Beyond getting a glimpse of NCAA spotlight, the women’s soccer team was honored for its solid talent once again by being presented with the top awards given by the University Athletic Association.

Last week, senior captain and defender Jen Seferiadis was named the UAA’s Most Valuable Player while teammate, freshman sweeper Sarah Tarka, was named the Rookie of the Year. In addition, the coahcing staff received the Coach of the Year award.

MVP Award

“It is a tremendous honor to even be considered for such recognition, and to actually receive it is absolutely mind-blowing to me because there is so much incredible talent in this league,” Seferiadis said.

She is UR’s first player to recieve the Most Valuable Player award in five years. She has earned All-UAA honors in each of her four varsity seasons.

Seferiadis finished second in scoring in the UAA with six goals and five assists for 17 points this year.

She scored three game-winning goals, two directly off corner kicks ? the first coming against the New York University Violets 2-1 in double overtime and the other against Emory University, UR’s top UAA rival, 1-0.

Tarka’s recognition demonstrated the upcoming force of the young talent on the women’s soccer team.

“Sarah Tarka is a great player,” Seferiadis said. “She plays with poise and composure and distributes the ball well out of the back.”

“Her solid defense anchored the team all season,” she added.

Tarka was named the sweeper three games into the 2001 season. The Yellowjackets then went on a 10-game winning streak and vaulted into the national rankings.

As part of a team effort, Tarka helped UR’s defense, with the backing of a new goalkeeper, junior Sarah Malecki. Malekci helped the team to eight shutouts and surrendered only 16 goals all year.

“Overall, I thought that the team performed very well this year,” Tarka said. “Coming off of losses in our first two games and then [to] go on to a 10-game winning streak, says a lot about the way that the team came together this year.”

Tarka is the second consecutive Yellowjacket to win the Rookie of the Year award. Last season, sophomore striker Alison Collins was recognized for her efforts.

Two other Yellowjackets earned All-Association honors. Junior defender Amy Kelmenson and junior midfielder Megan Barritt were named Second Team All-Association.

Kelmenson has earned All-UAA honors for the third straight season as outside fullback. This is the first UAA honor for Barritt, an attacking midfielder.

Battling back from last season’s knee injury, she joined the Yellowjackets once again in pre-season and became starter.

Aside from the Yellowjackets, head coach Terry Gurnett and his assistant coaches, Sike Darganis and Lisa Allen, were also honored as UAA’s Coaching Staff of the Year.

“The coaching staff was absolutely relentless in its efforts to make us a better team each day,” Seferiadis said. “They pushed us to work hard every day. But, more than anything else, they made us appreciate and enjoy every moment.”

Gurnett, a Rochester native earned his 300th career victory on Sept. 29 when UR scored a 1-0 win over Emory University at Fauver Stadium.

Currently, his overall record of 307-92-43 makes Gurnett the all-time victory leader among Div. III women’s soccer coaches, in addtion to fourth all-time in victories for all women’s soccer collegiate coaches.

Gurnett also recently wrapped up his 25th year at the helm of UR women’s soccer. He has led his squad to nine UAA titles since the start of the league in 1987.

The 2001 squad finished 13-5-0 and won a bid to NCAA post-season for the first time since 1998.

However, despite remarkable efforts, the women’s NCAA run fell short with a loss of 2-1 to Nazareth College in the first round of the playoffs.

But the women have high hopes for next year and, as one of next year’s assistant coaches, Seferiadis sees a lot of potential in this talented squad.

“The juniors are already strong leaders and both the sophomore and freshman classes have great work ethics and talent,” she said.

“They will no doubt be driven by the disappointment of losing so early in the tournament this year,” she continued.

Wu can be reached at jwu@campustimes.org.



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