Nov. 1, 2012
HAMDEN, Conn. - After capping one of the most successful seasons in recent history, four Villanova women's soccer standouts were named All-BIG EAST selections by the conference office following their annual awards banquet on Thursday evening. Senior Heidi Sabatura (Lawrenceville, N.J.) and junior Taylor Houck (Chalfont, Pa.) were named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team while junior Jami Kranich (Hamden, Conn.) and freshman Emily Damstrom (Short Hills, N.J.) were named to the All-BIG EAST Third Team and All-BIG EAST Rookie Team, respectively.
Four athletes earning all-conference honors matches the most ever in a single season for Villanova - the Wildcats also had four all-league selections during the 2001, 2004 and 2006 seasons. Additionally, the recognition of Sabatura, Houck, Kranich and Damstrom marks the 12th consecutive year Villanova has had at least two All-BIG EAST selections. Since the conference began doling out postseason awards back in 1995 the Wildcats have now had 15 second team honorees, four third-team and nine all-rookie selections.
Sabatura concludes her Villanova career as one of the top offensive performers in program history. In 2012, Sabatura led the team with 14 points via three goals and eight assists while scoring one game-winning goal. The forward also reached a significant milestone on Oct. 19th when she recorded the 28th assist of her career to tie for first place on the Villanova all-time assists list. Her 76 career points place her seventh on the all-time points leaderboard and she has appeared in all 76 games of her career while making 75 starts. In 2009 and 2010, she was also named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team and was the 2009 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year. Off the field, Sabatura was named a 2010 Capital One Academic All-District Second Team selection and is a three-time BIG EAST Academic All-Star.
Houck earns the first postseason BIG EAST accolade of her career after anchoring the Villanova backfield for the third consecutive season. The junior center back was a staple on the Villanova defense and was the Wildcats go-to player on set pieces this season. Houck has appeared in every minute of 44 consecutive games dating back to the 2010 season, and, in 2012, assisted the Wildcats in a milestone 1-0 victory over then-No. 11 Georgetown to help Villanova earn a home contest in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship. Off the field, Houck is a two-time all-conference Academic All-Star.
Kranich earns All-BIG EAST Third Team laurels after being named the 2012 Preseason Co-Goalkeeper of the Year prior to the start of the season. Kranich rejoined the Wildcats following a successful stint with the USA U-20 National Team in the FIFA Women's World Cup and brought home world championship experience to West Campus Soccer Complex. For the season, the junior netminder appeared in eight games while making 37 saves in over 750 minutes in goal. Her .84 goals against average ranks among the lowest in the NCAA while her .841 save percentage helped anchor the Villanova backfield to becoming one of the most potent defenses in the BIG EAST. For her career, Kranich has appeared in 45 games, logged over 4,000 minutes in goal and made 188 saves during her three years on the squad.
Damstrom becomes the ninth all-rookie selection in Villanova history following her breakout freshman season with the Wildcats. The Short Hills, N.J. native will be remembered for her all-important goal against Georgetown on Oct. 19th when she notched the game-winning score to hand GU just their second loss on the season and help the Wildcats secure a home contest in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship. The freshman midfielder also collected another game-winning goal against Providence on Sept. 21st and recorded a season-high six shots against the Friars. For the season, Damstrom appeared in all 19 contest while making 17 starts.
There were six major award winners at the league banquet on Thursday night, with Daphne Corboz of Georgetown being chosen as the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year. Marquette's Ally Miller, Louisville's Charlyn Corral and Syracuse's Brittany Anghel where selected as the Defensive, Midfielder and Goalkeeper of the Year, respectively. Georgetown's Dave Nolan was named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year while the Hoyas also collected the Team Fair Play Award.
The Wildcats concluded the 2012 season with an 7-9-3 overall record and 5-4-1 finish in the BIG EAST and advanced to the first round of the BIG EAST Championship for the first time since 2009.