HADLEY, MA — Williams College senior defender Danielle Sim (Bel Air, Md.) has been named the New England Small College Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
Sim was also a First Team Selection, and was joined on the First Team by teammates Evan Gancedo and Natasha Albaneze. Three Ephs were chosen to the All-NESCAC 2nd Team as well; junior forward Natalie Turner-Wyatt, junior goalkeeper Olivia Barnhill and sophomore forward Alison Lu.
"I cannot be more proud of Dani and this 2017 team for what they have been able to create thus far," said Ephs' head coach Michelyne Pinard said. "This team is a team in every sense of the word and I know I speak for everyone wearing the WWS jersey, we are pleased that Dani and the others on the All NESCAC Teams have the opportunity to represent Williams on behalf of our team."
Sim, a 2016 All-NESCAC First Team performer, is the first defender to garner the honor and the sixth Eph, joining Jill Caterer (1999), Gabrielle Woodson (2007), Brianna Wolfson (2009), Sara Wild (2010), and Kristie Kirshe (2016). Sim anchors an Eph defense that has allowed eight goals this season and owns a 0.43 goals against average. She helped the Ephs (16-1-1) win their eighth NESCAC Women's Soccer Championship with a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 4 Tufts. Williams earned the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and will host a NCAA Regional for the second straight season.
"The team is thrilled to have Dani Sim receive the Player of the Year award," Pinard said. "It is a testament to all things Williams soccer because she epitomizes our core values and stands for the things we hold most dear to our program. She has committed herself to becoming her best self, inspiring her teammates and coaches with her work throughout the year, she competes with an intensity and fire on game days and although quiet by nature, she has learned to communicate urgently, intensely and loudly on the field and in caring and productive ways off the field."
Sim began her soccer career at Williams as a forward but was moved to the back her first year. The transition to the back was slowed by illness that first season, but her commitment to the change showed in her sophomore season.
"By her junior year she became the very best individual defender I've ever had the opportunity to coach and she has evolved as a senior to being the best athlete, competitor, defender and organizer this program and potentially the league has ever seen," Pinard noted. "Hence, I believe, the reason she was recognized by the coaches across the league as the player of the year."
Albaneze (forward) and Gancedo (midfielder) joined Sim as the other Ephs selected to the All-NESCAC First Team. Albaneze, who is recognized with an All-NESCAC honor for the first time, has dished out a league-best 10 assists and is second on Williams in scoring with 18 points. Three of her four goals this season were game-winners. Gancedo was an All-NESCAC Second Team honoree in 2016. She has started every match for the Ephs in the midfield and contributed four goals and nine points.
Turner-Wyatt is third on the Ephs in scoring with 6 goals and 5 assists for a total of 17 points. Both her goals and assists totals are second on the club. Lu leads the Ephs in scoring with 22 points points and nine goals. Three of her nine tallies are of the game-winning variety, including the deciding tally in overtime of Sunday's NESCAC Championship win over Tufts. Barnhill has started 16 of the Ephs' 18 games in goal and allowed only seven scores to date. She compiled an .841 save percentage and a 0.47 goals against average, which leads the conference.