|(l. to r.) Forward of the Year Caitlin Mertens, Midfielder of the Year Gabby Gillis, Defender of the Year DJ Cole and Goalkeeper of the Year Emily Janiszewski.
Photos (l. to r.): Hannah Grasberger/Lynchburg Sports, Benjamin Leistensnider/Christopher Newport University Athletics, Messiah College Athletics, SUNY Geneseo Athletics
It’s become evident that we at D3soccer.com believe in the adage “better late than never”!
A mere two months after the new men's and women's champions were crowned, the ninth annual D3soccer.com All-America teams are ready for release.
The women’s teams were chosen by D3soccer.com staff, Division III soccer coaches and sports information directors from a field of almost 600 nominations. Thirty-three players representing twenty-four schools and nineteen different conferences have been named to the three All-America teams. Moreover, three schools—New York University, MIT, and UW-La Crosse—are represented on our women's teams for the first time.
Eight of this year's honorees are repeat selections, and three are being honored for the third straight season: Washington U. midfielder Maggie Crist, Chicago midfielder Jenna McKinney, and Messiah defender DJ Cole. Additionally, Cole is our first woman to repeat as one of our players of the year and gives Messiah its fifth player of the year honor, now one more than John Hopkins and William Smith. The class distribution—nineteen seniors, ten juniors and four sophomores—matches the nine-year average for the awards. For the fourth time, and the first time since 2014, all four players of the year are seniors.
The D3soccer.com Forward of the Year is Lynchburg senior Caitlin Mertens. She is the second Hornet to earn the honor; the first was Angela Bosco, who won the award following the 2014 season. The Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Year had one of the most productive seasons in program history finishing near the top of Division III in offensive statistics with marks of 29 goals (second nationally), 68 points (also second), and 10 game winners (third). Her 2.62 points per game were also top 20 nationally. Her 29 goals and 68 points in a single season both rank second in Lynchburg's all-time records. She scored the deciding goal in half of the Hornets 20 victories, and was consistently on the Hornet stat sheet, with a goal or assist in 22 of Lynchburg's 26 matches. Mertens’ offensive prowess led Lynchburg to the Elite 8 after the Hornets advanced past Messiah on penalties following a 2-2 draw in the Sweet 16. In that match, Mertens scored both Lynchburg goals and netted a penalty kick in the shootout.
Senior Gabby Gillis of Christopher Newport is the D3soccer.com Midfielder of the Year. She repeated as the Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Year, leading the Captains to a program-best 21-2-0 record (0.941 winning percentage, fourth in Division III) that culminated in their first trip to the Final Four. Gillis reached career-best numbers with 15 goals, 11 assists, and 3 game winners. Her 41 points placed her third on the CNU all-time single-season list. With Gillis roaming the midfield, the Captains were dominant on both offense and defense, posting impressive team averages of 3.41 goals per game and 0.56 goals against. Both the team’s goal differential of 2.85 and the goals-per-game average were top 10 in Division III. Along with her many awards for performance on the pitch, Gillis, an outstanding example of Division III student-athlete philosophy, was honored as the United Soccer Coaches 2018 National Scholar Player of the Year for Division III.
Messiah College senior DJ Cole has earned her second-consecutive D3soccer.com Defender of the Year award. With Cole’s leadership, the Falcons essentially repeated the outstanding defensive performance turned in by their 2017 squad. In the regular season, Messiah recorded 15 shutouts and yielded a single goal in each of its other three contests. They started the postseason with three more shutouts until running into Forward of the Year Caitlin Mertens in the Sweet 16. At season’s end, Cole led the Falcon defense to a number of impressive marks, including Division III-bests of 18 shutouts and 0.22 goals against average, an 81.8% shutout percent (second nationally), and 3.9 shots and 1.7 shots on goal per game, both top five in Division III. The Cole home may require a room addition to house all the accolades DJ has earned over her Messiah career: she was named MAC Commonwealth Defensive Player of the year three times, picked up All-America honors from D3soccer.com three years in a row, including her two Defender of the Year selections, and capped her impressive career by receiving two prestigious national honors this season: the USC National Player of the Year and Division III Honda Athlete of the Year nominee for women's soccer, along with designation as one of 11 finalists for the latter award.
The Goalkeeper of the Year award goes to senior Emily Janiszewski of SUNY Geneseo. The SUNYAC Defensive Player of the Year was outstanding between the pipes for the Knights, backstopping her team to 13 solo shutouts—tied for first nationally—in its 14 wins on the year. This season, Janiszewski faced an average of seven shots per game with 2.9 per game on frame and recorded a 0.929 save percentage and .24 goals against average, both good for third in Division III. Janiszewski helped guide Geneseo to back-to-back SUNYAC Championships, in 2017 and 2018. In her final collegiate match, an NCAA Tournament First Round contest against Stevens, she posted a career-high 13 saves and held the Ducks at bay until they finally managed to get one past her in the 104th minute. An excellent student off the pitch, Janiszewski was named to the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-America First Team.
The D3soccer.com women’s Coach of the Year is Dan Weiler of Christopher Newport, who led the Captains to the program’s first Final Four and an all-time season best record of 21-2-0 (0.913). Weiler came to CNU in 2013 after having spent the previous 11 years building a very successful program at Concordia-Moorhead. Before his arrival in Newport News, the Captains were a solid if not consistently a top-tier program. In his six seasons at the helm, Weiler has established the Captains as the dominant player in the Capital Athletic Conference, while enhancing the program's national reputation. In addition to being winningest coach in the program’s history, his career marks of 241 victories and a 0.734 winning percentage place him in the top 50 and top 25, respectively, of women’s D-III soccer coaches. His CNU mark, meanwhile, of 97-19-9 yields a winning percentage of .812 that is top five among active D-III women’s coaches. In the 16 seasons before his arrival, the Captains had six NCAA appearances with five First Round exits and advanced to the Elite 8 in 2004. Under Coach Weiler, the Captains have been in the NCAA Tournament five of six years and had reached the Second Round twice before this season’s Final Four run. This year, Weiler took the program to that next step.
|2018 WOMEN'S PLAYERS OF THE YEAR|
|Forward of the Year: Caitlin Mertens (Sr.), Lynchburg|
|Midfielder of the Year: Gabby Gillis (Sr.), Chris. Newport|
|Defender of the Year: DJ Cole (Sr.), Messiah|
|Goalkeeper of the Year: Emily Janiszewski (Sr.), SUNY Geneseo|
|2018 WOMEN'S ALL-AMERICANS|
|F||Riley Cook||So.||Chris. Newport|
|M||Gabby Gillis *||Sr.||Chris. Newport|
|M||Maggie Crist **||Sr.||Washington U.|
|M||Megan Barwick *||Sr.||William Smith|
|M||Jenna McKinney **||Sr.||Chicago|
|D||DJ Cole **||Sr.||Messiah|
|D||Kristen Canepa||Jr.||Trinity (Texas)|
|GK||Emily Janiszewski||Sr.||Geneseo State|
|F||Ashley St. Aubin||Jr.||Augsburg|
|M||Darcy Cunningham *||Sr.||Washington U.|
|M||Maddie Peña||Sr.||New York Univ.|
|D||Hannah Menard||Sr.||Washington U.|
|D||Emilie Sauvayre||Jr.||William Smith|
|F||Chelsea Cole||Sr.||Trinity (Texas)|
|F||Marin McCoy *||Sr.||Swarthmore|
|M||Margaret Harings||Sr.||UW-La Crosse|
|D||Sarah Tomich||So.||Wheaton (Ill.)|
|GK||Olivia Barnhill *||Sr.||Williams|
|* previous D3soccer.com All-America honors|
|2018 WOMEN'S COACH OF THE YEAR|
|Dan Weiler, Christopher Newport (21-2-0) - 2018 National Semifinalist|