ELMHURST, Ill. – The Summit League announced its annual women's soccer all-league awards Wednesday on the eve of its championship tournament. Regular season champion South Dakota State accounted for two of the league's top four player honors. No. 2 tournament seed Denver represented the other two player awards.
Denver's Jessie Dancy, the league's leading goal scorer, received the Offensive Player of the Year accolade, while her teammate Meg Halvorson earned the Freshman of the Year title. South Dakota State's Annie Williams was named the Defensive Player of the Year, while teammate Maggie Smither was tabbed the Goalkeeper of the Year for the team's stellar defensive play. In his first year as head coach of the Jackrabbits, Brock Thompson garnered Coach of the Year honors after guiding his program to an undefeated record in Summit League regular season play.
After scoring only two goals in her first three years, Dancy became the first in Denver's history to score five goals in the team's first six games. The Summit League leading scorer (12), she earned The Summit League Offensive Player of the Week honor three times this past season. The senior forward was the fastest Pioneer to double digit goals since Kristen Hamilton in 2013. Coincidentally, 2013 is also the last time Denver won the regular season or the Championship.
From her position at midfield, Halvorson imposed her will on the offensive side of the ball. The freshman is tied for seventh in the league in goals (5) and points (11). In September, she netted a game-winning goal against Cal State Fullerton in the 80th minute, after heading into the half trailing 2-1. Halvorson is Denver's second consecutive (and second all-time) Freshman of the Year honoree after teammate Hannah Adler earned the award last season.
After receiving Summit League tournament MVP honors in 2016, Smither returned with fire, posting eight shutouts and allowing only one goal in league play. The Sioux Falls native ranks first in the league in saves (83), save percentage (.856) and goals against average (0.80). Her career goals against average of 0.62 holds the top spot in Summit League history.
In addition to stellar goalkeeper play, the Jackrabbit defense was held strong by Williams. The Defensive Player of the Year led a backline that enters championship play with six consecutive shutouts, winners of their last nine and unbeaten in the last 11. In addition, the junior has tallied two assists and netted three goals, including a game-winner at Western Illinois.
After assisting at South Dakota State for nine years, Thompson earned the head coaching job less than a year ago. In his first year at the helm, he led the Jackrabbits to an undefeated league season, winning the regular season title for the first time since 2014. South Dakota State ranks first in shots (278) and has allowed a league-low 15 goals.
Regular season champion South Dakota State and No. 2 tournament seed Denver had the highest total of all-league selections with six each, the Jackrabbits totaling five first-team honorees and the Pioneers with three. Oral Roberts totaled four all-league picks with two on the first team, while North Dakota State earned one honoree on each team.
Joining Dancy, Williams and Smither on the first team are SDSU's Nicole Hatcher, Leah Manuleleua, and Tori Poole, Denver's Hannah Adler and Makenzie Bothner, ORU's Brooklyn Eardley and Jordan Langebartels, and NDSU's Malley O'Brien.
2017 ALL-SUMMIT LEAGUE WOMEN'S SOCCER TEAMS
Hannah Adler (M), Denver
Makenzie Bothner (D), Denver
Jessie Dancy, (F), Denver
Brooklyn Eardley (D), Oral Roberts
Nicole Hatcher (F), South Dakota State
Jordan Langebartels (F), Oral Roberts
Leah Manuleleua (F), South Dakota State
Malley O'Brien (M), North Dakota State
Tori Poole (M), South Dakota State
Maggie Smither (GK), South Dakota State
Annie Williams (D), South Dakota State
Anna Gornell (M), Oral Roberts
Meg Halvorson (M), Denver
Alexa Hepner (D), South Dakota State
Taryn Labree (F), South Dakota
Nelly Mamabolo (M), Oral Roberts
Abby Meader (D), Omaha
Kallianne Mogler (F), Fort Wayne
Hanna Norman (D), North Dakota State
Taylor Parker (D), Denver
Kellee Willer (F), South Dakota
Brittany Wilson (GK), Denver
Danielle Algera (M), North Dakota State
Macee Barlow (F), Denver
Emma Gaggioli (GK), Fort Wayne
Meg Halvorson (M), Denver
Brittney Lewis (M), Denver
Brianna McGowan (M), Oral Roberts
Jessica Misquez (D), Oral Roberts
Amogelang Motau (F), Oral Roberts
Taylor Parker (D), Denver
Jessica Schoenfeldt (F), Fort Wayne
Kaitlin Zabel (D), South Dakota State
Offensive Player of the Year
Jessie Dancy, Denver
Defensive Player of the Year
Annie Williams, South Dakota State
Goalkeeper of the Year
Maggie Smither, South Dakota State
Freshman of the Year
Meg Halvorson, Denver
Coach of the Year
Brock Thompson, South Dakota State
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Through 35 years of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of nearly 100,000 at eight institutions, including three located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University with the University of North Dakota becoming an official member on July 1, 2018. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced nine NCAA Champions along with over 90 Academic All-Americans, nearly 100 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter @thesummitleague.