Six Ephs earn All-NESCAC honors

Six Ephs earn All-NESCAC honors

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- A trio of Ephs received First Team All-NESCAC honors Thursday, and another trio from the 16-1-1 Williams College women's soccer team were selected Second Team all-conference.

Sophomore forwards Kristi Kirshe and Audrey Thomas and junior midfielder Mai Mitsuyama were named First Team All-NESCAC while senior defender Lilly Wellenbach, senior goalkeeper Hannah Van Wetter and senior back/midfielder Alison Magruder were the Second Team All-NESCAC selections. 

Kirshe and Thomas each have 12 goals this season, tied for both the conference and team lead. Kirshe has 28 points due to four assists and Thomas 26 thanks to two assists. Mitsuyama is a critical part of the Ephs' possession attack. She excels in all areas of the pitch.

"Audrey is so incredibly difficult to handle defensively because she is as quick as any player playing Division III women's soccer," Ephs head coach Michelyne Pinard said. "She has added to that a sense of how to create space for herself in the attacking third that makes her dangerous every time she is on the field.

"The performance at the NESCAC final I think says it all about Kirsh. She's just an incredible athlete and competitor, but what made her so good on the day is her decision making on and off the ball. She has more of that in her and no doubt the NCAA tournament will bring that out and I'm excited to see it!"

Mitsuyama is a critical part of the Ephs' possession attack. She excels in all areas of the pitch.

"Mai thinks the game as well as any player I've ever coached," Pinard noted. "She has done that since day one, but this year she has added a toughness that has allowed her to play at a whole other level.  She is a presence on both sides of the ball and invaluable to helping our team take care of the ball all over the field." 

Wellenbach, Van Wetter and Magruder have all been instrumental in the Ephs' allowing 0.39 goals a game this season. Van Wetter's 0.44 GAA leads the NESCAC and her .851 save percentage is third in the conference.

"Lilly is one of the best athletes I've ever had the chance two work with on a soccer field," Pinard said. "More impressive has been her ability to analyze the game from a defensive perspective which allows her to be our problem solver on the field allowing us to solve things in the moment, rather than wait until half time.

"Hannah is one of the best organizers in game and if you add to that her athleticism, competitiveness and shot stopping ability and you have one of the best goalkeepers in the country."

Magruder, the Ephs' leading scorer a year ago, spent much of the season fortifying the Ephs in the back, but has moved up to the midfield recently and had 9 (3 goals, 3 assists) on the season.

"Asking Ali to move from her forward role to a defensive role didn't make sense to most, but Ali and I both knew she was capable of doing more than just score goals," Pinard said. "She has proved that and more this season as a work horse on the flank who can get endline to endline for almost 90 minutes making her invaluable to our defensive and attacking scheme."


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