SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Great Plains Athletics Conference has announced the selection of the 2018 GPAC Women’s Soccer All-Conference teams. The first and second teams are comprised of 13 members each with an honorable mention list as well. This year Midland University had eight players earn All-GPAC honors.
Nayeli Rodriguez (F), PT Perez (M), Alaina Melanson (D), Marley Farrell (D), and Rachel Thigpen (G) were all named to the first team while Hannah Steward (M) was a second team selection. Harlee Zancanelli (D) and Brittany Llanes (M) were both named honorable mentions.
“It’s always great to see so many of our players recognized by the other coaches in our conference,” Midland head coach Greg Jarosik commented. “To see Marly, PT, and Nayeli to be named to the first team for the third year in a row says a lot about them as players. Alaina for two years in a row has joined them on the first team. It was good to see Hannah recognizes this year on one of the teams this year as well.”
Additionally, Rodriguez and Thigpen earned the top individual player awards. Nayeli was named the 2018 GPAC Offensive Player of the Year while Rachel was named the 2018 GPAC Defensive Player of the Year. Last year PT Perez was name offensive player of the year.
Rodriguez has scored 16 goals along with 3 assists so far this year for the Warriors. She scored 12 of those goal during GPAC play and was a key piece in the Warriors finishing second in the regular season.
Thigpen and the Midland defense have been nearly impossible to score on this year. They have 13 shutouts so far, setting a new school record. Rachel has been in net for all of those shutouts and so far on the season she has a .887 save percentage, allowing just eight goals all year.
“To have three players that have earned Player of the Year honors on our roster this year and also coming back next year is fantastic for our program,” Coach Jarosik added. “Nayeli from an offensive standpoint has been explosive this year. Nayeli and PT have been a great one-two combination since they came here. They are very difficult to handle.”
“Rachel had a fantastic year but I think she would be the first one to tell that credit for the award goes to the defense in front of her. Alaina, Marley, Harlee, Lauren (Montgomery) and Rachel (Smith) all helped her by limiting the number of goals that even got to her level.”
By finishing as the regular season runner-up, Midland earned a bid to the 2018 NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship Opening Round. The Warriors (13-2-3) will take on the University of Science of Arts of Oklahoma (16-4-1) on Saturday, November 17 in Chickasha, Oklahoma. The winner of the match will advance to Orange Beach, Alabama, the final site for the 2018 NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship.