Offensive Player of the Week
Bianca Rossi, Eastern Michigan, Forward
Junior, Mississauga, Ontario (St. Marcellinus)
Eastern Michigan University’s Bianca Rossi led the Eagles to a pair of victories to open up Mid-American Conference play. The junior forward not only scored two goals throughout the weekend, but she shared the ball, adding two assists. Both of her shots on goal found the back of the net. After scoring a goal in EMU’s 4-1 win over Northern Illinois, Sept. 27, Rossi played a factor in three of the Eagles’ four goals against Toledo, Sept. 29, as the Green and White held off the Rockets, 4-3. The Mississauga, Ontario native was on the giving end of EMU’s first two goals against Toledo, finding teammates Martha Stevens and Cara Cutaia in the first half of the contest.
Defensive Player of the Week
Victoria Jacobs, Ball State, Defender
Junior, Oakville, Ontario (St. Ignatius of Loyola
Ball State was the only team in the conference to post two shutout victories in the opening weekend of MAC play, and junior defender Victoria Jacobs played an instrumental role in that accomplishment. Jacobs played every minute on the back line in Ball State’s wins over Buffalo and Akron, including all 105 minutes of a double-overtime contest against the Bulls. She spearheaded the efforts of a Ball State defensive unit that allowed those two opponents only eight shots on goal combined over the two games. Jacobs also delivered in a big way on the other end of the field, scoring in the sixth minute of Sunday’s victory at Akron for what proved to be the game-winning goal. Jacobs has been a major factor in the success of a Ball State back line that has posted a league-best six shutouts this season and helped the Cardinals to the lowest goals against average in the conference.
Lani Smith, Akron, Forward
Junior, Solon, Ohio (Hathaway Brown)
Junior Lani Smith posted her first multi-goal match as a Zip in Friday’s 2-1 win over the Miami RedHawks. The first goal on Friday was unassisted at the top of the box, followed up by a breakaway goal for her second of the afternoon. In Sunday’s match, Smith registered two shots, one on goal, while spending the full 90 minutes on the pitch. Smith led the Akron offense in points for the week with five.
Katie George, Akron, Defender
Sophomore, Middleburg Heights, Ohio (Walsh Jesuit)
Katie George spent the entire 90 minutes on the pitch for both Friday and Sunday’s matches, while also providing strong defense. In Friday’s match, George was instrumental to holding Miami to one goal and a total of four shots on goal with three corner kicks. Despite Sunday’s loss, George helped shutout the Cardinals in the second half of the match, and hold the BSU offense to six shots in the second half.
Megan McCabe, Eastern Michigan, Goalkeeper
Sophomore, Arlington Heights, Ill. Prospect
EMU goalkeeper Megan McCabe helped the Eagles get off to a perfect start in MAC play, stopping six shots in victories over Northern Illinois, Sept. 27, and Toledo, Sept. 29. The sophomore goalie made three saves in each game as the Eagles downed the Huskies, 4-1, before defeating Toledo, 4-3.
Jessacca Gironda, Kent State, Forward
Senior, Akron, Ohio (Archbishop Hoban)
Senior Jessacca Gironda’s hat-trick led the Kent State women’s soccer team to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Bowling Green Falcons on Sunday afternoon. After falling short 1-0 on Friday evening in its Mid-American Conference opener vs. Central Michigan, Kent State came back with a vengeance on Sunday to earn the four-goal victory. Gironda scored the first goal of the game just 7:21 in, followed by goals at 55:01 and 59:48. She also assisted on two goals. She leads the team with 15 points on six goals and three assists.
Jenna Hellstom, Kent State
Freshman, Sudbury, Ontario (La Salle Secondary)
For other nominees (if possible): Rookie Jenna Hellstrom tallied four assists during Kent State’s 5-1 victory over Bowling Green on Sunday. She is now second on the team in scoring with 10 points on three goals and four assists.
Aubrey Sudomier, Western Michigan, Midfielder
Junior, Shelby Township, Mich. (Eisenhower)
Sudomier netted the first goal of the game to give Western Michigan a 1-0 lead over Toledo in the 39th minute to extender her point-scoring streak to two games. She later assisted on Kyle Nylen's goal that gave WMU a 4-0 lead to put the game out of reach. She help contribute to WMU's largest margin of victory over Toledo in program history. With her help, WMU scored more goals in one MAC game this season then they scored the entire season last year. On Sunday she assisted on WMU's second goal of the game to give WMU a 2-0 lead over NIU. She then assisted on Rachel Chaney's game-winning goal after making a cut into the box and a low cross to Chaney. She now has two goals and four assists in her last three games, all in which WMU has outscored its opponents 13-3.
Nicole Pembleton, Ball State, Forward
Junior, Mississagua, Ontario (Clarkson Secondary)
Junior forward Nicole Pembleton scored the game-winning goal for Ball State in the 106th minute of Friday’s MAC opener at Buffalo. It was the second time in three games Pembleton broke a scoreless tie with a game-winner in the final five minutes of the second overtime. She also lifted the Cardinals to a win Sept. 15 at Air Force by scoring with just 22 seconds left on the clock. Pembleton’s dramatic goal Friday at Buffalo was key in the Cardinals’ 2-0 start to MAC play over the weekend. She led Ball State’s offensive attack with six shots over the two wins.
Hailey Pleshakov, Miami, Forward
Junior, Brighton, Mich. (Hartland)
Pleshakov scored a goal and had an assist last weekend to lead the RedHawks with three points as Miami opened conference play. Pleshakov headed in her lone shot of the game against the Zips and found the back of the net for Miami’s only goal in a 2-1 loss at Akron on Friday. She helped Miami rebound on Sunday as the RedHawks snapped a five-game losing skid and earned their first MAC win. Pleshakov led the attack before Katy Dolesh sent in a shot that was blocked out of bounds. On the ensuing corner kick, Pleshakov lobbed a pass into the penalty area where Dolesh used a header to collect the goal just 2:05 into the second half in a 1-0 triumph for the RedHawks. Pleshakov’s play against the Bulls and over the weekend was described by head coach Bobby Kramig as an inspiring performance and called her the MVP of the Buffalo game.
Courtney Zanotti, Miami, Defender
Junior, North Royalton, Ohio (Lutheran West)
Zanotti anchored a stingy Miami defense that collected the RedHawks’ fourth shutout of the season in a 1-0 win over Buffalo to give Miami its first MAC win of 2013. Zanotti played all 90 minutes of each contest over the weekend. In a 2-1 loss at Akron, the RedHawks allowed just five shots for the game, four of which were on goal.
Carly Manso, Ohio, Midfielder
Redshirt Freshman, Mason, Ohio, Vernon HIlls, Ill. (Vernon Hills (University of Colorado))
Manso powered Ohio to its first league win of the season during a 1-1 week for the Bobcats. In the MAC opening victory over Bowling Green (3-1), the Vernon Hills, Ill., native posted a career-best four points on a goal and two assists while taking a match-high five shots (three on goal) in the contest. With the Bobcats trailing, 1-0, Manso played a perfect ball to teammate Holly Harris to grab an assist on the game-tying goal in the second half. Manso again fed a good ball to post an assist on Ohio’s go-ahead goal, then rifled home a penalty shot to register the third goal for the ‘Cats. In Sunday’s contest against CMU, Manso took two of the Bobcats four corners in the match and generated a number of scoring opportunities for Ohio in the contest.
Grace Labrecque, Central Michigan, Goalkeeper
Junior, Battle Creek, Mich. (Lakeview)
Grace Labrecque led the Chippewas on Friday to their first win of the season in a shutout effort to open up MAC play against Kent State. Labrecque also picked up a second win over the weekend defeating Ohio, snapping their six-game unbeaten streak. She stopped a critical penalty kick by Tonya Frasik in the 13th minute of Sunday’s win. Labrecque has started in every non-losing result for CMU this year.
Emily Cooksey, Central Michigan, Midfielder
Junior, Jacksonville, Fla. (Fleming Island North)
Junior midfielder Emily Cooksey delivered CMU’s game winning goal in the 34th minute on Sunday against Ohio when she scored a highlight reel upper 90 strike from 30-yards out. Cooksey leads the team in scoring with two goals this season. Cooksey’s efforts helped the Chippewas snap an Ohio six-game unbeaten streak.
Nicole Gobbo, NIU, Forward
Sophomore, Barlett, Ill. (Barlett)
Northern Illinois’ Nicole Gobbo was the focus of the Huskie offense over the weekend. She scored two goals over the two games for NIU. Those two goals came on just four total shots, as Gobbo made the most out of her opportunities. She now leads the Huskies in goals scored with four and total points with eight.
Jackie Wandt, NIU, Defender
Freshman, Brookfield, Wis (Brookfield East)
Jackie Wandt came off the bench for NIU in the first game of the weekend against Eastern Michigan. Seeing most of her time in the second half of that game, she helped suppress scoring from the opposing Eagles when she played. The Huskie defense held EMU to one goal in the final 45 minutes of that game. Her play against EMU earned her a start on Sunday against Western Michigan. Overall, Wandt was out there for most of the games over the weekend, totaling 150 minutes played.