Sr., Henrietta, N.Y.)
F- Bridgette Winters, New England Col. (So., Hillsboro, N.H.)
M- Kyndall Fry, Eastern Nazarene (So., Tampa, Fla.)
M- Gigi Thibault, Elms (Sr., South Hadley, Mass.)
M- Amanda Cardoso, Newbury (Jr., Watertown, Mass.)
M- Maddie Gibney, Southern Vermont (Fr., Albany, N.Y.)
D- Sophie Smurthwaite, Lesley (Fr., Woodland Hills, Calif.)
D- Emilie Nowakowski, New England Col. (Sr., Meriden, Conn.)
D- Naya Cerda, Southern Vermont (Sr., West Islip, N.Y.)
GK- Brittley Gaan, Lesley (Jr. Bellevue, Wash.)
Del Malloy Sportsmanship Team
Jai Ruiz, Bay Path (Jr., Hadley, Mass.)
Rebecca Beringer, Becker (Fr., Waterville, Maine.)
Janyssa Reyes, Dean (Sr., Hyde Park, Mass.)
Michaela Connors, Eastern Nazarene (Jr., Norwell, Mass.)
Sam Manchino, Elms (So., Chicopee, Mass.)
Gabby Vesona, Lesley (Jr., North Attleboro, Mass.)
Jacquelyn White, Mitchell (Sr., Danville, Vt.)
Dawn Johnson, New England Col. (Sr., Farmingdale, N.Y.)
Gabbriella Cuevas, Newbury (Fr., West Valley City, Utah)
Vanessa Kendall, Southern Vermont (Sr., Coventry, Conn.)