NEW LONDON, Conn.--On the heels of capturing the program's first New England Small College Athletic Conference Team Championship in school history, four Camels have been honored on the All-NESCAC team today.
Connecticut College senior central midfielder Astrid Kempainen of Chazy, N.Y. has been recognized as the NESCAC Women's Soccer Player of the Year. Michelle Medina of Hartford, Conn. was feted as the Conference Rookie of the Year while Head Coach Norm Riker was named the Coach of the Year.
Sophomore center back Cathy Higgins of West Hartford, Conn. joined Kempainen as a First-Team selection while Michelle Medina garnered second team accolades.
Kempainen tallied 19 points with a league-best nine assists during her senior campaign. Three of her five goals on the season have been game-winning markers. She joins former Camel central midfielder Christa Thoeresz '05 (2002) as the only Connecticut College players to garner Player of the Year accolades.
In the classroom, Kempainen has excelled as a Dean's List Student carrying the challenging major of biology. She was recently honored on the CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District Team and has advanced to the national ballot with selections for the Academic All-America Teams slated to be announced Friday, November 21.
Michelle Medina was named NESCAC Rookie of the Year. The forward ranks third among all NESCAC players with 22 points, while being tied for third in the league with six assists and ranking fourth with eight goals. As a result of her efforts, Medina also received Second Team recognition. She is the fourth Camel player to receive the award along with Christa Thoeresz (2001), Claire Linden (2004) and teammate Annie Higgins (2013).
Sophomore Cathy Higgins played a major role in the success of a Camel defense that has allowed 10 goals and compiled 11 shutouts in 18 games.
Riker earned NESCAC Coach of the Year honors for the first time in his four years at the helm. After missing the NESCAC Championship last year, the Camels jumped up the standings this season to earn the No. 3 seed. It has been a record-breaking season for Connecticut College, as it claimed the first conference championship in program history and first NESCAC team title in school history across all sports to go along with a program-record 15 wins.
"This is a richly deserved honor for Norm," said Fran Shields, the Katherine Wenc Christoffers '45 Director of Athletics and Chair of Physical Education at Connecticut College. "He has systematically rebuilt our program over the past four years with his tireless work ethic, vision, and his development of a success culture. We had a feeling that Norm would continue at Connecticut College his track record of building programs and achieving regional and national success. He is a leader in our department and on our campus and our student-athletes are rising to his level of expectation for their success in the classroom and on the field."
The Camels will visit Montclair State University Saturday night for a first round matchup in the NCAA Championship against Swarthmore College. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Garden State.
If Connecticut College advances past the first round, they will meet the winner of the Montclair State University/Lesley University matchup for a 5:00 p.m. game Sunday.