Women's soccer earns top goalkeeper, freshman awards
Thursday, October 29, 2015
By Logan Butts
Women's soccer earns top goalkeeper, freshman awards

MACON, Ga. – After another record-setting regular season that saw the Lipscomb women’s soccer team compile an 11-3-4 record and a second-place finish in the conference, five Lady Bisons earned All-Conference honors as announced by the Atlantic Sun on Thursday.

Junior Anna Buhigas and freshman Maycie McKay took home two of the conference’s top awards. Buhigas was named the A-Sun Goalkeeper of the Year for the second year in a row, while McKay took home the Freshman of the Year honor.

Buhigas was also voted to the All-Conference First Team, something she did last year as well. The Ohio native, who was just named to the the A-Sun All-Academic Team on Wednesday, leads the conference in several categories including: shutouts (12, tying an A-Sun record), GAA (0.52), save percentage (.901), and goals allowed (10).  She also finished third in saves with 91.

“I am so thankful that Anna is being rewarded for her great season, she truly deserves to be the Goalkeeper of the Year,” Lipscomb women’s soccer head coach Kevin O’Brien said. “I don’t recall a conference game this season where she did not have at least one great save to keep us in the game or on top of the game.

“Her coaches and teammates have supreme confidence in her ability as the goalkeeper and as the captain of this team. She is a more confident and stronger leader than ever before in her career, and she’s a big reason for our success this 2015 season.”

McKay was named to both the All-Conference First Team and All-Freshman Team. It was only the second time the feat has been accomplished by a Lipscomb soccer player.

McKay led the Lady Bisons in several categories including: goals (8), assists (3), points (19), shots (40), and shots on goal (22).

Her goal total placed her fourth in the A-Sun, and was the most among freshmen.

“I cannot express to you how much I appreciate Maycie McKay, she’s an awesome kid and a heck of a player,” O’Brien said. “I am grateful the A-Sun coaches have named her the Freshman of the Year.

“Her work ethic and positive approach to the game are her greatest strengths as a player. When you couple those attributes with Maycie’s pace and scoring ability, it’s no surprise she had a strong season. But that’s not why her teammates and coaches love Maycie, it’s because of her endearing personality, great sense of humor, and an infectious smile.”

Junior Niamh Rawlins also garnered a spot on the All-Conference First Team. As the anchor of the A-Sun’s top defense, Rawlins consistently stepped up to make stops when the team needed her throughout the season. During Lipscomb’s record-setting shutout streak to begin the year, she was the glue that held the backline together. On offense, she scored a goal, and placed five of seven shots on frame.

“There is no one I am happier for right now than Niamh Rawlins,” O’Brien said. “It’s been a long, hard road for her to get back to full fitness and wow, has she ever stepped up for our program. She has been the anchor of our team defensively, and she’s a big reason we set the shutout records we set this season. 

“She is one of the most competitive and committed players on the field, yet off of it, she’s got the sweetest of natures and gentlest of spirits. Niamh is truly a special person, and I’m glad she’s being recognized for her great play this season.”

Senior Alex Hickey was named Second-Team All-Conference. The Tulsa native is second on the team in goals with five, including two game-winners, points with 10, and shots on goals with 17.

“What an incredible year Alex has had for this program,” O’Brien said. “Her fitness and work rate are second to none, and I’ve got to imagine she’s covering at least seven or eight miles a match. I’m glad Alex is being recognized for her strong season, and I’m thankful she’s been able to finish out her career in a positive fashion.
“But what I appreciate most about Alex is the non-verbal message she’s communicating to the younger players in our program about balance. She leaves every ounce of her energy on the field, but does not hold onto the game of soccer so tightly that it rules her identity. Her maturity and leadership have been invaluable to this team, and I believe they’re a big reason we’ve been as successful this year.”

Brooke Brenner snagged a spot on the All-Freshman Team. The midfielder scored two goals and nabbed an assist for the Purple and Gold this season. She also placed seven of 20 shots on goal.

“Every year there is at least one outlier in most college soccer programs, a player that achieves far more that you projected as a coach,” O’Brien said. “That’s Brooke. I knew she was going to be good, but I didn’t expect her to step in immediately into the team in preseason and start all year long.
“Brooke’s a simple and smart player who's good in possession and makes few mistakes.  It’s that consistency of play that we value so much about her and it’s why she’s being honored as a selection onto the All-Freshman Team.”

The Lady Bisons will travel to Fort Myers, Fla. on Nov. 6 for the semifinals of the conference tournament.