ST. LOUIS – After yet another exciting season of Valley women’s soccer, the conference recognizes its brightest stars. Following two unbelievable seasons in 2011 and 2012, Rachel Tejada continues to shine in her junior year, earning the title of MVC Player of the Year for the third consecutive time. Tallying 14 goals and 36 total points, Tejada was far and away the leading scorer in the Valley this season and has already eclipsed the all-time Valley points mark. She helped lead the Redbirds to the No. 1 seed and will hope to provide firepower this weekend as the Redbirds look to win their third MVC Championship in a row.
Defensively, nobody was as tough to battle as Kelsey Fouch. The Missouri State back took home Defensive Player of the Year honors, placing an exclamation point on an outstanding junior season. Fouch anchored a Bears defense that shut out its opponents on five different occasions in the 2013 season.
Junior netminder Aryn Newsom is the MVC Goalkeeper of the Year. The third ever winner of this award, Newsom was an essential cog in the Redbird machine that stormed through the conference season, leading her team to a 6-0 record with four shutouts against MVC opponents. In conference play, Newsom allowed just two goals.
Newsom is joined by teammate Hannah Leinert on the list of award winners. Leinert took home the title of MVC Freshman of the Year. Her impact was felt immediately, as she garnered MVC Offensive Player of the Week honors in her very first opportunity of the 2013 season. In 17 games, Leinert tallied 10 goals and six assists for a total of 26 points, the most by a freshman since her teammate Rachel Tejada’s 2011 campaign. She will aim to be a large part of further success for the Redbirds in the future.
While the players make it happen on the field, coaching staffs must be recognized. The Illinois State Redbirds garnered Coaching Staff of the Year honors. A tough non-conference season saw the Redbirds face multiple BCS Conference opponents and defeat a ranked team, and, as a result, Illinois State came into the MVC Season thoroughly prepared. Coach Roff led Illinois State to a perfect 6-0 mark against conference opponents, a regular season championship, and the No. 1 Seed entering the MVC Tournament.
Drake and Loyola are the co-winners of this year’s MVC Fair Play award. The Valley gives out this award to the team(s) that receives the fewest red and yellow cards combined during conference play. Receipt of this award shows that Bulldogs and Ramblers demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship and respect for their opponents.
The award winners were recognized this evening at an awards reception in Evansville prior to the semifinal games tomorrow.
To see the full All-Conference teams, please see the linked PDF release on the right-hand side of the page.