PHOENIX, Ariz. – The UMKC women’s soccer team received a wealth of recognition by the Western Athletic Conference at the 2017 postseason banquet Tuesday evening. The 2017 WAC regular season champions saw their head coach and multiple players earn prominent league honors.
Head coach Chris Cissell received the Coach of the Year award, while five players – Lexie Howard (Kearney, Mo.), Kelsey Mothershead (Smithville, Mo.), Reighan Childers (Grain Valley, Mo.), Abby Small (Kansas City, Mo.), Halle Hamilton (Lincoln, Neb.) - were awarded with All-Conference honors.
Howard, Mothershead, Childers and Small were selected to the All-WAC First-Team while Hamilton is an All-WAC Second-Team honoree. Howard and Small also took home the prestigious WAC Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year awards.
“Very excited for our soccer family to receive such incredible recognition for the great regular season that we enjoyed,” commented Cissell. “We had several players earn nice awards and we had several other players that probably deserved recognition as well.”
The 2017 season was Cissell’s seventh season at the helm and guided the Roos to their first outright WAC regular season championship. Since joining the WAC in 2013, Cissell has led the team to one third place finish, two second place finishes, a co-championship and now an outright title in the 2017 campaign. The 12-6-1 record this season improved Cissell’s record at UMKC to 73-53-18. A 3-0 win over Seattle U on Oct. 8 served as win number 350 for Cissell, whose career record now sits at 355-159-40.
Howard led the WAC in goals scored with 12 and finished second in the conference with 27 points following the regular season. The junior forward also sits atop the league with six game-winning goals on the year. Her 12 goals and 27 points rank third-most in UMKC history in a single season. Howard second-most total in both of these records with her 13 goal, 30 point season in 2015. Currently, Howard’s 28 career goals sits four shy of the UMKC career record of 32 and her 66 career points is six short of the top spot.
Small was one of the most reliable defenders for a UMKC defensive line that played extremely well throughout the entire season and exceptionally well in conference play. In 19 matches in the 2017 season, the sophomore defender logged over 1,600 minutes, scored a pair of goals and recorded five shots on goal. Hamilton was equally important to UMKC’s success this season. The sophomore defender started all 19 contests and was relied upon for a full 90 minutes on a regular basis. The duo helped lead the Roos to 11 team shutouts and limited opponents to just one goal in WAC competition with six shutouts, both being conference bests.
Mothershead was the Roos’ second-leading scorer in 2017, tallying seven goals and 20 points on the year while also dishing out six assists. The junior forward ranked sixth in the WAC in goals and points while finishing tied for second in assists.
Childers served a valuable role for UMKC as one of the best two-way players in the conference. In addition to offering a relentless defensive presence, the junior midfielder sent in five goals and recorded three assists for 13 points on the year. Childers also notched three game-winning goals, including the golden goal in a 1-0 overtime win over Grand Canyon.
“Soccer is the ultimate team game and our team truly is a family and our soccer family is honored and humbled by the recognition that we all received tonight,” noted Cissell. “Individual awards and honors like these are only possible when the team as a whole is enjoying tremendous success. We certainly feel blessed and are excited to be here to cmompete for the WAC Tournament championship.”
UMKC is set to begin WAC Tournament play on Friday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. CT. The top-seeded Roos will take on the winner of fourth seeded Seattle U and fifth seeded New Mexico State. All WAC Tournament games will be broadcast on the WAC Digital Network free of charge.
– UMKC –