NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Freshman Sophia Maccagnone and sophomore Kelly Mahoney have earned All-Atlantic 10 honors after leading the Butler women's soccer team to a 5-1-3 league record. The all-conference teams were conducted by a voting of the league's 16 head coaches.
Maccagnone, a midfielder from Shelby Township, Mich., was named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year in addition to earning first team all-conference recognition. Mahoney, a defender from Buffalo Grove, Ill., was a second-team honoree and was named Academic All-Atlantic 10.
"We are so proud of and happy for Sophia and Kelly. It is a great honor for them to be recognized when competing in such a strong conference and against such talented players," head coach Tari St. John said.
"It is also testament to the accomplishment of the team this year. As a new member of the A-10, we were not picked to make the conference tournament. To only lose one game during the regular season shows the team achieved a high level of consistency and this was spearheaded by Sophie and Kelly. Both are incredibly competitive and set such high standards for themselves. They always give everything they have for the team and put the team before themselves. This individual recognition proves that not only is their selflessness valued within our group, but also noticed by the rest of the league."
Maccagnone scored 24 points in the regular season (11g, 2a), tallying six game-winning goals. She and was among the league leaders in goals, points and shots. Maccagnone had three contests where she scored two goals, including Butler 2-1 win over Temple. She also had three other contests where she attempted nine shots, keeping Butler on the offensive attack.
"Sophie is truly a pleasure to watch, both in training and in games. She sees the game very differently than most players and plays with a refreshing freedom and confidence," St. John said. "She has tools to solve problems in many different ways and during our preseason many of our players were unsure what to make of it. They openly admitted that during all of their years of club, high school and college soccer, they had never played with anyone who attempted the things Sophie does - let alone successfully pull it off.
"Once they realized what Sophie was capable of and how she would fit in to our system, things really clicked for her and the team. Her incredible numbers speak for themselves, but more importantly her tireless work rate, enthusiasm for the game and desire to help her team however she can is what makes her so valuable to the group."
Mahoney was part of BU's back line that yielded just 14 goals this season. Butler owns a 0.74 goals-against average, the top mark in the Atlantic 10. BU also leads the league with 10 shutouts. The sophomore defender was also a threat to score, finding the net three times. She scored key goals to help Butler to victories over Dayton and Xavier this year.
"Kelly is a leader of this group and plays with great composure in only her sophomore year. She epiomizes what it means to be the modern-day center back," St. John said. "Not only is she fantastic in the air and reads the game well, but she is a true soccer player who is comfortable with the ball at her feet and building our attacks from the back. Her desire to improve her game and willingness to do the extra work to achieve her goals is second to none. Her discipline on the field is also matched by her dedication in the classroom. So we are delighted that she has also received recognition for this by making the all-academic team."
La Salle, the regular season champion, saw three players earn first-team status and the Explorers' Paul Royal was voted Atlantic 10 Coach of The Year. Dayton's Colleen Williams and La Salle's Courtney Niemiec were offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively.
Butler (11-4-4, 5-1-3) placed fourth in the A-10 standings and will play St. Bonaventure in the quarterfinal of the Atlantic 10 Women's Soccer Championship, hosted by Rhode Island. That match is set for Thursday, Nov. 1 at 1:30 p.m.