BOSTON - Michael Jackson, the eighth-year head coach of the University of New Hampshire women's soccer team, was named Coach of the Year and Kristen Ouellette (Weatogue, Conn.) was honored as Goalkeeper of the Year, the America East conference announced Thursday. Five other Wildcats received all-conference honors.
Chiara Best (Rose Valley, Pa.), Debbie Newman (Ashford, Conn.), Cyndi Poehner (Greenwich, Conn.) and Ana Tobon (Philadelphia, Pa.) were America East All-Conference Second Team honorees. Newman, as well as Jackie Wishoski (Malden, Mass.), was voted on the All-Rookie Team. Angeline Alexakos (Bedford, N.H.) was given Honorable Mention.
UNH (10-6-1, 5-2-1 America East) is the No. 2 seed in the America East Championships, which are Nov. 8-10 at the University of Hartford's Al-Marzook Field. The Wildcats open the tourney with a semifinal game against No. 3 Stony Brook on Nov. 8 (3:30 p.m.). The title game is Nov. 10 (noon).
It is the second time in his eight-year tenure that Jackson has been bestowed the Coach of the Year honor. He also won the award in 1998. Jackson has guided UNH, which was ranked fourth in the 2002 Preseason Coaches' Poll, to five appearances in the America East Championships.
Ouellette, a two-time Player of the Week selection in 2002, leads America East in both goals-against-average (0.86) and save percentage (.872). Those overall impressive numbers, which also include four shutouts and an 8-3-0 record, improve to a 0.33 GAA and a .947 save percentage in eight conference games.
Poehner, a senior back, has excelled in her role this season as the leader of the team's defensive effort. She is also a weapon on offense, as her counterattacks and dangerous services into the box create scoring opportunities for her teammates. Poehner has one goal - the game-winning tally vs. Colorado - and one assist this season.
Tobon, a junior, has started all 17 games and is a strong two-way player out of the midfield. She scored a goal in consecutive games against Temple and Brown and recorded an assist against both Providence and Holy Cross to record six points this season.
Best, a forward who missed the first eight games due to a preseason injury after leading the Wildcats in goals, assists and points as a freshman last year, has scored three goals in nine games this season. She scored the game-winning goal in her 2002 debut against Boston University and also netted the game-winner against Northeastern.
Newman has been one of UNH's impressive rookies. She immediately stepped into a starting role in the season opener vs. Georgia Southern and has started all 17 matches. She recorded her first career point with an assist at Albany and also had an assist vs. Holy Cross; the 'Cats won both games.
Wishoski made an immediate impact on UNH's front line and she leads the team in goals (five) and points (11). A two-time recipient of the conference's Rookie of the Week award, Wishoski scored the game-winning goal in the team's 1-0 victory against Hartford.
Alexakos, a senior midfielder, ranks second on the team in both goals (four) and points (nine). She scored two goals, including the game-winning goal, against Albany and also netted the game-winning goal against Brown. She is the only Wildcat who was on the 1998 conference runner-up team.