Several Penn State women’s soccer players claimed honors as the All-Big Ten awards were announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Ally Schlegel and Sam Coffey won Forward and Midfielder of the Year, respectively, while Eva Alonso was named Freshman of the Year. Head coach Erica Dambach was rewarded with her fifth Coach of the Year award as well.
It was no surprise that the conference rewarded Schlegel with Forward of the Year after yet another prolific season.
Schlegel, after winning the Freshman of the Year award last season, leads the Big Ten in both goals scored (11) and points (27), thanks to her additional five assists.
As dominant as Schlegel has been in front of goal, her midfield counterpart Sam Coffey has been just as influential, if not more.
Coffey is perhaps the best deep-lying playmaker in the whole nation, and one of the calmest players in possession to ever don the Nittany Lions’ jersey.
Despite playing in the “6” or “8” roles all year, Coffey still managed to stuff the stat sheet. She is tied with teammate Frankie Tagliaferri at the top of the Big Ten with nine assists, and is third in points (21), behind just Schlegel and Tagliaferri.
While she didn’t win a positional Player of the Year award, Tagliaferri fittingly earned a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team alongside Schlegel and Coffey.
Schlegel was the only unanimous selection on the First Team.
Meanwhile, a defender was tapped as Freshman of the Year. Eva Alonso was an unsung hero for the group all year, as the freshman was the leader at the back for a team that has only leaked 10 goals in 12 matches.
In addition to the positional accolades, senior Payton Linnehan earned a spot on the All-Big Ten Second Team alongside Alonso, while Kerry Abello was recognized with the Sportsmanship Award for the Nittany Lions.
The players did the work to get to this point — a dominant Big Ten squad, and the No. 4 nationally-ranked squad — however, it couldn’t have been done without Dambach’s leadership from the sidelines.
Dambach led Penn State to its 20th Big Ten regular-season title, 11 of which have come during her tenure.
Despite astronomical statistics and domination of the regular season awards, the Nittany Lions still have work to do. Penn State will welcome Iowa to Jeffrey Field in the Big Ten semifinals (5 p.m. Thursday, BTN), before a potential championship match on Sunday should everything go as planned against the Hawkeyes.
The 48-team field for the NCAA Tournament will be revealed on Monday.