Women's Soccer |
Sept. 19, 2011
CINCINNATI - For the second consecutive week, a student-athlete on the University of Cincinnati women's soccer was named the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week after the conference announced that Kristina Utley (Castro Valley, Calif./Castro Valley) earned the award on Monday.
"It's well deserved. Kristina made two crucial saves that afforded us the opportunity to score the game-winner against DePaul," said Michelle Salmon, UC women's soccer head coach. "In the last three weeks, she has really emerged as one of the premier goalkeepers is the BIG EAST.
"Her ability to continue to strive for excellence is such a tremendous trait and why she's experiencing so much success. I believe she would be the first to give credit to her backline for their play in the past three weeks. Kelli Pawelko (Lemont, Ill./Lemont), Erin Kaufman (Wayland, Mass./Wayland), Kate Schmidt (Sylvania, Ohio/Northview), Jae Atkinson (Mason, Ohio/Mason) and Kaylee Dakers (Brampton, Ontario/Heart Lake Secondary School) have been an integral part of Kristina's success because they play so well together."
Utley received the distinction for performances over the weekend against BIG EAST rivals DePaul University and University of Notre Dame. The 5-foot-8 goalkeeper recorded her third shutout of the season with seven saves against the Blue Demons on Friday. She then made a career-high 10 saves against the Fighting Irish on Sunday.
Utley has now earned two weekly conference accolades in her short collegiate career. On Aug. 29 she was named the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week after allowing one goal in two matches at the Northwestern Tournament.
Utley and freshman forward Mackenzie Grause (Ft. Thomas, Ky./Highlands) have won the last two BIG EAST Rookie of the Week awards. Grause received the honor on Sept. 12 after posting three goals and two assists in two matches at the College of Charleston Cup.
"It's an honor the BIG EAST continues to recognize our freshman class," said Salmon. "I've said from the start of the season that they're an underrated group and it's nice to see these players come in and make an immediate impact on our program."
The Bearcats continue the conference portion of their schedule on Friday when they travel to Rhode Island to face Providence College at 4 p.m. UC will then head to Storrs, Conn. to play UConn at 1 p.m. Sunday.
To read the weekly women's soccer release from the BIG EAST Conference, click here.