Steinlage, a sophomore, was recently named a Big 10 All-Conference First Team selection for the second-straight season.
“Annie Steinlage’s first team award was well-deserved,” said Spartans’ head coach Tom Saxton. “She is one of the best central defenders in college soccer.”
Aside from her talents on defense, Steinlage also had a breakout season offensively, recording three goals and five assists.
Maybe Steinlage’s most memorable performance came on Sept. 2 against Akron. Her defense helped limit the Zips to just one shot on goal, while Steinlage recorded both an assist and the game-winning goal in the 2-1 final.
MSU finished just 8-9-2 this season, including a disappointing 2-8-1 in the Big 10.
WEYKAMP GUIDES ILLINI TO NCAA TOURNEY VICTORY
Grand Haven graduate Aliina Weykamp has come up big during the most important time for the University of Illinois’ women’s soccer team — in the postseason.
Weykamp booted in one of three Illini shootout goals in their contest against Missouri in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday in Columbia, Mo., giving Illinois the victory.
The rivals were tied after 110 minutes of play, but Illinois shut out the Tigers in the shootout, 3-0, to advance to the second round of the Tournament, where they will travel to face traditional powerhouse North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The match is slated for Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Weykamp also asserted herself in the Big 10 Tournament, as she sparked the Illini to a thrilling comeback victory against Minnesota in the quarterfinals. Illinois trailed 2-0 and was a player down to the Golden Gophers, but Weykamp cleaned up a deflected shot that bounced off the Gophers’ defensive wall. It was Weykamp’s first goal of the season and put the Illini on the comeback trail.
Illinois tied the contest with nearly 15 minutes remaining in the second half, and the teams remained deadlocked through two overtime sessions.
In the shootout, Weykamp drilled in a successful shot to give the Illini a 3-1 advantage. Minnesota converted on its next attempt to trim their deficit to 3-2, and after an Illini attempt was blocked, the Gophers had a chance to tie and force another round of shots. But their final attempt was wide left, giving Illinois the thrilling victory.
Illinois would go on to upset top-seeded Penn State in the semifinals, 1-0, but their goal at becoming Big 10 champs fell short in the finals, as Ohio State prevailed, 2-1.
BRUINSMA LEADS WIU TO LEAGUE TITLE
Western Michigan Christian graduate Nate Bruinsma turned in an MVP performance to lead his Western Illinois’ men’s soccer team to an upset of Oakland University in the championship match of the Summit League Tournament on Saturday.
Bruinsma scored two goals in the 3-1 victory for the Leathernecks, giving the program its second-straight league championship and sixth in program history.
Western Illinois now advances to the NCAA College Cup, where it will seek its first NCAA Tournament win. They will battle host Northwestern on Thursday at 8 p.m.
It was a true Cinderella story for WIU, which stood at 1-2-2 in the conference heading into the final two league games of the regular season. They jumped to a third seed after two league wins, then proceeded to knock off the two highest seeds in the league tournament.
Bruinsma produced three goals in the two games to wrap up Summit League Tournament MVP honors. The senior forward, who has scored eight goals this season, was previously named all-conference for the second-straight season.
FAST START FOR SHAR’RAE DAVIS
Youngstown State freshman point guard Shar’Rae Davis has been named the Horizon League Newcomer of the Week for her efforts in helping lead the Penguins to a 64-50 victory at Pittsburgh, the conference office announced on Monday.
Davis, who guided the Grand Haven varsity girls basketball team to the Class A state title a year ago, finished with nine assists, nine rebounds and four assists in her collegiate debut on Friday.
Playing 37 minutes, she added two steals and a block as the Penguins picked up their first win over a current Big East team for the first time since 1991 and their first over a team in the BCS since 1997.
Davis helped seal the win by going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 1:09. Her nine assists were the most by a Penguin in three seasons.
Davis is the inaugural winner of the Horizon League Newcomer-of-the-Week award.