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Jan. 15, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's soccer head coach Erica Walsh has been named Soccer America National Coach of the Year, announced on Tuesday morning. Walsh becomes the third ever National Coach of the Year in program history. Pat Farmer was named NSCAA National Coach of the Year in 1999 while Paula Wilkins won the same award in 2005.
Joining Walsh on the awards slate was senior midfielder Christine Nairn (Arnold, Md.), who was named a First Team All-American by Soccer America, and Maya Hayes (West Orange, N.J.). Additionally, freshmen Raquel Rodriguez (San Jose, Costa Rica) and Mallory Weber (Novi, Mich.) have been named to the freshmen team.
Winners of 15-straight Big Ten titles, Walsh helped Penn State post its second-straight 20-win season and advanced to the College Cup Title for the first time in program history. The Nittany Lions appearance in the championship game was just the second appearance by a Big Ten school in the national championship, as Wisconsin reached it in 1991. Walsh was also named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the second time of her career this past season.
Nairn earned her first ever Big Ten Midfielder of the Year and first team NSCAA All-American honor, was a finalist for this year's M.A.C. Hermann Trophy. Nairn finished her career second on the all-time assists list in program history and doubled her career goal total this season. The senior scored the emotional golden goal against Florida State in the national semifinals. Hayes, who earned her second-straight Big Ten Forward of the Year honor, was also a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy. The junior was a big offensive addition to the Nittany Lion lineup once she returned from the U-20 World Cup where she scored four goals in helping USA to a gold medal.
A unanimous Big Ten Freshman of the Year selection, Rodriguez finished tied for fifth in the conference in assists. Taking the majority of the Nittany Lion corner kicks this season, Rodriguez's seven assists in Big Ten play led the conference. Additionally joining Rodriguez on the freshman team is Weber, who finished third on the team with 13 goals and 30 points in her rookie year.
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