MIT Women's Soccer Leads Division III With Five All-Region Selections

From top left to bottom right, Maya Nielan, Sophia Struckman, Emily Berzolla, Ava Gillikin and Karenna Groff all earned All-New England honors from the United Soccer Coaches Organization today.

Kansas City, Mo. (December 2) - A program record five student-athletes from the MIT women's soccer team have earned All-Region accolades from the United Soccer Coaches Association. Five student-athletes not only set a new program record, but it was tied for first in all of Division III this season.

Senior Emily Berzolla (Riverside, Conn.), junior Maya Nielan (Danville, Calif.) and sophomore Karenna Groff (Weston, Mass.) were placed on the All-New England First Team, senior Sophia Struckman (Scottsdale, Ariz.) earned a spot on the All-Region Second Team and first-year Ava Gillikin (Flemington, N.J.) was placed on the All-New England Third Team. 

MIT was one of nine teams in Division III this season to have five student-athletes honored with All-Region accolades as the Engineers were joined by Middlebury, Washington (Mo.), Wheaton (Ill.), Chicago, Dubuque, TCNJ, Centre and Pomona-Pitzer.

Berzolla, the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Athlete of the Year, earned her second nod to the All-New England team. The senior midfielder posted a career-high nine goals to go along with eight assists and 26 points this season. She closed her career with 40 assists, which ranks second all-time in MIT program history, and 92 points, which ranks seventh all-time. Earlier this season, Berzolla was named to the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team and to the NEWMAC All-Conference First Team.

Nielan, the NEWMAC Defensive Athlete of the Year, was one of the best defenders in the country this season as she earned a spot on the All-New England team for the first time in her career. Prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament, MIT led the country in goals against average and ranked second in shutout percentage. The Engineers put together a total of 20 shutouts in 24 matches in 2019, breaking the previous program record of 14 set by the 2010 squad. On the offensive side of the ball, the junior posted one goal and one assist for three points.

Groff made her first appearance on the All-New England team this season after she posted a career-high 17 goals, seven assists and 41 points. The sophomore, who was also named to the NEWMAC All-Conference First Team, not only led the Engineers in both goals and points, but she paced the entire NEWMAC in both statistical categories. Groff became the first student-athlete since Amy Ludlum in 2006 to post 17 goals and 41 points in a season. Through just two seasons with MIT, Groff ranks eighth in career goals and seventh in career points.

Struckman, now a two-time All-New England selection, tallied seven goals and a career-high seven assists for 21 points as a senior. Struckman ranked second on the team in assists, fourth in goals and fourth in points this season. The senior captain played in all 24 matches for MIT this fall and was also named to the NEWMAC All-Conference First Team earlier in the season.

Gillikin, the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year, was one of the best goalkeepers in Division III this season. Heading into this year's NCAA Tournament, the first-year goalkeeper led the nation in goals against average and save percentage. In 19 matches this fall, Gillikin posted a record of 16-0-2, allowed just two goals for a goals against average of 0.12, made 47 saves for a save percentage of .959 and tallied ten shutouts in 1446:28 minutes between the pipes for MIT. 

MIT went 20-1-3 overall and became the first NEWMAC team to post a perfect record in conference play since 2007 this year. The Engineers closed a historic season as MIT won 20 matches for the second time in three seasons and broke the single season records for longest winning streak (14), longest unbeaten streak (21), most goals (80), points (217), fewest goals allowed (4), fewest goals allowed per game (0.16), shutouts (20) and consecutive shutouts (10).

The Engineers won their eighth straight NEWMAC Regular Season Championship, their sixth NEWMAC Tournament Championship and advanced to the second round of the 2019 NCAA Division III Championship Tournament for the third consecutive season.

For the latest on MIT Athletics, follow the Engineers via social media on TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.