Samantha Dewey (credit Dirk Fontaine)
METUCHEN, NJ - Today is the kickoff of the Fall 2019 competitive schedule in college soccer and - prior to kickoff - more United Women's Soccer (UWS) stars have been getting recognized with preseason honors. Midfielder Samantha Dewey (the 2019 Midwest Offensive Player of the Year for the Indiana Union) has been on a hot streak since being named the 2018 BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year for Xavier University last fall. She has continued her scoring prowess in the Musketeers' opener today, notching all four goals in a 4-3 overtime win over Murray State University. Before kickoff, Dewey added another honor to her burgeoning list as the All-UWS selection was named the BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Over nine BIG EAST matches last year, the redshirt-junior totaled 12 points (second-most in the league) and ranked second in goals (four) and third in assists (four).
For the Midwest Conference champions this summer, the Fairland, IN-native tallied an impressive 27 points (11g, 5a) in nine regular season games for the Union - good enough for a second-place tie in the UWS scoring race. On top of that, 11 of her goals for both club and university (including today's win over Murray State) since last fall have been of the game-winning variety. In the 2019 Midwest Final, Samantha scored the winning goal against Grand Rapids FC in the 108th minute of play to send Indiana to the UWS Championship. She went on to score the lone goal in the National Semifinal loss to eventual UWS champion LA Galaxy OC. After all was said and done, she finished with 13 goals and six assists (32 points). Another Union alum in Butler University defender Annika Schmidt was also named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team.
Hillary Beall (credit Sandra Velez-Lopez)
The Big Ten Conference also released their 2019 Preseason Team earlier this week and nine UWS stars were selected to the honor roll. Leading the way was 2019 UWS Defensive Player of the Year Hillary Beall, as the junior goalkeeper and her Wolverines team mates kick off their fall schedule with a home match against Marshall University tonight. Beall started the final 10 games of the 2018 season for Michigan and earned four wins including three shutouts. This summer, the U.S. U-20 international's fifth shutout for LA Galaxy OC wrapped up the UWS Championship title in July. Penn State midfielder/defender Ellie Jean - a 2019 All-UWS Second Team selection for the New England Mutiny - also made the Big Ten Preseason Team alongside Mutiny alum and Jamaica international Chantelle Swaby (Rutgers University).
Two former Grand Rapids FC stars in 2017 UWS Championship MVP Michaela Kovacs (Michigan State University) and midfielder Avery Lockwood (Indiana University) made the conference honor roll. Its an impressive feat for Lockwood as this is her freshman campaign for the Hoosiers. Kovacs wasn't the only MSU player to be named to the Big Ten list as 2019 All-Midwest Second Team selection Camryn Evans made the grade as well. Evans led Lansing United - the regular season champions in the Midwest Conference - in scoring with 11 points (5g, 1a). Rounding out the preseason awards were forward Chandra Davidson (Indiana Univ. / Indiana Union), midfielder Natalie Winters (Iowa Univ. / Detroit Sun) and midfielder Athena Kuehn (Univ. of Minnesota / Colorado Pride).
Bethany Balcer & Madison Pogarch (credit John Rothwell)
Last but certainly not least in today's update are a trio of Grand Rapids FC alumnae. While the college season kicks into first gear, the United States U-20 & U-23 National Teams have put together training camps for a series of games later this month. The Under-23 WNT will travel to England for the 2019 Nordic Tournament (Aug. 28-Sept. 2) and Head Coach B.J. Snow named 21 professionals to the 23-player roster which include 2017 UWS champions Bethany Balcer (Seattle Reign FC) and Madison Pogarch (Portland Thorns FC). Balcer was the leading scorer in UWS that season (14g, 3a, 31pts) and was the Midwest Player of the Year as well as an All-UWS First Team selection. New Jersey Copa alum Erin Simon - who currently plays for West Ham United in England - was also called up by Snow. U-20 Head Coach Mark Carr called up GRFC defender Bria Schrotenboer (Michigan State Univ.) for training camp (Aug. 24-Sept. 1) and two friendlies against Japan.