Jan. 23, 2002
BERKELEY, Calif. - Forward-midfielder Leslie Osborne and defender Jessica Ballweg, critical components of NCAA champion Santa Clara's success, were selected to Soccer America's 11-woman All-Freshman Team.
Canadian national team standout Christine Sinclair, a dominant force up front while leading Portland to the NCAA women's soccer final four, has been selected the 2001 Freshman of the Year by the magazine.
Ballweg, a right back and a U.S. U-19 defender, set up the decisive goals in the Broncos' quarterfinal, semifinal and championship-game victories. She had four goals and six assists, with strikes against Wake Forest, Stanford and Portland, and started 25 games in a defensive unit that shut out 14 opponents and surrendered fewer than five shots per game.
The Broncos had a versatile attacker in Osborne, a defender with the U.S. U-19 team. She scored 13 goals with 17 assists, tallied in the NCAA semifinal and assisting on the lone goal in the title-game win over North Carolina, and was selected to the College Cup all-star team. Osborne's primary contributions are more difficult to quantify: Possessing expert touch, a superb sense of space, strength in the air and the ability to hold the ball and dissect defenses with a pass, she was a critical component of the Broncos' championship run.
Others honored are Notre Dame defender Candace Chapman, Tennessee midfielder Keeley Dowling, Virginia forward Lindsay Gusick, Texas A&M forward Linsey Johnson, Rutgers midfielder Carli Lloyd, North Carolina midfielder Sara Randolph, Auburn goalkeeper Megan Rivera and Texas forward Kelly Wilson.
Sinclair, who had scored 20 goals in 24 matches for Canada's national team before pulling on a Portland jersey, was the No. 3 scorer in NCAA Division I with 23 goals and eight assists. Nearly half her total pulled the Pilots even or ahead, and a late surge -- 16 goals in the final 12 games -- carried them into the College Cup semifinals.
Sinclair, the only freshman among Soccer America's College Women's MVPs, is the second Portland star selected Freshman of the Year. Tiffeny Milbrett was honored in 1990. Former Pilots men's star Conor Casey, now playing in Germany, was selected men's Freshman of the Year in 1999.
Previous women's Freshmen of the Year include Kristine Lilly, Tisha Venturini, Cindy Parlow, Anne Makinen and Christie Welsh. Welsh, a Penn State striker, was one of Soccer America's 2001 MVPs.
Thje women's selections are featured in the magazine's Feb. 4 issue.