Women's Soccer Celebrates Season at Annual Awards Banquet
By ODU Athletics
NORFOLK, Va. - The Old Dominion women’s soccer team held their annual banquet this past weekend at the Hampton Rowing Club in Norfolk to celebrate the 2018 season and recognize the year’s awards recipients.
In conference play, ODU earned five Conference USA Player of the Week nods (the most ever) and three All-Conference USA honorees. Sophomore Emily Roberts earned Second Team All-Conference as well as bagging a Defensive Player of the Week recognition in October. Senior Iris Achterhof was awarded Second Team All-Conference and All-South Region honors. Sophomore Carla Morich was recognized as Third Team All-Conference USA. Three other Monarchs were recognized as C-USA Players of the Week: senior Kira Laurento as Offensive Player of the Week in August, senior Natalie Johnson as Offensive Player of the Week in October, and freshman Jasmine Crawley as Goalkeeper of the Week twice in October. The team qualified for its fourth consecutive Conference-USA Tournament and earned both All-Academic and Spirit of Service awards. Senior Deirdre Bradley received the C-USA Spirit of Service Award.
Academically, the team placed 12 players on the Dean’s List (3.4 GPA or higher) with two perfect 4.0s (earned by Blair Vilov and Amanda Nhek). Iris Achterhof was also recognized as an NCAA Academic All-American (the first for the program since 2006), earned Co-SIDA Academic All-District and was placed on the C-USA All-Academic First Team.
The banquet also honored recipients of Team Awards, as decided by players and staff.
For her part in leading the back line to one of the best defensive seasons in program history, Emily Roberts earned the team’s Defensive Player of the Year. Appearing in all 19 games, Roberts scored two goals, earned C-USA Player of the Week honors and was crucial to the team’s nine shutouts.
With a team-leading 15 points off of three goals and nine assists, Natalie Johnson was recognized as the team’s Offensive Player of the Year. Johnson was on every opponent’s scouting report as an aerial threat in 2018, where she set up one scoring opportunity after another for teammates as well as bagging a few goals of her own. Johnson’s team-leading nine assists were second overall in C-USA and enough to earn her this team award.
The team benefited from new faces in 2018 as well with two Monarchs earning the team’s Newcomer of the Year recognition. The first was Amanda Nhek, who buried a team-leading six goals including an overtime game-winner thriller against Middle Tennessee. Nhek scored all six of her goals with one touch and all from inside the box.
The second new member of the team to earn the team’s Newcomer of the Year was defender Riley Kennett. As an integral part of the Monarch’s historic defensive season, Kennett earned her opportunity in the starting lineup and never looked back. As a powerful aerial presence along the back line, Kennett surprised many with her passing ability, threatening long-ball, and even tacked on a goal in ODU’s 4-0 rout of North Texas.
The Monarchs’ Most Valuable Player in 2018 was Kira Laurento, who compiled four goals and one assist (as well as C-USA Player of the Week recognition) were only the tip of the proverbial iceberg of the senior’s impact on the field this year. Laurento was a tireless leader who, through voice and action, spurred the Monarchs on to their best finish in C-USA, resulting in bests in almost all statistical categories over the past five years.
Following the recognition of the Team Award recipients, the women’s soccer team celebrated this year’s six seniors. Iris Achterhof, Cristina Bashara, captain Deirdre Bradley, Natalie Johnson, captain Kira Laurento and Madison Morningstar all played vital roles on and off the field for the women’s soccer team – not only this season but through their years in the program. During these seniors’ years at ODU, they’ve helped give the program a reputation as one that challenges nationally ranked opponents by playing smart, attractive soccer, is an annual conference tournament contender, is a leader at the university academically, and are beloved members of the Norfolk community. We thank these six seniors for their years of commitment to ODU and to the women’s soccer team; a class that changed our culture.
To watch the team’s highlight video and look back on the 2018 season, follow this link: https://youtu.be/i-x6j_mkOnU