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Twenty League1 Women Alumni To Watch In NCAA DI

01/28/2019, 5:45pm EST
By League1 Ontario staff

With the FIFA Women's World Cup coming up this summer, and Canada ranked fifth in the women's game on the FIFA/ Coca Cola World Ranking chart, it's worth taking a look at some of the Canadian talent - specifically those with League1 Ontario appearances - currently making an impression on that ever-popular pathway through NCAA DI competition to the international stage.  

This past year's big award winners include one MAC Hermann Semi-Finalist, ten selections to the prestigious United Soccer Coaches' All-Region lists, and numerous conference and individual honours. Here are 20 of the most decorated from 2018...

The MAC Hermann Trophy is the NCAA's version of the MVP award, a highly coveted distinction that identifies the best players in the country coming through America's pipeline.

Canadians have won the award in the past, but not many. Kadeisha Buchanan (2016) is the latest Canadian to take the MAC, with Christine Sinclair (2005, 2004) on the women's side, and Canadian-American Teal Bunbury (2009) on the men's, completing the all-time Canuck representation.

But 2018 was something of a banner year for Canadians, with eight players nominated to the MAC Hermann Watch List. Three of them already had standout League1 Ontario seasons under their belts.

A 2017 League1 Ontario All-Star, Victoria Pickett (University of Wisconsin/ Aurora FC) topped that list.

The 22 year-old native of Barrie, ON, Pickett came up through the national team program, racking up appearances from U17 - U23. She had a killer Junior year in 2018, helping Wisconsin to an NCAA Sweet 16 finish.

Pickett's performances took her all the way to the MAC Hermann Trophy Semi-Finals round before receiving a selection to the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s All-America First Team.

She wasn't done there either, adding on 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women's All-North Region First Team and Big Ten All-Conference First Team awards. 

Goalkeeper Rylee Foster (West Virginia University/ Vaughan SC) and defender Paige Culver (Kent State/ Hamilton United Elite) joined Pickett on the initial MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, putting in outstanding seasons of their own. 

First brought into the Canada U20 program in 2013, 20 year-old Foster was named to the 2018 NCAA Division I Women's All-America Third Team, the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women's All-Midwest Region Third Team and, finally, the Big 12 All-Conference First Team.

 A 2018 League1 All-Star, Culver added to her MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List standing with a 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women's All-Midwest Region Third Team selection, before being named to the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women's Scholar All-North/Central Region Second Team and All-MAC Conference First Team.

Seven more former League1 players would tack on All-Region honours by the end of the 2018 NCAA campaign.

Nadia Pestell (Dayton University/ Pro Stars FC) was named to the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women All-East Region Third Team as well as the Atlantic 10 Second Team All Conference. Her outstanding academic results helped add on an Atlantic 10 All-Academic Team. 

Vital Kats (Kent State/ Aurora FC) earned a 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women's All-Midwest Region First Team and All-MAC Conference First Team distinction.

Gurjeena Jandhu (University of Buffalo/ Hamilton United Elite) made the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women's All-Midwest Region Third Team and was also selected to the All-MAC Conference Second Team.

Sabrina McNeill (Eastern Michigan University/ Durham United FA) was chosen for the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women's All-Midwest Region Second Team, as well as the All-MAC Conference First Team.

League1 Ontario 2016 Young Player of the Year, Sarah Stratigakis (University of Michigan/ Aurora FC/ Oakville Blue Devils), took home selections to the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women's All-North Region Second Team and Big Ten All-Conference Second Team. 

Stasia Torchia (Fairleigh Dickinson University/ Durham United FA) won the 2018 League1 Ontario Women's Title with her club, Durham United FA, before going State-side and adding a 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women's All-North Region Third Team and Northeast All-Conference First Team distinction.

Finally, sophomore forward Clarissa Larisey (Memphis University/ West Ottawa SC) nailed down a spot on the 2018 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women's All-South Region First Team and the American Athletic First Team All-Conference.

League1 representation in the NCAA awards didn't end there. All-Conference honours were extended to a further ten players.

Jayda Hylton-Pelaia, Jr. (ECU/ Woodbridge Strikers) grabbed a spot on the American Athletic Second Team All-Conference, while Mollie Eriksson (DePaul, West Ottawa SC) was named to the Big East Conference All-Freshmen Team.

Maya Pascal (Oakland/ Oakville Blue Devils/ North Mississauga SC) was named to the Horizon League All-Conference Second Team, while Kelsey Araujo (Niagara/ ANB Futbol) wrapped up a selection to the MAAC All-Conference Second Team.

Ida Miceli (Niagara/ Woodbridge Strikers) started off her College career on the right foot, taking a spot on the MAAC Conference All-Rookie Team.

Kristin Nason (Eastern Michigan/ Durham United FA) snapped up an All-MAC Conference Second Team spot, and was joined in the team by Emily Simmons (Ball State/ Toronto Azzurri Blizzard).

Claire LaRose (Austin Peay/ FC London) found herself selected to the All Ohio Valley Conference Second Team by the end of the College season, while Sarah Owusu (Eastern Kentucky/ Toronto Azzurri Blizzard) ended a strong first season with an All Ohio Valley Conference Freshmen Team distinction.

Last, but certainly not least, Sierra Henderson-Muschett (Kent State/ Aurora FC) was named Academic MAC All-Conference after a stellar year in the classroom and on the pitch.

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