Toledo women’s soccer player Rachel MacLeod and Head Coach Brad Evans were named the 2011 Mid-American Conference Player and Coach of the Year, respectively.Five Rockets also earned spots on the all-league squad; voting was done by the conference’s 12 head coaches.
UT placed sophomore MacLeod as well as senior goalie Vicki Traven and junior Natalia Gaitàn on the first team, while senior Kristen Lynn and freshman midfielder Alexis Tice received second-team all-league recognition.
MacLeod took home the league’s most prestigious honor after helping lead the Midnight Blue and Gold to its third MAC regular-season championship in the last four seasons. The 2010 MAC Freshman of the Year also becomes the second Rocket to receive the recognition; Molly Cornwell earned the title in 2007 and 2008. MacLeod has totaled a conference-best 27 points on nine goals and nine assists this fall. She sits tied for the league lead in scores, helpers and match-winning goals (4). Her point total also ranks third in school history in a single season, while her assist total is tied for third.Evans repeated as Coach of the Year and becomes the third-straight MAC mentor to win the esteemed accolade in back-to-back seasons. The 11th-year coach has guided the 2011 MAC regular-season champions to a 12-6-2 overall record, 9-1-1 league ledger. Over the last two years, Toledo sports a MAC-best 19-2-1 (.886) mark in league regular-season matches.
Traven has started 19 matches between the posts and has a 0.94 goals-against average, making 50 saves with seven shutouts. A 2010 second-team all-league honoree, she is tied for third in the MAC in blankings and fifth in goals against average. The St. Charles, Ill., native has compiled an impressive 12-5-1 record this fall, registering a season-high seven saves at Miami (Oct. 2). Earlier this season, Traven assumed the top spot in MAC history with 33 career shutouts. She currently sits second in league annals in career minutes played (6,792:07) and fourth in goals against (0.82).
Gaitàn is one of six Rockets to start every match this fall and helps direct a stingy Toledo defense that has allowed only six goals in 12 league matches with eight shutouts. A 2010 second-team All-Great Lakes Region selection, she has played the entire match on 17 occasions this fall. A dangerous player in the offensive third of the pitch as well, especially off corner kicks, Gaitàn ranks third on the squad with five assists.
Traven and Gaitàn have played a critical role in a UT defense that is tied for fourth in the league’s overall rankings in blankings (8), fifth in goals against average (1.17) and sixth in scores allowed (24).
Lynn also has started all 20 matches this fall up front and ranks second on the squad in shots (46), as well as third in goals and total points (19). A 2010 first-team All-MAC honoree, the 2011 tri-captain is tied for fifth in the MAC in total points and tied for eighth in shots.
Lynn and MacLeod are at the forefront of a Toledo attack that is outscoring its opponents, 116-63, and leads the MAC in goals (40), assists (36) and total points, as well as ranks tied for first in corner kicks (122).
Tice had started 14 consecutive matches (Sept. 2-Oct. 23) in the midfield before suffering a season-ending foot injury at Eastern Michigan (Oct. 23). She contributed one goal with one assist this fall and also earned a spot on the MAC’s All-Freshman Team. The Palatine, Ill., native saw at least 80 minutes of match action on eight occasions, including a season-high 110 minutes vs. Akron (Oct. 9).
The top-seed Rockets are hosting fifth-seed Buffalo in semifinal-round action Friday, Nov. 4, at 11:05 a.m. The match will be carried live on BCSN from Scott Park.
In the second match of the day, No. 2 seed and two-time defending MAC tourney champion Central Michigan will take on No. 3 seed Western Michigan in a 2 p.m. opening whistle.
Friday’s winners will return to Scott Park for the MAC Tournament finals Sunday, Nov. 6. That contest will begin at 1:05 p.m., with the winner earning the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. The MAC Tournament final also will be televised live on BCSN.
UT could make MAC history this weekend and surpass Miami as the only school to win four tournament championships.
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