COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.- Three individual Air Force women’s soccer players have earned All-Mountain West Conference post-season honors, the conference announced Monday, Nov. 4 following a vote from the conference’s head coaches. Freshman Lexi Romero has been named both the Offensive Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, while also being named to the All-Conference First Team and the All-Newcomer Team. In addition, junior defender Alex Giggie was tabbed on the All-Conference Second Team, while freshman defender Kayla Milford was also named to the All-Newcomer Team.
Romero is the first Falcon to earn MW Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors, and the second Falcon to earn a Player of the Year honor all-time, the first since Tracy Healy was the Colorado Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 1995. She is also the fifth Falcon to be named a Newcomer of the Year, and the first since Jennifer Rowland in 2001 (MW). The other three were Kari James (MW, 1999), Stephanie Rader (WAC, 1996) and Dolly Pasini (CAC, 1993). Romero is also just the second player in MW history to earn both awards, the other being Wyoming’s Kaitlyn Lomsnes in 2014.
Meanwhile, Giggie earns her second All-Conference honor after being named to the All-Newcomer team as a freshman in 2017. This is Milford’s first All-Conference honor. The three All-Conference honorees marks the third time in the last four season’s AF has had three players recognized.
For Romero, the awards cap off what was a historic debut for the freshman as a Falcon. She led the conference in total goals (14), total points (33), goals per game (.82), and points per game (1.94), while ranking second in game winning goals (6). Nationally, she is in the top-20 in all of those categories, including 12th in total goals, 17th in total points, 13th in goals per game, 14th in points per game, and 10th in game winning goals. She is also the only freshman with at least 14 goals and 33 points in the NCAA this season.
She also had the best offensive season in program history, breaking long-standing singe season records in total goals, total points, and game winning goals. All were previously held by Healy and set back in 1993 and 1994.
Giggie was one of the leaders of a strong Air Force defensive back line this season. The junior started all 18 games and played the most minutes of any position player, totaling 1,521. She aided on seven Air Force shutouts, which was the most for the Falcons since 2010 and ranked fifth in the conference. She was also Air Force’s primary set piece taker on free kicks and corner kicks. This led her to score a goal, the game winner against Siena, and have four assists for a total of six points.
Milford led all freshman for Air Force with 1,409 minutes played after starting in all 18 games. While helping lead the efforts on AF’s seven shutouts, she also scored a goal and tallied an assist. In addition, six of her seven shots were on net for a SOG percentage of 86 percent. Milford is the fourth consecutive Falcon defender to be named to the All-Newcomer team after Kasey Stavig in 2016, Giggie in 2017, and Keelyn Osoba in 2018.
The efforts of these three players and their teammates helped lead Air Force to one of its best season’s in program history, finishing 10-7-1 (5-6 MW). The 10 wins are the most since 1999, while the .583 winning percentage is the best in the Division I era (since 1996). The five conference wins was also a program record in the Mountain West era (since 1999). In addition, the 36 team goals scored is the most since 2000 and third-most all-time.
2019 Mountain West Individual Awards Offensive Player of the Year: Lexi Romero, Fr., F, Air Force Defensive Player of the Year: Kristen Amarikwa, Sr., D, San José State Newcomer of the Year: Lexi Romero, Fr., F, Air Force Coach of the Year: Bill Hempen, Colorado State
2019 Mountain West Women’s Soccer All-Conference First Team Name Class Position Team Lexi Romero Fr. F Air Force
Aubree Chatterton Jr. F Boise State
McKenna Kynett Sr. MF Boise State
Raimee Sherle Sr. F Boise State
Mikayla Schachtell Sr. D Boise State
Gracie Armstrong So. F Colorado State
Halley Havlicek Sr. D Colorado State
Caley Lordemann Sr. MF Colorado State
Gabi McDonald So. GK Colorado State
Jessie Hix Sr. MF New Mexico
Chloe Frisch Jr. MF San Diego State
Kristen Amarikwa Sr. D San José State
2019 Mountain West Women’s Soccer All-Conference Second Team Name Class Position Team Alex Giggie Jr. D Air Force
Sydney Smith So. GK Boise State
Jacqui Hand So. F Colorado College
Addie Wright Jr. D Colorado State
Megan Amick Jr. D Fresno State
Ele Avery Jr. F Fresno State
Leilani Baker Jr. F New Mexico
Jadyn Edwards So. MF New Mexico
Alexa Kirton Jr. D New Mexico
Gwen Maly Jr. F New Mexico
Sarah Broacha Jr. D San Diego State
Rachelle Elve Fr. F San Diego State
Laura Fuentes So. MF San Diego State
Karlee Pottorff Jr. D San José State
Ashley Cardozo Jr. MF Utah State
Amber Marshall Jr. MF Utah State
2019 Mountain West Women’s Soccer All-Newcomer Team Name Class Position Team Lexi Romero Fr. F Air Force Kayla Milford Fr. D Air Force
Gracie Armstrong So. F Colorado State
Kristen Noonan So. F Colorado State
Gabby Brown Fr. MF Nevada
Rachelle Elve Fr. F San Diego State
Brooke Lisowski Sr. GK San Diego State
Sabrina Weinman Fr. MF San José State
Lourdes Bosch Fr. MF UNLV
Diera Walton Fr. GK Utah State
Jamie Tatum Fr. MF Wyoming
At the start of the season, there was an open spot in Penn women’s soccer’s back four. Freshman Peyton Raun has fit right in.
Raun has made her way into the starting lineup, playing almost every minute of every game so far this season. In front of senior goalkeeper Kitty Qu, Raun has joined the likes of seniors Megan Lloyd and Laura Hamilton, as well as junior Jadyn Wilensky, in the back.
Right off the bat, Raun showed promise. Her preseason performance indicated that she would be ready to compete for the Quakers come the start of the season.
“Peyton is just unbelievably athletic. She covers so much ground. She’s fast and she has an engine. Sometimes that allows you to get away with a few more mistakes because you have that athletic ability. But not only that, she’s a competitor,” coach Nicole Van Dyke said. “I think she’s done a great job of coming in, staying focused, but at the same time trying to learn and grow.”
Raun has helped fill the void left by defender Camillia Nwokedi, who graduated from Penn after last season.
Throughout her career, Nwokedi played in 57 games, starting in 50 of them. In 2018, she was named Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year. Along with the rest of the defense, notably Qu, Nwokedi helped the Quakers to only allow five goals all season. It’s safe to say she was a staple of the defense.
Not only was Nwokedi an integral member of the back four, but the Quakers also pride themselves on having a very strong defensive style.
“I think that defense has always been the backbone of our team. It’s been a large part of our identity over the past four years now that I’ve been here. In terms of style, it hasn’t really changed that much,” Qu said. “It’s amazing this year that we have so much depth. I think that [our defense] doesn’t change that much when we have new players stepping in because everybody understands their role and everybody plays together really nicely, no matter who it is.”
Fortunately, Raun has shown that she is capable of maintaining this style.
“I think she has a lot of similarities athletically to Cami. However, she’s a very good soccer player. She can connect passes; she’s very precise on her long balls,” Van Dyke said. “She probably would like to go forward way more than we allow her to, and that’s something that we can grow into the position as she becomes more experienced and continues to learn our style and when that would be appropriate.”
Like 14 of her teammates, Raun is from California. A native of Pleasanton, she played for Pleasanton Rage ECNL for seven years. She also competed for her high school team for three years after taking her freshman year off.
“I just needed a break [to] figure out that I wanted to come back and play,” Raun said.
After her freshman year, Raun returned to soccer with a newfound excitement. It was the allure of a closely-bonded team that drew her to Penn and has helped her succeed in her first few games.
“[The first few games] have been so much fun actually. I love the competitive environment, and everyone’s so uplifting,” Raun said. “During the game, you make a mistake and instantly someone to my right or left is saying, ‘it’s ok, you got it next time,’ as well as just being surrounded by a competitive environment where I know anyone could come on the field and compete just as well as anyone who was already on the field. I think it’s important to be part of a team like that.”
As for what she has learned, Raun cites learning how to be a good teammate as the most important lesson. It’s clear that she has had a positive impact on the backfield as well.
“She gives us a calming presence back there. I think that she is able to settle us in the back a little bit. If the other team starts coming at us a little bit, she’s able to provide that calming presence,” Qu said. “She’s very quick; I think that helps a lot [in] the back. She’s able to close down space very quickly; she’s able to recover if we get countered. I think all those abilities contribute to how well she’s been playing.”
Now that the Quakers have progressed into Ivy play, Raun’s performance will be as important as ever. The Red and Blue will next play Cornell this Saturday at home.
Sophia Brown – 2016 CIF State Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year!
The Board of Directors and Staff of Pleasanton RAGE are extremely pleased to feature U18 ECNL Goalkeeper Sophia Brown, the 2016 CIF State Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year!
The award is based on the highest level of academics, success as an athlete (ECNL RAGE soccer, Foothill High School varsity basketball, and varsity lacrosse), community service, and leadership. Sophia has played for RAGE for 13 years and will attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where she will major in Aerospace Engineering and play Division 1 soccer.
This honor is a repeat for the Brown family, as Sophia’s older sister, Phoebe, won the same award 4 years ago and will now graduate from Princeton University.
Congratulations to the Brown family on a remarkable achievement!
Last month I had the incredible experience of training with the U-18 U.S. Women’s National Team at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California. I had been scouted by the National Team coaches at the ECNL event in San Diego, and received an invitation to attend the training camp two days after we returned from this event. I was extremely excited to receive this opportunity–wearing the U.S. soccer crest and representing our country is a privilege that very few players receive, and I am honored to be one of them.
We arrived in Carson on Saturday, April 16th, and the rigors of camp began almost immediately. We had a training session that evening to get our legs moving after a long day of travel. It was amazing to be playing with 25 of the best players in the nation, and to see their abilities as well as their dedication to the game in action. That night, we were given instructions regarding various forms of health and wellness monitoring that we would need to perform. Every morning we were required to fill out a survey regarding our level of soreness and fatigue, level of stress, our moods, and any injuries we may have had. Additionally, we were required to monitor our resting heart rates, as well as take part in daily weigh-ins and hydration tests. With the high volume and intensity of our training sessions, we had to ensure that we were properly caring for and preparing our bodies.
Sunday morning we had fitness testing. We participated in four different fitness tests: a 20-yard sprint test, the arrowhead agility test, a vertical jump test, and the “Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test,” also known as the beep test. I did particularly well on the vertical jump test, with the third highest score on the team.
We had two training sessions a day–one in the morning and one in the evening. The other three goalkeepers and I began every session working with the goalkeeper coach until we were needed for drills with the rest of the team. The speed of play was very fast, and the sessions were extremely physical and competitive, which was a lot of fun for me. We also had team meetings every night to watch film, listen to scouting reports on our opponents, or talk about our plans for training the next day. The other goalkeepers and I would stay with the goalkeeper coach after the team meetings to watch film from our training sessions and analyze our technique. Some days, we also had extra training sessions while the field players rested.
Over the course of the week, we played 2 games. On Tuesday we played Long Beach State University and tied them 2-2. On Friday, we played the U-17 Women’s National Team, who were also in camp that week in Carson. The U-17 WNT is preparing for the U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan this Fall and have been in camp together and playing games fairly regularly, so it was a great opportunity for us to play a very skilled, well organized team. We ended up losing the game 2-1, but it was still a great experience.
I learned a lot when I was at camp, about the game and myself as a player. I am looking forward to hopefully being back in training camp with the National Team this summer. My goal is to travel with the team to Ireland in October to play in some international friendlies and earn my first cap!