Senior Bianca St. Georges of the No. 14-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team has been named the 2018 Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Additionally, a conference-best eight Mountaineers earned nine All-Big 12 accolades. The honor total ranks second in program history.
All awards were selected by the conference coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.
A native of St. Felix de Valois, Quebec, St. Georges is the fourth different Mountaineer to earn the conference’s top defensive honor since WVU joined the Big 12 in 2012. Current graduate assistant Bry McCarthy won the first honor in 2012, Kadeisha Buchanan became the first player to win four consecutive honors (2013-16) and Amandine Pierre-Louis was named the co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2017.
“This award is a testament to who Bianca is and the high standard of excellence she aspires to and lives up to every day,” Mountaineer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown said. “She trains like she plays. If it’s not in the classroom, it’s on the playing field. I’m so happy she was awarded for her hard work.”
A 2018 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy candidate and Senior CLASS Award finalist, St. Georges has helped the Mountaineer defense post nine shutouts this season, four in Big 12 regular-season matches; no conference opponent scored more than one goal against the WVU backline.
In the regular season, the Mountaineers held conference opponents to a combined 14 shots on-goal. In total, WVU allowed just 11 opponent goals in 18 regular-season matches this year and held opponents to 42 corner kicks. Twice this season, the Mountaineers have denied an opponent a shot – Boston University and Saint Francis (Pa.) – and four total opponents failed to place a shot on-goal: Boston U., SFU, Xavier and Texas Tech.
WVU ranks No. 17 nationally, No. 2 in the Big 12, with a 0.55 goals-against average (GAA).
St. Georges also is instrumental in the Mountaineers’ attack and paces WVU with six goals, a career single-season high. She ranks No. 2 on the team with 12 points. Five of her six goals came against conference opponents, and in Big 12 matches only, she finished ranked No. 2 in the league in goals (5) and No. 3 in points (10). St. Georges is a perfect four-for-four on penalty kicks and ranks No. 1 nationally.
St. Georges, senior defender Easther Mayi Kith, senior forward Sh’Nia Gordon and junior goalkeeper Rylee Foster were named to the All-Big 12 First Team. The honor is the first career recognition for all but St. Georges, who also was named to the first team in 2017.
Named to the All-Big 12 Second Team one year ago, Mayi Kith and Foster, who also was named to the second team in 2016, played integral roles in the Mountaineers’ defensive efforts in 2018. Foster, also a 2018 MAC Hermann Trophy candidate, earned credit for eight of the team’s nine shutouts and ranks No. 28 nationally, No. 3 in the conference. She also ranks No. 23 in the NCAA, No. 3 in the Big 12, with a 0.565 GAA.
Gordon paces the Mountaineer attack with 13 points (6 G, 1 A). The six goals rank No. 7 in the Big 12. Three scores came against Big 12 foes, the fifth-best mark in the Big 12. Gordon shows a team-best three game-winners, the fourth-best total in the Big 12.
Three Mountaineers were named to the All-Big 12 Second Team: senior defender Vanessa Flores (1 A), senior midfielder Grace Cutler (1 G, 1 A) and freshman defender Jordan Brewster (1 G, 1 A).
Flores’ recognition is her second in as many seasons. Cutler and Brewster are honored for the first time.
Brewster and midfielder Addison Clark (1 G) also were named to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team. Brewster has started all 19 matches at outside back, and Clark has started 13.
“When it comes to individual awards, it’s about other coaches recognizing how hard our players work and how impactful they are in a game,” Izzo-Brown added. “I’m so happy for our players – they’ve been recognized with high honors. These athletes put forth a great level of development each day, and I’m thrilled we’re representing the Big 12; it’s so exciting.”
The United Soccer Coaches NCAA Poll also was released today, and WVU (12-4-3, 7-2) drops back one spot to No. 14.
Stanford (15-0-2) continues to rank No. 1 and is followed by USC (15-1-2) and No. 2 and North Carolina (15-2-2) at No. 3. Georgetown (15-0-3) ranks No. 4, and Santa Clara (15-3-1) ranks No. 5.
UCLA (13-3-1) sits at No. 6, and Florida State (13-4-2) follows at No. 7. Duke (14-3-2) ranks No. 8, and Baylor (16-4) and Vanderbilt (15-2-1) round out the top 10.
Additionally, WVU sits at No. 21 in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Women’s Division I Top 25 and at No. 14 in this week’s NCAA RPI, the seventh of the season.
Seeded second, the Mountaineers continue play at the 2018 Big 12 Soccer Championship against No. 18-ranked and third-seeded Texas on Friday, Nov. 2, at 8 p.m. EST, at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri.