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Two Lakeland College women's soccer players, senior defender Kelly Hopfinger (Hustisford/Hustisford) and senior forward Elisa Waltz (Oakfield/Oakfield), were named to the Northern Athletics Conference honorable mention team as post-season awards were announced on Thursday.
This marks the third consecutive year that Hopfinger has received the honorable mention All-Conference award, while also receiving All-Lake Michigan Conference and All-Rookie Team honors as a freshman in 2004.
A four-year starter, co-captain and a key force on the defensive line for the Muskies in terms of both talent and vocal leadership, Hopfinger has also shown versatility throughout her career. For the past two seasons, she has been able to get in on the offensive action, thanks to her strong, accurate kicking abilities. She recorded one assist this fall, and tallied two goals and two assists in 2006.
"Kelly has been so strong for the team in the back over the past four years," said head coach Dave Madsen. "She brings a lot of leadership, and the girls always knew that she would be back there to clean up messes."
Although this is Waltz's first post-season conference award, she has been a vital contributor as a four-year starter and co-captain, and has played just about every position on the field. A midfielder throughout most of her career, Waltz was moved to the defensive end early in the season to take advantage of her fearless tackling talents.
However, she found her true calling as an offensive player late in the season, scoring her first collegiate goal against Milwaukee School of Engineering on Oct. 10. She followed that goal with another in each of the Muskies next two games to finish with three for the season.
"'E' has worked so hard these past couple years," Madsen said. "She had a chance to score some goals this year, and just kept working and working to get better."
The Muskies will certainly have some holes to fill in their roster with the graduation of Hopfinger, Waltz and three other seniors, which Madsen sees as a challenge to overcome.
"It's going to take awhile for the team to adjust to those two not being around because I think we took them for granted," Madsen said. "It will be interesting to see how we transition next year and find people to fill those spots."
Lakeland ended its season at 7-12 overall (6-6 NAC) after a 3-0 loss to Benedictine in its final regular season game of the year.