ALL-CONFERENCE: Leighty Leads List of Five Bruins with All-NWC Accolades
NEWBERG, Ore. - Defender Melissa Leighty has been named to the All-Northwest Conference Women’s Soccer First Team, headlining a group of five George Fox University players who have been accorded All-Conference recognition of one kind or another for 2010 as voted on by the league’s nine coaches.
Besides Leighty, four other Bruins received honorable mention for All-NWC honors. Defender/midfielder Nicole Akiu and forward Kirsten Cardwell were each honored for the fourth time, while forward Melanie Gaither and goalkeeper Alyssa Montero were cited for the first time.
Leighty, a senior from Canby, Ore., was one of only four Bruins to start all 20 George Fox games this fall. One of this year’s team co-captains, she brought a strong leg, a sprinter’s speed, and a good head for the game to the Bruins’ back line, usually playing sweeper as the last defender before the keeper. As the anchor in the Bruins’ defensive line, she helped the team tie for fifth in the conference in shutouts with four, finish fifth in goals-against average at 1.58 per game, and come in sixth in goals allowed with 33. Offensively, she took six shots this season, four on goal.
A four-year starter for the Bruins, Leighty appeared in 75 games in her career, taking 21 shots and recording two assists for two points. She was named Second Team All-Conference at defender as a freshman, and honorable mention All-Conference as a sophomore.
Akiu, a senior from Honolulu, Hawai’i, also started all 20 Bruin games this season, taking 21 shots with seven on goal. She scored one goal in a 2-0 win at Whitman College, and had one assist on the first goal of an eventual 2-1 win against Evergreen State College. She received honorable mention once for Northwest Conference Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week this season.
Another four-year starter, Akiu played in 71 games in her career, with 83 shots, six goals, and 11 assists for 23 points. On the George Fox all-time lists, she tied for ninth in career assists. A versatile athlete who played just about everywhere on the field, she was Second Team All-NWC at midfielder as a freshman and at forward as a sophomore, and First Team All-Conference at defender as a junior.
Cardwell, a senior from Springfield, Ore., also started all 20 George Fox games this year. She was second on the team in goals with four and points with nine, and was third with 30 shots and nine shots on goal. One of the team’s co-captains this season, she led the team and tied for eighth in the conference with two game-winning goals, in a 2-1 win over Evergreen State and a 1-0 win over Pacific University. She received honorable mention for Northwest Conference Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week three times this fall.
Also a four-year starter at both forward and midfielder, Cardwell appeared in 76 games in her career, taking 150 shots with 26 goals and 10 assists for 62 points. On the George Fox all-time lists, she finished tied for fifth in career goals, tied for 12th in assists, and is sixth in points. She was honorable mention All-NWC at midfielder as a freshman and a junior, and First Team All-Conference at forward as a sophomore.
Gaither, a sophomore from Vancouver, Wash., played as a freshman at California Baptist University before joining the Bruins this year. She appeared in 18 games this season, all starts, and became a primary scoring threat, leading the Bruins in shots (27), shots on goal (17), goals (5), assists (4), and points (14). She tied for sixth in the conference in assists and points, and tied for ninth in goals. She had two goals in one game, including the game-winner, in a 3-2 victory over Lewis & Clark College, and assisted on both goals in a 2-0 win at Whitman. She received honorable mention twice for Northwest Conference Offensive Student-Athlete of the Week.
Montero, a freshman from Hermosa Beach, Calif., appeared in 17 games as a keeper, including 12 starts, with a 3-9-4 record. She made 102 saves, an average of 6.00 per game, while allowing 26 goals, with a .797 save percentage and 1.69 goals-against average. In conference stats, she was second in saves, tied for second in save percentage, third in saves per game, and eighth in goals-against average. She posted her first career shutout in a 2-0 win at Whitman. She was Bruin Athletic Association Athlete of the Week and NWC Defensive Student-Athlete of the Week for Aug. 30-Sept. 5, and honorable mention for NWC weekly honors one other time.
George Fox went 5-11-4 overall in 2010 and tied for seventh in the conference at 4-10-2 with Whitman.
Emily Fellows of Linfield College was named the 2010 Northwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year, Serwaah Fordjour of the league champion University of Puget Sound was named the NWC Defensive Player of the Year, and Randy Hanson of Puget Sound was named the NWC Coach of the Year.
The complete list of First Team, Second Team, and honorable mention honorees for the 2010 All-Northwest Conference women’s soccer teams is available on line at the NWC web site at http://www.nwcsports.com/sports/wsoc/2010-11/news/allnwc.