Northover Named MVC Player of the Year; Seven Redbirds Named All-Conference
Nov. 8, 2007
EVANSVILLE, Ind. - The Illinois State women's soccer team was presented with the regular season championship trophy at the 2007 State Farm MVC Women's Soccer Championship Banquet on Thursday, Nov. 8, but they also took home some more hardware at the event. Senior midfielder Yvonne Northover was named the Valley Player of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection. Illinois State was also the recipient of the Valley Coaching Staff of the Year award and had six other players received all-conference recognition.
Joining Northover on the All-Valley First Team was sophomore midfielder Raquel Rattray. A trio of sophomores received All-Valley accolades with midfielder Danielle Mutters and goalkeeper Katie Grill-Donovan being named to the second team and midfielder Ammanda Wisniewski earning honorable mention recognition. ISU also had two members of the Valley All-Valley Freshman Team for the second-consecutive year in midfielder Bethany Brown and forward Alyssa Schulz.
Illinois State's seven all-conference selections were the second-most behind Evansville who had nine.
"This night was a tremendous honor for our players and our program," said head coach Drew Roff. "It was very special to have so many players be named all-conference and have Yvonne win player of the year. All of the players have worked extremely hard throughout the season and deserve all of this recognition. We are very focused now on playing well this weekend and hopefully winning a conference tournament trophy as well."
Northover leads the Redbirds with 20 points, seven goals and six assists. Her totals in all three of those categories rank in the top-seven on the ISU single-season lists. Her five goals and 11 points in Valley games were the best in the conference. Northover recorded a point in every Redbird win this season and had five game-winning goals. The only player in the conference to receive the Brine MVC Offensive Player of the Week award twice, Northover is a three-time all-conference selection.
Northover is the first Valley Player of the Year from Illinois State since 2005 when Heather Forsyth received the honor. Forsyth was a two-time player of the year recipient, winning the award as a sophomore in 2003, and Annie Wayland was the first Redbird to receive the honor in 2001.
Rattray has appeared in every game this season with 13 starts. She picked up her first point of the year with an assist against Northern Iowa. She was a key contributor to a Redbird defense that allowed just 15 goals on the season, the lowest mark in the Valley.
Mutters was another leader of the Redbird defense, appearing in every game with 14 starts. She helped the Redbirds post a 0.88 goals against average and hold opponents to one goal or less in 13 games, including seven shutouts.
Grill-Donovan started every game for the Redbirds this season and played all but 19:50 in goal. She posted a 0.90 goals against average and a .812 save percentage, both top-10 single-season marks at ISU. She posted six shutouts on the season and allowed just three goals in conference play. In just her third-career start, Grill-Donovan made a career-high eight saves in a shutout of Central Michigan.
Wisniewski has appeared in 14 games this season with 13 starts. She is third on the team in goals (4) and points (9). Against Central Michigan, Wisniewski recorded the fourth hat trick in school history to lead the Redbirds to a 3-0 victory. She was an All-Valley Freshman Team selection last season, becoming the eighth player in school history to earn all-freshman and all-conference honors in consecutive years.
Brown has appeared in 15 games this season with eight starts, the most of any freshman. She leads Redbird freshmen with one goal and three points. She scored her first-career goal in a 2-0 win over Indiana State and had an assist against Creighton. Schulz has appeared in every game with six starts. Her first-career point came on an assist against Evansville.
Roff, assistant coach Shawn Mecchi and graduate assistant coach Shauna Daugherty received the Valley Coaching Staff of the Year award after leading the Redbirds to their first regular season conference title since 2003 and their first undefeated conference season since 2001. The award was renamed last year to recognize the entire coaching staff as opposed to just the head coach. Former Illinois State head coach Pete Kowall won the award twice in his career in 1998 and 2001.
The Redbirds hope to add another trophy to their 2007 collection before they leave Evansville. The top-seeded `Birds take on No. 4 Drake in the first State Farm MVC Tournament semifinal on Friday, Oct. 9, at 5 p.m. from Black Beauty Field.