CLEVELAND, Ohio – Denison field hockey had five athletes named to the 2017 All-North Coast Athletic Conference team, headlined by freshman Michelle Kabaira who received both the NCAC Defensive Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards.
Also landing on the All-NCAC first-team in her rookie season, Kabaira helped in holding down the Denison defense in 2017, allowing only 17 goals in 21 games and recording 11 shutouts. The Harare, Zimbabwe native also helped the Big Red offensively with four goals and two assists, totaling 10 points for the season. Two of her four goals came in a 7-2 victory over Wittenberg University on Oct. 21.
Kabaira has also become the first player in DU history to earn Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year honors in the same season. The last player to achieve this during their Denison career was Jenny Lacey (2002-2005) who earned Newcomer of the Year in her freshman season, and then Offensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2005.
Senior Jen Durbin has now earned a spot on the All-NCAC second-team in back-to-back seasons, following two goals and one assist in 21 games started in 2017. Durbin has started every game for the Big Red in each of the last three seasons and was named to the NCAC Academic Honor Roll in 2015 and 2016.
Charlotte Godfrey was also named to the All-NCAC second-team after a breakout performance in her freshman campaign. Finishing second in the conference with 102 shots, the Denver, Colo. native tallied 12 goals and six assists in her rookie season. Her 12 goals ranked second on the team, three of which finished as game-winners for the Big Red.
Sophomore Charlotte Happel and junior Lucy Pearsall rounded out the conference accolades for Denison, earning honorable mention recognition. Happel, a first-time All-NCAC honoree, led the team with 13 goals in 2017, finishing fifth in the conference. She totaled 27 points on the season and added game-winning goals in back-to-back games at Ohio Wesleyan on Sept. 21 and at Wittenberg on Sept. 23.
Pearsall, a first-team selection in her freshman and sophomore seasons, led the Big Red with 9 assists, good for second in the NCAC. The Chicago, Ill. native finished second on the team with 66 shots and third in shots on goal (32), a year after being named the NCAC Midfielder of the Year.
In addition to the player awards, Denison head coach P.J. Soteriades received NCAC Coach of the Year honors for the fourth time in her career after recording a program-best 15-straight victories this season. After locking down the NCAC regular season co-championship with a 12-2 conference record, Soteriades guided the Big Red to their first NCAC Tournament title since 2011 and a trip to the 2017 NCAA Tournament.