Jami Kranich Named BIG EAST Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year
Aug. 8, 2012
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Junior goalkeeper Jami Kranich (Hamden, Conn.) earned a nod as Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year and Villanova was picked to finish fifth in the National Division this season in an annual poll of league head coaches. Kranich, who will represent the United States in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan, was one of two top goalkeepers chosen for the preseason honor.
Last season was a successful one for Kranich as a sophomore for the Wildcats and she played every minute of all 19 games while ranking eighth in the BIG EAST with 75 saves. In contests against league opponents she was tied for seventh in saves (46) and ranked 10th in saves per game (4.18).
The strong 2011 campaign for Kranich has opened up a number of opportunities for her during the past nine months. She was named to the U.S. roster for the U-20 World Cup after participating in six training camps with the team from December through June, including spending two weeks in Japan earlier this summer as the U-20 squad prepared for World Cup play.
When Kranich returns to Villanova following the World Cup she will be one of seven returning starters from last season, when the Wildcats finished with an 8-9-2 overall record and a 4-7 mark in BIG EAST action. Villanova was strong out of the gates with a 4-0-2 record through its first six games in 2011 and then went 4-3 down the stretch, including a win over a nationally-ranked West Virginia squad that had won 17 consecutive league games.
Among the other top returnees for the Wildcats are senior forward Heidi Sabatura (Lawrenceville, N.J.) and sophomore midfielder Stephanie Myers (Frisco, Texas). The duo combined for 13 goals and 12 assists last season and each has received All-BIG EAST accolades during their careers. Sabatura has been a two-time all-conference honoree and Myers garnered a spot on the All-Rookie team as a redshirt freshman last season.
The top five teams in each BIG EAST division qualify for the postseason BIG EAST Championship and Villanova's preseason prediction of fifth in its division means that league head coaches are eyeing a return to the conference tournament for the Wildcats, who have played in the postseason 14 times in the 19-year history of BIG EAST Women's Soccer.
Notre Dame received 12 of a possible 15 first-place votes and was picked to finish atop the National Division standings after a third place finish last season. Louisville (two first-place votes), Georgetown and Rutgers (one first-place vote) also came in ahead of Villanova while the bottom three teams were Seton Hall, DePaul and Cincinnati.
In the American Division the BIG EAST coaches chose Marquette to win the division, followed by Connecticut, USF, Providence, Syracuse, St. John's and Pittsburgh.
Christine Exeter of Louisville was voted the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and Marquette's Ally Miller was named the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Kranich and Brittany Anghel of Syracuse shared Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year honors.
The Preseason All-BIG EAST team consisted of Kranich, Anghel, Exeter, Miller, Daphne Corboz (Georgetown), Jonelle Filigno (Rutgers), Riley Houle (Connecticut), Maegan Kelly (Marquette), Mandy Laddish (Notre Dame), Amy Marron (St. John's), Danielle Schulmann (Connecticut) and Demi Stokes (USF).
Villanova opens the 2012 season on Friday, August 17 with a 4 p.m. game against American at the West Campus Soccer Complex.