November 2, 2011

VCU GARNERS NINE ALL-CAA WOMEN’S SOCCER AWARDS

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Six Rams collected nine different All-Colonial Athletic Association women's soccer honors Wednesday night at the conference's annual awards banquet on the campus of William & Mary.  VCU took home three of the four major awards as junior Karol Sanchez (pictured, below) was named CAA Defensive Player of the Year, freshman Cristin Granados received CAA Rookie of the Year honors and Co-Head Coaches Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak and Tim Sahaydak were named Co-CAA Coaches of the Year.

In addition to the league's major award winners, Sanchez and junior goalkeeper Kristin Carden received First Team All-CAA honors, while Granados was named to both the second team and All-Rookie squad.  Sophomore Courtney Conrad garnered third team recognition and freshman Maren Johansen received all-rookie accolades.

The Sahaydaks (pictured, right) received their first CAA Coach of the Year honor after guiding VCU to a second-place regular season finish, the school's best since 2005.  After starting the year with several hard-luck, one-goal losses, the duo led the Rams to a 6-0-3 finish during the final nine matches of the season, including seven shutouts and just two goals against.  The Sahaydaks shared the honor this year with William & Mary head coach John Daly.

Sanchez, meanwhile, is the second straight and third overall VCU player to be named Defensive Player of the Year.  She helped anchor a VCU backline that surrendered only 14 goals and posted nine shutouts all year.  The Rams were particularly strong in CAA play, posting a league-best 0.43 goals against average versus conference foes.  VCU found its groove during the last month of the season, reeling off nine-straight games without a loss, including six victories in conference play.  The Rams allowed just two goals during that stretch and held an opponent scoreless seven times.  Earlier this season, VCU went 532 minutes without allowing a goal, which was the second-longest streak in school history.  Sanchez' only goal of the season was the game-winner in VCU's 2-0 victory over James Madison in the regular season finale.

Granados (pictured, right) became the first VCU player to ever receive CAA Rookie of the Year honors.  The freshman midfielder tied for the team lead with six goals and 13 points this season and topped the Rams with three game-winning goals.  Five of Granados' six goals came in CAA play, including game-winning scores against UNCW, Georgia State and Old Dominion.

Continuing with VCU's defense build, Carden has been a mainstay in the net during her first season with the Rams.  She finished second in the league with a 0.70 goals against average, while posting 65 saves and eight shutouts.  She also played a key role in VCU's 532-minute scoreless streak in early October and allowed one goal or less in all but three games this season.

Conrad, meanwhile, tied Granados with a team-leading six goals and 13 points, while converting a pair of game-winning scores.  The Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native also led the Rams with 59 shots with 28 on goal. 

Johansen received all-rookie honors after tallying three goals and two assists.  She also scored the game-winner in a 1-0 triumph over UC Riverside.

VCU received a first-round bye after securing the No. 2 seed in the CAA Tournament.  The Rams will face the winner of No. 3 George Mason/No. 6 Northeastern in the semifinals at 5 p.m., on Friday at Albert-Daly Field in Williamsburg, Va.

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