Beth Guccione, Jenny Hamilton and Coach Heather Nelson all take home league's highest honors.
Nov. 8, 2001
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - The Southeast Missouri State Otahkian soccer team, in the midst of its best ever season, almost made a clean sweep of all the major end-of-the year awards by winning the OVC Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards and also placed six teams members on the three All-OVC teams.
Senior goalkeeper Beth Guccione won the league's highest honor, Player of the Year. Guccione is having an amazing season in goal, recording 12 shutouts on the season in 16 Otahkian games and ranking fourth in the country in goals allowed average (0.44). When the season ends, Guccione should rank second all-time in NCAA history for shutout percentage in a season. Guccione was magnificent in OVC competition, not allowing an OVC opponent to score a goal this season. Guccione was a first-team All-OVC selection in 1999. Guccione became the first non-Eastern Illinois player to pick up the award in the league's four-year history.
Defender Jenny Hamilton was named OVC Defensive Player of the Year thanks in part to leading the strong Otahkian defense that ranks third in the country in goals allowed average, one place ahead of national power North Carolina. Hamilton, a junior, was a first-team All-OVC selection in 1999 and a second-team selection in 2000. Hamilton became the first non-Tennessee Tech player to pick up the award in the league's four-year history.
Coach Heather Nelson gained her second OVC Coach of the Year award in three seasons by helping lead Southeast to a school best 15-1 record and the Otahkians first ever OVC Regular Season Championship. Nelson also picked up the award in 1999, when her first-year squad won four games and advanced deep in the OVC Tournament.
Joining Guccione and Hamilton on the All-OVC first team were freshmen Erin Slattery and Marla Gianino who lost out on the OVC Freshman of the Award to Tennessee Tech's Robyn Vince, but both gained the first-team selection. Slattery currently leads the Otahkians in goals with 10 and Gianino leads the team in points and set the Southeast single season record for assists with nine.
Senior Nichole Thiele, an All-OVC first-team selection in both 1999 and 2000, was the lone Otahkian on the second-team. Sophomore Erika Todd, an All-OVC first-team selection last season, was named to the honorable mention squad.
Southeast will begin play in the OVC Tournament tomorrow night at Houck Stadium as they host this year's tournament. The will battle number four seed Murray State at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Illinois and Tennessee Tech will battle in the day's first semifinal at 4:30 p.m. The winners will meet in the Championship game on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. with an NCAA automatic bid on the line, the first automatic bid in OVC history.
2001 All-Ohio Valley Conference Women's Soccer Team
OVC Player of the Year: Beth Guccione, Southeast Missouri State
All-OVC First Team
All-OVC Second Team
All-OVC Honorable Mention