Spring 2021 Postseason Awards

With one of the strangest seasons in NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer history behind us, it’s time to celebrate the achievements of the Australians involved and dish out a few awards. The awards have been streamlined in contrast to previous seasons, with just five categories plus the Rachael Doyle Medal for Player of the Year up for grabs alongside the statistical awards.

Freshman of the Year: Amy Sayer (Stanford)

Photo: Maciek Gudrymowicz/ISI Photos

Whilst Stanford had a rare down season in the spring of 2021, Sayer was one of the bright spots, slotting into the side like a duck to water. Part of a much-vaunted recruiting class for the Cardinal, Sayer emerged as one of the stars of the group as the Matildas midfielder earned a spot in the Pac-12 All-Freshman team despite Stanford’s lacklustre record as a team. Sayer’s performances for the Cardinal earned the former Sydney FC midfielder a call-up to the Matildas squad for matches against Germany and Netherlands, coming off the bench to play 32 minutes in the 5-2 defeat to Germany. With an Olympic Games, Asian Cup, and a home World Cup coming up in the next two years, Sayer will no doubt be buoyed by the fact that her college form has been noticed by new Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson as she looks to maintain her spot in the national setup.

Offensive Player of the Year: Amy Sayer (Stanford)

Photo: Maciek Gudrymowicz/ISI Photos

If not for the crossbar denying her on a number of occasions, Sayer would have the goals to show for her production this season and won this award by an even larger margin than she already did. Throughout the season, Sayer demonstrated the kind of composure one would expect from a player with multiple caps for the senior national team as the transition to college soccer seemed to not faze the Sydneysider for a second. A regular starter for Stanford, Sayer’s ability to find space in midfield and distribute the ball was evident throughout the season. However, with Catarina Macario and Sophia Smith’s 49 goals from 2019 now in the professional ranks, Stanford found themselves unable to replicate the goalscoring prowess of previous years, contributing to a downturn in results. With the defence also not up to the standards of previous years, Sayer’s good work ultimately proved to be in vain as the Cardinal became the first defending national champion to miss the NCAA Division I Tournament. However, the good news is that the fall season starts in August, so Stanford will be able to bounce right back and attempt to resume normal service.

Defensive Player of the Year: Hannah Peric (Massachusetts)

Photo: Chris Tucci/UMass Athletics

Spring 2021 was undoubtedly the season of the freshmen at College Matildas, with former Manly United star Hannah Peric quickly becoming one of the first names on the team sheet for Massachusetts. The towering first-year player slotted straight into the Minutewomen’s defensive structure, and her height played havoc with opponents come set-piece time. Her ability to play up front helped Peric act as a target at the offensive end, whilst all but uncontested defensive headers against players who stood no chance in an aerial contest became a feature of Massachusetts’ set-piece defence. Like Sayer, Peric picked up a conference All-Freshman team selection, in the Atlantic 10, a conference that has been generally kind to Aussies in recent seasons.

Goalkeeper of the Year: Teresa Morrissey (Rhode Island)

Photo: Mike Scott

Whilst it is true that Teresa Morrissey was the only Australian goalkeeper to actually take to the pitch in NCAA Division I this season, the sophomore put in a number of performances that demonstrated her ability to perform at the level usually required of players that have won this award in past seasons. In a Rhode Island side that is still building to its full potential, Morrissey made five or more saves on four occasions, including eight against Saint Joseph’s in a 1-1 draw and six against Boston College in a famous 3-2 overtime victory. Whether the goalkeeping rotation that existed this season for Rhode Island continues into the fall season remains to be seen, but Morrissey is one player that the Rams can count on to perform going forward.

Breakout Player of the Year: Madison McComasky (Incarnate Word)

Photo: Vashaun Newman/UIW Athletics

After a season at NAIA level with Wayland Baptist before a stint in junior college at Northeast Texas Community College, Madison McComasky finally found her way into NCAA Division I with San Antonio-based program Incarnate Word, and progressed throughout the season to become an integral part of the Cardinals side. This was evidenced no more perfectly than during the game against Nicholls State, in which McComasky picked up the Player of the Match award in a dominant 6-0 victory. Having started the final five games of the 12-match campaign this season, McComasky looks set to be one of the first names on the team-sheet as she attempts to build on her spring campaign in the coming fall season.

Statistical Awards:

Top Goalscorer: Indianna Asimus (Wyoming) – 2 Goals
Most Assists: Hannah Peric (Massachusetts) – 2 Assists
Most Points: Indianna Asimus (Wyoming) and Hannah Peric (Massachusetts) – 4 Points

Spring 2021 Rachael Doyle Medal: Amy Sayer (Stanford)

Photo: Maciek Gudrymowicz/ISI Photos

In the Year of the Freshmen, the standout recruit became the standout player as Amy Sayer just edged out Hannah Peric and Grace Norbury for the inaugural Rachael Doyle Medal. Both Sayer and Peric picked up conference All-Freshman nods, whilst Norbury’s name surely would have been one of the first on the list if the SWAC named an All-Freshman team. All three were outstanding for their respective teams, but it is hard to go past the player who picked up an award in one of the nation’s premier conferences and also earned a Matildas call-up as the top player among the Australian cohort.

However, there were several others who put themselves in the conversation, led by Grand Canyon senior Sandra Hill and La Salle junior Alyssa Van Heurck. Both players continued to play integral roles for their respective sides, a common theme for the duo who have shone for their entire careers in roles that perhaps don’t attract high levels of praise but nonetheless remain crucial to their teams’ fortunes.

About Lachy 383 Articles
Founder of College Matildas. An Australian women's football fan who also happens to be a college sports fan. Often found at A-League Women or NPLW games.

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