Victoria Laino named NESCAC Player of the Year; Nkem Iregbulem First Team selection

Victoria Laino named NESCAC Player of the Year; Nkem Iregbulem First Team selection

HADLEY, Mass. — Williams College junior midfielder Victoria Laino (Charlotte, Vt.) has been selected as the New England Small College Athletic Conference Women's Soccer Player of the Year while senior back Nkem Iregbulem (Torrance, CA) was chosen as a All-NESCAC First Team selection, it was announced today. 

Laino also garnered a spot on the All-NESCAC First Team to earn the first all-conference honor of her career. She is the third Eph in four years to be named NESCAC Player of the Year and the seventh overall since 1999, joining Jill Caterer (1999), Gabrielle Woodson (2007), Brianna Wolfson (2009), Sara Wild (2010), Kristie Kirshe (2016), and Danielle Sim (2017).
 
"Victoria is such a presence on both sides of the ball," Ephs' head coach Michelyne Pinard said. "She's commanding, competitive and tactically savvy. She pushes our team to play with confidence and purpose. Our team knows that she has been a rock in the middle of the field for us all year and I'm thrilled that other coaches have recognized her impact on our team and the league in general."
 
A midfielder, Laino leads Williams in points (18) and goals (8) and has recorded two assists. She registered 12 points and five goals in NESCAC games this season to lead Williams to the No. 3 seed in the NESCAC Championship. The Ephs reached the semifinals of the NESCAC Tournament and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Williams, the two-time defending national champion, travels to MIT for the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament this weekend.
 
Iregbulem has started 16 games for the Ephs this season in the back and has been a regular there since her sophomore season. Her defensive prowess has helped the Ephs limit opponents to 18 goals thus far this season. 
 
"Nkem is an absolutely incredible defender," Pinard said. "At first glance, it seems like it is her speed and quickness that are the dominating characteristics of her play, but her tactical awareness has evolved to a very sophisticated level over the last two years, which, as her coach is wonderful to see, given that she transitioned to a defensive role upon her arrival to Williams."
 
The Ephs (9-5-2) will take on Gettysburg (13-4-1) at M.I.T. in the first round of the Div. III NCAA Tournament Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
 
'
Ephs down Castleton 7-0
September 22, 2019 Ephs down Castleton 7-0
Ephs top Tufts 2-1
September 7, 2019 Ephs top Tufts 2-1