TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women's soccer team had five players named to the all-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference squad and sophomore goalkeeper Lucinda Combs was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player by the league's coaches, released Tuesday.
Senior forward Nicky Wheeler (Avon, Ind./Avon) and junior defender Margaret Murphy (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) joined Combs on the first team for their efforts, and sophomore defender Mallory McDevitt (Wapakoneta, Ohio/Wapakoneta) was named to the second team. Sophomore defender Cassidy Cain (Noblesville, Ind./Noblesville) was selected to the honorable mention squad.
Combs (Danville, Ky./Boyle County) finished the season with league-best marks in save percentage (.924), saves (145) and shutouts (11), and was ranked second in goals-against average (0.57). The sophomore led all of Division III in save percentage prior to the final match of the season, eventually finishing the Engineers' 2013 campaign ranked fifth overall.
She broke her own school record in shutouts this season and tied her own mark in single-game saves (18), and her 145 saves stand second for the single-season mark in program history. Her goals-against average is also ranked second in school history and her career total of 247 saves in two seasons is ranked second.
Wheeler finished the year with a team-best seven goals and four assists, good for a squad-leading 18 points. Her seven goals ranked sixth in the HCAC and Wheeler fired a third-ranked 68 shots in 2013. Three of Wheeler's goals were game winners, including a crucial score against Earlham that gave RHIT a 2-1 victory and clinched the Engineers' first HCAC tournament bid since 2009.
Murphy, McDevitt and Cain helped a Rose-Hulman defense become one of the best in the region, as the Engineers also led the nation in team save percentage entering the final week of the season, eventually finishing ranked fourth. Rose-Hulman notched a school-record 11 shutouts, allowed just 12 goals in 20 matches in 2013, held its opponents to a 0.39 shot percentage and gave up more than one goal in a single match just twice. Three of the Engineers' five losses came by a 1-0 score.
Cain also netted her first two goals of her career this past season and McDevitt was selected to the Capital One CoSIDA academic all-district team for her efforts on the field and her 4.0 grade point average as an electrical engineering major.
Hanover freshman forward Anna Cornacchione and Transylvania senior forward Amy Ghibaudy were selected as the HCAC’s co-Offensive Most Valuable Players and Cornacchione was named the Freshman of the Year. Hanover coach Jim Watts was voted as the Coach of the Year after leading the Panthers to a HCAC regular-season and tournament championship.
Rose-Hulman sophomore Helena Bomber (Bargersville, Ind./Center Grove) also earned a spot on the HCAC All-Sportsmanship Team, as voted on by the league's coaches.