Westwood, Mass. (November 8) – Prior to this weekend's NCAA Tournament, a program record seven members of the nationally-ranked MIT women's soccer team were named to the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) All-Conference Teams. Additionally, senior Olivia Struckman (Scottsdale, Ariz.) was named as the NEWMAC Athlete of the Year, junior Hailey Nichols (Boulder, Colo.) was named as the NEWMAC Defensive Athlete of the Year and Martin Desmarais was named as the NEWMAC Coach of the Year.
On top of the three major awards, junior Amy Apostol (Los Gatos, Calif.), sophomore Emily Berzolla (Riverside, Conn.) and senior Jacqueline Simmons (Houston, Texas) were named to the NEWMAC All-Conference First Team, while junior Shannon Miller (Pittsford, N.Y.) and freshman Maya Nielan (Danville, Calif.) were named to the NEWMAC All-Conference Second Team. Simmons was also named to the NEWMAC All-Sportsmanship Team, which is intended to recognize one student-athlete from each team, in every sport, that best demonstrates the ideals of the NEWMAC and its Code of Conduct.
Desmarais, who earned his fourth NEWMAC Coach of the Year award in five years, has led this year's squad to its best season in program history as the Engineers have broken the records for wins (18), goals (69), points (192), assists (59) and longest win streak (12).
Struckman, who earned her second consecutive NEWMAC Athlete of the Year, becomes the fifth student-athlete in NEWMAC history and third for the Engineers to win back-to-back awards. The senior captain currently has a career-high 13 goals and 29 points to go along with three assists this fall. Not only do her goal and point totals lead the Engineers, but also led the conference heading into the NCAA Tournament this weekend. Struckman has posted four game winning goals and is one point shy of becoming the first student-athlete since Alisha Lussiez '12 to have 30+ points in a single season.
Nichols has been one of the best defenders in the NEWMAC all season as she becomes the first member of the MIT women's soccer team to be named Defensive Athlete of the Year since the award's inception last season. Nichols' defensive efforts led MIT to a 0.68 goals against average, which led the conference this fall. Not only was her defensive spectacular, the junior registered five goals and three assists for 13 points, which was one of the top marks among defenders in the conference.
Thus far this season, Apostol has tallied a career-high nine goals and 23 points, which rank second and third, respectively, on the team, as well as five assists, which is second on the team. Apostol is one of four student-athletes on the team with 20 or more points this fall. Berzolla, who ranks fifth in all of Division III women's soccer with 14 assists, also added five goals for 24 points during her sophomore campaign.
Simmons, Miller and Nielan have led the Engineers as one of the best defensive units in the country. In 20 games, the three defenders alongside Nichols and the rest of the back line have allowed just 14 goals for a goals against average of 0.68, which was first in the NEWMAC and is currently 48th in the nation. Offensively, Nielan registered four goals and three assists for 11 points, Simmons notched two goals for four points and Miller tallied one goal and two assists for four points.
MIT (18-1-1) was selected as one of 16 host sites for the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament this weekend. The Engineers will take on Castleton University in the first round at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 11 and should they advance will play on Sunday, November 12 against either No. 17 Middlebury College or Western Connecticut State University at 1:00 p.m. in the second round.