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Members of the Lakeland College men's and women's soccer teams were recognized for their hard work and dedication during the 2007 season at their team awards banquet on Sunday, Jan. 13.
Team members selected junior forward Amy Christenson (Dodgeville/Dodgeville) from the women's team and senior midfielder Zach Buchman (Waterford/Waterford Union) from the men's team for the Offensive Player of the Year award.
Christenson's speed helped her continue to be a major threat on the offensive end this season, as she finished tied for second on the team in goals scored with four.
Buchman's tireless work ethic and ability to fight through injuries helped him break numerous records throughout his four-year career, as he finished third on the all-time list for career goals with 17 and for points with 42. He is also tied for first in assists in one game with three on Sept. 1, 2004 against Ripon, and is third for assists in one season with six that same year. Buchman was also the only member of the men's team to make the All-NAC team as a second team selection other than freshman defender Brian Knight (Random Lake/Random Lake) who made the All-Rookie team.
Defensive Player of the Year awards went to senior defender Kelly Hopfinger (Hustisford/Hustisford) and senior defender Ryan Condon (Madison/LaFollette).
Hopfinger's worthiness of the award comes without question, as she has been a standout leader for the women's team in the backfield throughout her career. She also received honorable mention All-NAC recognition for her efforts in 2007, and has been dubbed with numerous other conference awards in the past.
Condon has proven himself as a vocal leader and a selfless player throughout his time as a Muskie. He stepped in as interim goalkeeper last season when his team was in need, despite having no prior experience, and brought that same hard-nosed work ethic back to the field this season as one of the squad's most trusted defensive forces.
Freshman goalkeeper Whitney England (Ashwaubenon/Ashwaubenon) was dubbed the Most Improved Player on the women's team, while sophomore defender Doua Vang (Green Bay/East) earned the honor for the men's team.
Although it was England's first collegiate season between the posts, she progressed throughout the season and made six starts, finishing with 28 saves.
Vang proved himself to be equally valuable all over the field for the men's team, as he was a capable defender, had the quickness and aggression to excel at midfield, and found a nose for the goal on offense to knock a pair between the posts and assist in one other goal during the season. Vang was also named an honorable mention selection on the 2007 NCAA Division III All-Wisconsin team when the awards were announced in December.
The Muskie Award was given to one member from each team that embodied everything a Muskie should, such as attitude and work ethic both on and off the field, and someone that all of their teammates admired, respected and used as a role model. Winners this season were Hopfinger and, for the second year in a row, Condon.
The 2007 NSCAA Scholar All-Region Awards were also announced at the banquet, earned by seniors Tracy Bins (New Franken/Green Bay Preble) and Elisa Waltz (Oakfield/Oakfield) along with Christenson and Hopfinger. Waltz was also named a third team CoSIDA Academic All-District selection this season.
Although the women's team finished with a disappointing 7-12 overall record (6-6 NAC) and loses a strong group of five seniors, including midfielder Lola Engel (Appleton/East) and goalkeeper Savanna Johnson (Sun Prairie/Sun Prairie) along with Bins, Hopfinger and Waltz, the squad will return several players with a great deal of playing experience.
The men's team struggled as well, finishing 4-14 overall with a 4-6 NAC record, and will certainly miss the offensive talents of Buchman and the defensive knowledge of Condon and Tyler Haug (Milwaukee/Thomas More). However, the Muskies should retain the rest of their forces in the middle and on the front line for next season in hopes of making another appearance in the conference tournament.