Women's Soccer Takes Home Four Major Patriot League Awards
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Coming off a regular season that saw the Mids win 15 games and finish first in the Patriot League with the fifth unbeaten conference record in program’s 24-year history, the Navy women’s soccer team was recognized by the conference on Monday with four major awards and six honorees on All-League teams.
The trio of Ash Fairow (Jr., Jacksonville, N.C.), Meghan Hegarty (Sr., Richmond, Va.) and Sydney Fortson (So., Claremont, Calif.) collected three of the five major playing awards from the Patriot League on Monday. Fairow was recognized as the Offensive Player of the Year, while Hegarty was voted the Midfielder of the Year and Fortson, the Goalkeeper of the Year.
After injuries curtailed her playing time and effectiveness as a sophomore in 2016, Fairow has come back with a vengeance in 2017. The most consistent player in the Patriot League throughout the year, Fairow has netted a career-high nine goals and 19 points over 18 games as a junior. A sign of her consistency is the fact that Fairow has scored her nine goals over nine separate games and has not gone more than two games without finding the back of the net in 2017. Of Fairow’s nine scores, seven have been of the game-winning variety, a mark that is second-best in the entire NCAA Division I. Fairow is the first Mid since Morgan Dankanich in 2013 to win the Offensive Player of the Year honor and sixth all-time in program history.
A key cog in Navy’s high-level two-way game is Hegarty. A four-year starter in the midfield, Hegarty has played a lockdown holding midfield position for the Mids in 2017. Over 19 games, she’s registered eight points with four assists and goals versus Holy Cross and Loyola. Defensively, the Mids posted 12 shutouts during the regular season and had shutout streaks of 371:53, earlier in the year versus non-conference opposition, and 719:21 (7.75 games) during Patriot League play. Navy’s 12 shutouts over 19 games, a .632 percentage, ranks 13th overall amongst Division I programs. A source of senior leadership, as well, Hegarty has been on the field for 11 entire games and three more with 75 or more minutes. Hegarty is the first Navy player to receive the Patriot League Midfielder of the Year award that started in circulation in 2016.
Fortson is the third major award winner from Navy this year. The Mids’ first-year starting goalkeeper, Fortson backstopped the stingiest defense in Patriot League action in 2017. Playing in 822:10 of 830:00 possible minutes versus league competition, the sophomore allowed just three goals for a minute goals against average of 0.33. Against the conference’s three highest scoring teams, Bucknell (2.3 g/g), Boston U. (2.0 g/g) and Colgate (1.9 g/g), Fortson and her defensive teammates allowed just single goals to the Bison and Raiders, while blanking the Terriers. For the season over 19 games, Fortson started every contest and recorded 1,624 minutes of playing time. She won 15 games, while allowing 15 goals for a 0.83 GAA and .821 save percentage. Fortson has posted eight individual shutouts along with four combined shutouts, in which she played the majority of the minutes. Nationally, that ranks her 31st in the NCAA DI in individual shutouts. In program history, Fortson is the first Mid since Elizabeth Hoerner in 2013 to be selected as Goalkeeper of the Year and sixth-ever recipient.
All three major award winners earned spots on the 2017 All-Patriot League First Team. Senior defender Liza Harris (Baltimore, Md.) joined the trio on the top team to give Navy a league-high four selections. One of the Mids’ two starting central defenders, Harris has had a career year as a senior in 2017. After slowly working her way back into the starting lineup last season following a season-ending injury in 2015, Harris has been a force for the Mids in locking down dangerous opposition. Playing in and starting 18 games this fall, Harris and Navy’s defense is in the top-20 percentile of the NCAA Division I ranks with a goals against average of 0.78. In Patriot League play that rate dropped to a conference-low 0.33. Harris’ skillful marking also allowed just 26 shots to be taken by opponents on Navy’s goal over nine league contests. Offensively, Harris scored her first career goal, a game-winner at Holy Cross on Sept. 15.
Navy was also recognized with two honorees on the All-Patriot League Second Team, senior forward Clare MacAdam (Palmyra, N.J.) and sophomore defender Alex Jackson (Centennial, Colo.). MacAdam is now a four-time all-league honoree having garnered a second team nod in 2014, first team laurels in 2015 and a spot on the third team in 2016. As a senior in 2017, the Mids’ team captain recorded 11 points with three goals and five assists over 17 games. This season marked the fourth consecutive time that MacAdam had reached the double-digit point milestone. All-time, she currently ranks eighth in Navy’s program record book with both 27 goals and 71 career points.
After a strong freshman campaign, Jackson has continued improving her game in 2017 to the tune of a all-league second team nod. The Mids’ second starting central back, Jackson has played 1558 minutes this season, the most by a Navy field player. Besides providing a high-level defense acumen alongside Harris, Jackson is proving to be one of the Mids’ most dangerous weapons in set pieces. On the receiving end, she is a leading target for header attempts, while on the beginning of such plays, she can easily play the ball into the box from upwards of 35-plus yards. For the year, Jackson has recorded eight points with three goals and two assists. Her tallies versus CCSU in September and at Colgate in October both went down as game-winners.
The haul of awards concluded with Carin Gabarra receiving the honor as 2017 Patriot League Coach of the Year. In her 25th year guiding the Mids, Gabarra has seen her squad post a 15-3-1 regular season record and 8-0-1 mark in league play in 2017. The team’s .816 win percentage is the highest since 2012 (.886) and fifth-best all-time. Navy’s 8-0-1 record in Patriot League action gave the Mids the outright regular season title for the fifth time in program history. This is Gabarra’s fourth career Patriot League Coach of the Year honor (2012, 2006, 1996).
Voting for the Patriot League All-League teams and major awards was conducted by League head coaches, who could not vote for their own student-athletes or themselves.
As the top overall seed in the 2017 Patriot League Tournament, Navy will host the semifinals and final of the event at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility this coming weekend. The Mids will play versus the lowest remaining seed in a 5:00 p.m. contest on Friday, Nov. 3. The championship game is scheduled for a 12:00 p.m. kickoff on Sunday, Nov. 5.
2017 Patriot League Awards
Offensive Player of the Year: Ash Fairow, Navy
Midfielder of the Year: Meghan Hegarty, Navy
Defensive Player of the Year: Rachel Bloznalis, Boston University
Goalkeeper of the Year: Sydney Fortson, Navy
Rookie of the Year: Anna Heilferty, Boston University
Coach of the Year: Carin Gabarra, Navy
(Note: Listed in alphabetical order by school_
Rachel Bloznalis, Gr., D., Boston U.
Christina Wakefield, Sr., F, Boston U.
Jackie Ham, Sr., D, Bucknell
Kendall Ham, Sr., F, Bucknell
Mara Cosentino, So., M, Colgate
Abby Sotomayor, So., F, Colgate
Alyssa Riporti, Sr., D, Lehigh
Adrian Vitello, Sr., M, Lehigh
Ash Fairow, Jr., F, Navy
Sydney Fortson, So., GK, Navy
Liza Harris, Sr., D, Navy
Meghan Hegarty, Sr., M, Navy
Clare Shea, Sr., M, Army West Point
Julianna Chen, Jr., M, Boston U.
Anna Heilferty, Fr., F, Boston U.
Dorrie Varley-Barrett, Jr., M, Boston U.
Karli Cirovski, Sr., D. Bucknell
Meghan Holtz, Sr., M, Bucknell
Maddie Mulford, Sr., F, Bucknell
Leah Lewis, So., D, Colgate
Sam Miller, So., GK, Lehigh
Alex Jackson, So., D, Navy
Clare MacAdam, Jr., F, Navy
Kira Flaherty, Sr., D, American
Sydney Cassalia, Fr., GK, Army West Point
Sydney Witham, Jr., D, Army West Point
Eliza Doll, Sr., M, Colgate
Ellis Miller, Fr., F, Colgate
Ang Seslija, Jr., M, Holy Cross
Krista Kissell, Fr., F, Lafayette
Gabrielle Martone, Jr., M, Lafayette
Amanda Stratton, Sr., D, Lehigh
Maggie Wadswoth, So., F, Lehigh
^ Due to a tie, there are four defenders on the first team and no at large player on the third team