Women’s Soccer Athletes Earn Recognition

After a successful season that ended with a conference tournament championship title, a NAIA National Championship Opening Round appearance, and a 19-3 overall record, a number of student-athletes on the women’s soccer team were recognized for their efforts on the field and in the classroom. The team had four athletes named to the CCAC All-Conference Team, three on the NCCAA North Central All-Region Team, and many earn scholar-athlete honors.

Receiving top conference honors, junior Jessica Bianchi (Elmhurst, Illinois) was named the CCAC Player of the Year.  Her All-Conference selection came as she led the CCAC with 33 goals. She also recorded 12 assists to rank at the top of the conference in assist average and also in total points. At the national level, Bianchi ranks in the top five in the NAIA in total goals and total points. With her outstanding play she was also recognized as the NCCAA North Central Region Player of the Year. Throughout the season Bianchi was named the CCAC Player of the Week twice and the NCCAA Student-Athlete of the Week three times.  

Also on the All-Conference and the NCCAA All-Region Teams were Taylor Miller (Lakewood, California), a sophomore midfielder, and Elly Brummel (Hudsonville, Michigan), a junior defender.  For the season Miller scored six goals and had five assists as she directed the midfield. She also ranked fifth in the conference in shot average. Brummel was a key part to the defensive squad that recorded seven shut-outs and ranked second in the CCAC with only 17 goals allowed. Combined with her athletic accomplishment, Brummel also was named CoSIDA Academic All-District as well an NAIA, NCCAA, and CCAC Scholar-Athlete for her high academic work.

Freshmen defender Kaleigh VanElst (Grandville, Michigan) received recognition as she was named to the CCAC All-Conference Second Team.  In addition to her contributions to the team’s solid defensive play, she also recorded one goal and one assist for the season.  Sophomore Lindsey Dykema (Bryon Center, Michigan) was acknowledged as the NAIA Champion of Character player for the team.

Along with Brummel, senior Tori Rivas (Pasadena, California) and junior Jessica Owen (Caledonia, Michigan) were also honored as NAIA, NCCAA, and CCAC Scholar-Athletes. Senior Brenna Cesmat (Gilbert, Arizona) made the scholar-athlete list for the NCCAA and CCAC.  Also receiving CCAC academic honors are varsity players Sierra Christopher (Irvine, California), Lexi Zambrano (Loves Park, Illinois), Dykema, Abbigal Nienhuis (Zeeland, Michigan), Shaelyn Postmus (Hudsonville, Michigan), Nicole Faulkner (North Bend, Ohio) and junior varsity team members Allie Johnson (Hudsonville, Michigan), Alicia Enz (Wilmington, Illinois), Martha Mahtani (Grandville, Michigan), Cynthia VanVliet (Escalon, California), Skylynn Olvera (Gallup, New Mexico), and Maribeth Karnia (Oak Lawn, Illinois).

In addition to the players’ honor, Coach Josh Lenarz was named the NCCAA North Central Region Coach of the Year.  It is the tenth time Lenarz has received this honor.