The Gophers had a storied season, winning both the season and tournament titles for the Big Ten Conference. The Minnesota women were also recognized for their academic accomplishments with the NSCAA Team Academic Award with a team GPA of 3.5. Many individual efforts contributed to the team’s success. Here are our nominees for the best of 2016.
Nikki Albrecht made a mark in her rookie season. She started in all 23 games, tallying three goals and two assists — one of them in the Big Ten Tournament championship win over Rutgers. She was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and was No. 43 on TopDrawerSoccer’s Women’s Divison I Top 100 Freshmen.
Senior Rashida Beal ended her college career with a season to be proud of and a 3.95 GPA. As the minutes-leader for the Gophers, Beal played all but about 20 minutes in the season. She was named the Big Ten Defender of the Year, the All-Big Ten First Time, and the All-Great Lakes Regions First team. Beal was ranked No.3 in TopDrawerSoccer’s Big Ten Conference and ranked No. 28 in the country. Off the pitch, her academic accomplishments earned her honors as an Academic All-American by CoSIDA and First Team Scholar All-American by the NSCAA.
The Gophers’ starting keeper, Tarah Hobbs, leaves college on a high note. After adding 11 shut-outs to her record, she leaves the U with the career program record of 33. She was twice named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team. Hobbs was ranked No. 19 in TopDrawerSoccer’s Big Ten Conference Top 20
Forward and co-caption Simone Kolander started getting attention before the season started by being named to MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. She finished the season by leading the Gophers in the rankings as No. 20. She scored 11 goals and added six assists, earning the Big Ten Forward of the Year honors for the second year in a row. Kolander was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and was selected to the All-Great Lakes First Team. She was also named a First Team Senior CLASS Award All-American, reflecting her accomplishments on the field, in the classroom, and in the community.
Josee Stiever, midfielder and co-captain, was ranked No. 93 in the final individual rankings. She got there by scoring eight goals — five of which were game-winners — and adding ten assists. Stiever was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region First Team. With a 3.47 GPA, she was recognized on the NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region First Team, as an Academic All-District, and a Second Team All-America Scholar.
April Bocken had a good year cut short by injury. She scored seven goals — two of them in the first 5 minutes against Villanova — and three assists. An exciting player to watch, we’re looking forward to seeing more of her.
Who should add to their honors? Vote for your pick!