Becoming just the third player in Northwest Conference history to accomplish the feat, Emily Fellows has been honored for the third time of her career as the NWC Women's Soccer Offensive Player of the Year, as voted upon by the league's head coaches and announced Thursday afternoon.
Ellie Schmidt joined Fellows on the first team, while four additional Wildcats were accorded second team honors and a fifth received honorable mention consideration.
Fellows, who was also tabbed as the conference's top offensive performer in 2012 and 2010, totaled a league-leading 20 goals in 2013, nearly twice as many as the next highest scorer and the second highest single-season tally in Linfield program history and. The junior forward scored in 14 of 19 matches this year, including six multiple-goal contests, and connected for nine game-winning goals, the latter of which ties a club record.
The Wildcats' all-time leading scorer also contributed three assists, raising her career totals to 71 goals and 16 assists for 158 points. Fellows was honored as the conference offensive student-athlete of the week three times in 2013, bringing her weekly award total to 12, while serving as team captain. Among national leaders, she finished tied for the 16th most goals in all of Division III while also ranking in the Top 35 for both goals per game (1.05) and total points (43).
Schmidt, the Northwest Conference assist leader in 2013, made her first career appearance on the all-league squad. The junior was one of just five Wildcats to start every match, dishing out eight assists and scoring six goals. One of her biggest goals of the season came in a road victory against Pacific, when she scored with seven seconds left on the clock to help the Wildcats avoid overtime.
Midfielders Lindzee Baker, Marisa Specht and Molly McCool along with forward Emma Vukic were voted to the all-conference second team. It marked the third league honor for Baker, who was a first team honoree in 2012 and an honorable mention in 2011, and the second for Vukic, who landed on the first team as a freshman in 2012.
Baker continued an impressive streak of starting every match of her three-year career, anchoring the Linfield midfield. Defensively, the Wildcats allowed just 19 goals on the year, the third fewest of the league's nine teams. Baker was also a threat on the offensive end of the field; despite not connecting for a goal, she put up 22 shots, including 12 on-target attempts.
Specht finished with the team's fourth highest point total, notching four goals and two assists. The sophomore, who missed much of last season due to injury, started all 18 matches she played in, her best being a one-goal, two-assist performance against Lewis & Clark.
McCool started all 20 matches as a freshman, supplying four goals and one assist. She supplying the game-winning score in Linfield's 1-0 victory over conference champion Puget Sound, and put 52 percent of her 46 shot attempts on target.
Vukic had a relatively quiet year offensively compared to her freshman campaign, but factored heavily into Linfield's dominating offense. The sophomore totaled three goals and four assists, tying with Specht for the fourth most points on the squad, and took on responsibility for the majority of Linfield's 128 corner kicks.
Lauren Pyrch rounded out the Wildcat representation on the all-conference squad, receiving honorable mention consideration. The senior captain started all 20 matches on the back line, limiting opponents to 63 shots on goal, 115 attempts in total. Pyrch also assisted on the game-winning goal in a 3-2 double-overtime victory against Whitworth.
Puget Sound and George Fox took home the league's other top awards, with Randy Hanson being selected by his peers as the NWC Coach of the Year after leading the Loggers to a 12th straight championship and Bruin goalkeeper Alyssa Montero claiming NWC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Linfield finished second in the Northwest Conference team standings for the third consecutive season, posting a 15-4-1 record, including an 11-4-1 mark against league opponents. The ‘Cats were ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Top 25 for seven straight weeks, peaking as the No. 17 club in Division III, and were fourth in the West in the final NCAA regional rankings.