PHILADELPHIA – The Ivy League has announced its All-Ivy teams in women’s soccer, and once again the University of Pennsylvania was well-represented. The Quakers boasted three first-team All-Ivy selections, two other women who received honorable mention recognition, and sophomore Caroline Dwyer was named the inaugural Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year.
This is the first year that the Ancient Eight coaches have picked Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year; prior to this, there was only a Player of the Year. The other award winner was Harvard freshman Midge Purce, who was selected Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year as well as its Rookie of the Year.
In a year where injuries kept the Penn defense in a rotating mode, Dwyer’s presence on the right side of the back line was a constant. She started all 17 matches -- one of just two Quakers to do so -- and was arguably the anchor as the Quakers posted 12 shutouts and allowed just eight goals all season. Penn was the last team to allow a goal at the NCAA Division I level this year, and finished the regular season fourth nationally in shutout percentage (.706) and fifth in goals-against average (0.44).
“I am very happy Caroline got the recognition. I feel like she deserved it,” said Penn’s head coach, Darren Ambrose. “It is a wonderful honor that reflects her hard work and commitment to her team. She is one of the most tenacious players I have ever coached which, accompanied with her incredible quickness, makes her a very difficult player to beat.
“Caroline is one big part of the success our entire team has when it comes to the defensive structure we have become known for. I think the entire team takes pride in being a difficult team to break down on the defensive end, and Caroline certainly does her part in that.”
Dwyer was also selected first-team All-Ivy on defense by the coaches, and was joined on the first team by classmates Erin Mikolai in the midfield and Kalijah Terilli in the goal. After not having three players earn first-team All-Ivy in the same season from 1991 to 2010, Penn has now had three first-teamers each of the last three years.
In addition, senior Kerry Scalora (forward) and freshman Tahirih Nesmith (defense) received honorable mention recognition. Scalora led Penn in scoring for the second straight year, with six goals and 15 points, while Nesmith was second in goals (4) and points (9).
As a team, Penn went 12-1-4, setting a program record for fewest losses in a season and placing 12th nationally in win percentage (.824). The Quakers went unbeaten over their final nine matches (8-0-1), but were kept out of the 64-team NCAA Championship field on Monday despite a Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) of 41.
“It is always nice to see our players be recognized within the league,” said Ambrose. “While I think our team chemistry was one of our biggest strengths this season, there is no doubt that some individuals have performed at a very high level and pushed their potential higher and higher. I am very happy for the women who were honored on the All Ivy teams. It is a nice reward for their performances this year.”