HADLEY, MA — Senior forward Kristi Kirshe was named the New England Small College Player of the Year Thursday. Kirshe earns Player of the Year honors for the first time and is the fourth Eph to garner the honor since 2000. Kirshe, also an All-NESCAC First Team for the third straight season, is a key cog in a potent Williams offense that has scored 46 goals this season. She ranks third in the NESCAC in scoring with 26 points and leads the league in assists (12).
Williams led all teams with six all-NESCAC picks.
"It is wonderful to have six members of our team recognized by other coaches because it is a testament to the entire team," Ephs' head coach Michelyne Pinard said. "We have one of the most dynamic soccer teams in the history of Williams women's soccer and that is a result of everyone working so hard to create a training environment that pushes each of us to be at our very best every day, which lends itself to us all evolving as competitors, players and a team throughout the season and their careers."
Williams senior Audrey Thomas landed on the First Team for the for the third consecutive season and is joined by junior defender Danielle Sim. Thomas has registered 15 points in 13 games and ranks third on the team with six goals, half of which have been game-winners. Sim has started 17 games and chipped in one goal, while anchoring a defensive unit that has surrendered just six goals on the year and leads the NESCAC in goals against average (0.35).
Senior back/midfielder/forward Katie Wardlaw, junior midfielder Evan Gancedo and sophomore goalkeeper Olivia Barnhill were all named to the All-NESCAC Second Team. Wardlaw has played exceptionally well in the back for the Ephs but also scored 2 goals and added an assist for 5 points this season. Gancedo has started al 17 games in the midfield for the Ephs and has career highs in goals (3), assists (3) and points (9).
Barnhill has started all 17 games in goal for the Ephs and has compiled a
.891 save percentage and a 0.42 goals against average in over 1,294 minutes. She has 7 shutouts this season.
"The joy that all six of these players exude when competing while wearing purple and gold is contagious," Pinard said. "I'm happy for them and very proud of their deep understanding that our team is so completely committed to the idea of team success before individual awards. The recognition by outside entities for their individual efforts deeply humble them and they are certainly proud to represent the entire team in this moment. They realize that success in soccer stems from an entire team working toward something much bigger than any individual could accomplish on their own and their recognition of this is what makes our team great and so much fun to be a part of day in and day out."
Williams will take on Elms College Saturday at 11 a.m. in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.