Kelly Isleib earned her third career All-MWC award and second consecutive first-team appointment.
Nov. 4, 2008
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Four University of Utah soccer players earned 2008 All-Mountain West Conference accolades, the league office announced Tuesday at the MWC Tournament banquet in the Las Vegas. Junior midfielder Kelly Isleib (Park City, Utah) headlines Utah's group with her second consecutive first-team selection.
The all-conference awards are voted on by the league's coaches. The criteria include performances in Mountain West Conference games only.
Isleib and senior forward Katy Reineke (Salt Lake City) were named first-team selections, while sophomore forward Lauren Hair (Alpine, Utah) and freshman defender Lauren Porter (Salt Lake City) were second-team choices. Isleib is a repeat-selection, while the other three have earned their first career appointments.
"We had a good conference season and any time you perform like that, you're going to earn the respect of your peers," Utah head coach Rich Manning said. "We were pleased to have four players recognized on all-conference teams by our conference coaches. It's a testament to their hard work and impact that this group has had on our program."
Isleib, Utah's all-time assists leader (23), topped the MWC with five helpers in league games. This is her second consecutive appointment to the all-conference first-team. Isleib has been named all-conference each of the three years of her career, making the second team as a freshman (2006) and first team as a sophomore last year. She was also the Co-MWC Freshman of the Year in 2006.
"It makes it easier to win awards like these when you play on good teams," Isleib said. "I'm excited to get the award, and it was something I wasn't expecting heading into this season. But I just went into the year and worked hard."
"I'm honored to win this award, but my teammates deserve all of the credit," Reineke said. "I'm really not concerned about individual awards, just winning games. We definitely could have won more games this season, but I think we're peaking at the right time and hopefully we can have a successful tournament."
Hair's second-team nod is the first all-conference recognition of her career. Tying Reineke for the team lead in conference goals scored (3), she was third on the team in points (6) and shots taken (18). She owns the team lead in conference game-winning strikes with three, including the last two consecutive winners, propelling Utah to a second-place finish and a first-round MWC Tournament bye.
"I'm very excited to win the award," Hair said. "It's always good to get recognized for your performance and I feel really confident heading into this weekend. Obviously, we had a rough start to this season, but we came out of it and had a good season and I am happy to be a part of it."
Porter earned second-team honors in her first year of collegiate soccer. More impressively, she was recognized for her efforts at center-back, a position she had never played prior to the first game of Utah's season. Porter proved a stalwart defender, anchoring Utah's back line that continued to improve as the season progressed. One of Porter's biggest attributes was her heading ability on both ends of the field. Defensively her five-foot-nine-inch frame helped her clear balls out of the box in the run of play and especially on set pieces. Offensively, she scored twice with her head in league play, including the game-winning goal in a 1-0 road shutout at New Mexico.
"I'm happy to be recognized by the conference," Porter said. "It's just a tribute to our whole defensive unit and how everyone contributes to our success. I wasn't even concerned with winning awards like this throughout the season, but I'm really honored. My three other teammates in the defense deserve a lot of credit and really helped me throughout the season."
With the quarterfinal-round bye, the Utes now await the winner of No. 3-seeded TCU and No. 6-seeded San Diego State. That game will be played Wednesday at 1 p.m. MT. Utah's semifinal match against the victor will be played at 1 p.m. MT Thursday and will be broadcast live on the mtn.