NOVEMBER 2, 2011
Furman forward Rachel Shelnutt has been named Southern Conference Women’s Soccer Player of the Year and four Paladins received postseason honors in voting by the league’s 12 head coaches, it was announced on Tuesday.
Shelnutt, a senior, was joined on the All-SoCon first team by freshman defender Ali Simpson, while senior goalkeeper Jessica Smith was named to the All-SoCon second team. Simpson and midfielder India Robinson both garnered SoCon All-Freshman Team honors.
“I can’t believe it because there are so many great players in this league,” said Shelnutt. “I’m just so honored to be named player of the year.”
A native of St. Simons Island, Ga., Shelnutt has netted 12 goals, including four match-winning scores, and added three assists this season to guide Furman to a 12-7-2 record and a spot in Friday’s Southern Conference semifinals. She scored match-winning goals versus UNC Wilmington and Georgia Southern while also setting up two goals in a 3-2 double overtime triumph over Clemson en route to earning SoCon Player of the Month honors for September. In October, she scored twice, including heading in an overtime winner, to beat Chattanooga 4-3 before netting goals against Samford, College of Charleston, The Citadel and Wofford.
Shelnutt’s 23 career goals rank 11th in Paladin history and her nine match-winning goals tie her for seventh most in school history. She has totaled 22 goals and nine assists over the past two seasons.
Simpson earned All-SoCon honors after anchoring a back line that allowed just 23 goals in 21 matches despite the loss of three starters from the previous season and a season-ending injury to the lone returning starter Catie Moore. A Greenville, S.C., native, Simpson also contributed to the Furman offense scoring five goals, including three match-winning strikes, in her rookie season. She scored in the closing seconds to give Furman a 2-1 victory over North Florida before delivering Furman’s third triumph in four years versus Clemson with a double overtime goal against the Tigers. Simpson rallied Furman from second half deficits with long range strikes against both Chattanooga and The Citadel before scoring the game-winner versus Wofford in the regular season finale.
Smith has posted a 0.98 goals against average and notched three shutouts in 20 starts during the 2011 season to garner second team All-SoCon accolades. The senior registered clean sheets against Presbyterian, Davidson and Appalachian State while contributing to shutout victories over both Stetson and Wofford. The chemistry major and 2010 CoSIDA Academic All-District III selection made six saves at Clemson on September 11, to record her third victory over the Tigers in four chances.
With a 0.98 career goals against average, Smith currently sits atop Furman’s all-time GAA list and is tied for second in Paladin history with 23 career shutouts.
Robinson tallied a goal and led the team with seven assists in her first year as a Paladin. The Camden, S.C., product tallied an assist in her first collegiate match against Georgia before setting up game-winning scores versus Clemson and Davidson. She netted her first career goal in a 2-2 draw with College of Charleston.
Furman continues its quest for a SoCon Tournament title and NCAA Tournament berth when it travels to Greensboro, N.C., to face top-seed Samford in the SoCon semifinals on Friday at 5 p.m. Fans can follow the game through live stats at www.FurmanPaladins.com or at www.SoConSports.com.
Follow www.FurmanPaladins.com and www.Twitter.com/FurmanPaladins for updates on Furman Women’s Soccer throughout the 2011 season.
2011 Women’s Soccer All-Conference Team
Player of the Year – Rachel Shelnutt, Sr., F, Furman
Coach of the Year – Todd Yelton, Samford
Freshman of the Year – Becca Fisher, F, Davidson
F Rachel Shelnutt, Furman
F Kristin Player, UNCG
F Sarah Wilkinson, Samford
F Donna-Kay Henry, Chattanooga
MF Sarah Schaidle, College of Charleston
MF Vanessa Aponte, The Citadel
MF Michelle Moll, Samford
D Hannah Gmerek, College of Charleston
D Ali Simpson, Furman
D Sabbath McKiernan-Allen, Samford
GK Alyssa Whitehead, Samford
F Hope Atkinson, College of Charleston
F Mariana Garcia, The Citadel
F Becca Smith, Chattanooga
MF Olivia Mackey, Elon
MF Karin Sendel, UNCG
MF Kayla Beauduy, Western Carolina
D Sophie Newsom, Davidson
D Andrea Keller, Elon
D Stephanie Partenheimer, UNCG
GK Jessica Smith, Furman
GK Kelsey Kearney, UNCG
Ali Brashear, College of Charleston
Sarah Cardamone, College of Charleston
Becca Fisher, Davidson
Rachel Locke, Davidson
Stephanie Piperno, Davidson
India Robinson, Furman
Ali Simpson, Furman
Ashley Stokes, UNCG
Joy Grove, Samford
Brittany Hoffman, Samford
Crystal Mackezyk, Chattanooga