Christopher Named Rookie of the Year; Five Phoenix Earn All-CAA Women’s Soccer Honors

RICHMOND, Va. – Freshman forward Meredith Christopher was named the Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year and a total of five Elon University women’s soccer players earned All-CAA honors as the league announced its 2017 women’s soccer postseason awards on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 2.

Christopher becomes the program’s first major award winner as a member of the CAA. She is also Elon’s first Rookie of the Year in 23 years and the first Phoenix to receive the honor since the program joined the NCAA Division I ranks in 1999. Meghan Moore and Kristin Facella were Elon’s last freshmen to earn the honor in 1994 as they shared the award from the South Atlantic Conference.

Senior Kendall Ballotti earned All-CAA recognition for the second straight year as she was tabbed an All-CAA Second Team member. Grace Bennett earned a spot on one of the top All-CAA teams for the first time in her career as she was named to the All-CAA Third Team. Christopher also joined Bennett on the All-CAA Third Team.

Rounding out Elon’s postseason awards were redshirt freshman Hannah Doherty and freshman Reena Wichmann, who join Christopher on the CAA All-Rookie Team. Elon’s three All-Rookie selections was the most honorees of any CAA school and had the most players to be named to the team since James Madison had three selections in 2013.

Christopher led the CAA in points (22) as a freshman, tallying eight assists to go along with seven goals to earn Rookie of the Year honors, as well as a spot on the All-CAA Third Team and the All-Rookie Team. Her assist total ranks her 13th nationally heading into the postseason. Christopher led the CAA with five multi-point games and picked up both CAA Player of the Week and CAA Rookie of the Week honors during the season. Early in the campaign, the Fort Mill, S.C. native scored a hat trick against North Florida on Aug. 18, which was the first since Nicole Dennion did so in 2013.

Ballotti earned her second-career All-CAA recognition as a senior after collecting All-CAA First Team honors last year. She completed the 2017 season with three goals and an assist for seven points, while helping anchor the back line as a senior captain.

Bennett collects her first top All-CAA team honor as a member of the Third Team. The senior captain logged the third-most minutes on the team playing as a central midfielder, finishing the year with two goals and five assists for five total points. She scored a clutch game-winning goal in the 83rd minute at Delaware on Oct. 19 to put the Phoenix in a position to make the CAA Championships.

Doherty, Wichmann and Christopher all earned a spot on the CAA All-Rookie Team. After missing the majority of her first year, Doherty completed her first full season tallying seven total points on two goals and three assists. She also scored a game-winning goal for the Phoenix in a 2-1 victory at Richmond on Sept. 7. She also finished the year with a goal and two assists during conference play. Wichmann was tied for second on the team with 10 total points after scoring three goals and adding four assists as a true freshman. She made a major impact during conference action with two goals and two assists against CAA foes. Elon’s three selections to the All-Rookie Team was the most of any team and the most by a CAA program since James Madison had three selections in 2013.

2017 All-CAA Women’s Soccer Honors

First Team

Name                      School           Pos.  Cl.    Hometown
Kayla Cappuzzo            Northeastern      F    Sr.    Merrick, N.Y.
Kristin Desmond           Hofstra           F    Sr.    East Northport, N.Y.
Vanessa Kara              Drexel            F    Jr.    Burlington, N.J.
Laura Ortega              Charleston        F    Jr.    Aranjuez, Spain
Elysse Branton            William &  Mary   M    Sr.    Sterling, Va.
Hannah Lopiccolo          Northeastern      M    Sr.    Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
Rachel Moore              William & Mary    M    Sr.    Vienna, Va.
Madeline Anderson         Hofstra           D    Jr.    Westbury, N.Y.
Kiera Hennessy            Drexel            D    Sr.    Danbury, Conn.
Julianne Ross             Northeastern      D    Fr.    Cumberland, R.I.
Christiana Ogunsami       Drexel            GK   Sr.    Cherry Hill, N.J.

Second Team 	  	  	  	 
Name                      School           Pos.  Cl.    Hometown
Haley Crawford            James Madison     F    So.    Port Matilda, Pa.
Hannah Rosenblatt         Northeastern      F    Jr.    Lincoln, Mass.
Sarah Segan               William & Mary    F    R-So.  Fogelsville, Pa.
Maddie Bove               Towson            M    Sr.    West Chester, Pa.
Madison Dunn              Drexel            M    Sr.    Freehold, N.J.
Stephanie Hendrie         James Madison     M    Jr.    Stafford, Va.
Bella Richards            Hofstra           M    Fr.    Auckland, New Zealand
Kendall Ballotti          Elon              D    Sr.    Long Valley, N.J.
Maddy Brill-Edwards       Charleston        D    Jr.    Haverford, Pa.
Kelly Gerdes              Hofstra           D    Sr.    Wantagh, N.Y.
Eve Goulet                Northeastern      D    Jr.    Sutton, Mass.
Taylor Sebolao            Towson            GK   R-Sr.  Scotch Plains, N.J.
Third Team 	  	  	  	 
Name                      School           Pos.  Cl.    Hometown
Meredith Christopher      Elon              F    Fr.    Fort Mill, S.C.
Shaelyn McCarty           Drexel            F    Jr.    Doylestown, Pa.
Serenity Waters           UNCW              F    Sr.    Sharpsburg, Ga
Grace Bennett             Elon              M    Sr.    Rocky River, Ohio
Wilhelmina Hauch-Fausbøll Drexel            M    Sr.    Hellerup Denmark
Molly McGarry             UNCW              M    Fr.    Charlotte, N.C.
Valentina Soares Gache    Northeastern      M    Jr.    Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
Nicole Caston             James Madison     D    Sr.    Downington, Pa.
Lizzy Lazzaro             James Madison     D    So.    Leesburg, Va.
Rio Speller-Drews         Charleston        D    Sr.    Aurora, Ontario
Nathalie Nidetch          Northeastern      GK   Jr.    Hewlett, N.Y.

2017 CAA Women's Soccer All-Rookie Team
Name                      School           Pos.  Cl.    Hometown
Meredith Christopher      Elon              F    Fr.    Fort Mill, S.C.
Ginger Deel               James Madison     F    Fr.    Coronado, Calif.
Riley Dixon               Delaware          F    Fr.    San Diego, Calif.
Hannah Doherty            Elon              M    R-Fr.  Crumlin, Northern Ireland
Chelsea Domond            Northeastern      F    Fr.    Stamford, Conn.
Molly McGarry             UNCW              M    Fr.    Charlotte, N.C.
Lucy Porter               Hofstra           M    Fr.    Birmingham, England
Bella Richards            Hofstra           M    Fr.    Auckland, New Zealand
Julianne Ross             Northeastern      D    Fr.    Cumberland, R.I.
Reena Wichmann            Elon              M    Fr.    Bremen, Germany 	  	  	  	 

2017 CAA Player of the Year: Kristin Desmond, Hofstra
2017 CAA Defender of the Year: Madeline Anderson, Hofstra
2017 CAA Rookie of the Year: Meredith Christopher, Elon
2017 CAA Coach of the Year: Simon Riddiough, Hofstra