INDIANAPOLIS - The Butler women's soccer team was well-represented on the All-Horizon League teams, with sophomore Katie Griswold and freshman Jackie Hafele capturing first team All-Horizon League honors and senior Sarah Phelps getting named second team. BU head coach Tari St. John was named Horizon League Coach of the Year.
Furthermore, Hafele was named Horizon League Newcomer of the Year and to the league's all-newcomer team along with twin sister Nikki Hafele and Olivia Colosimo.
The accolades come after Butler went 6-2-0 in league play, capturing the league's regular season title and No. 1 seed in next week's Horizon League Women's Soccer Championship.
Griswold, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, was team team's leading with 20 points (9g-2a). Her nine goals tied for second in the league and she was fourth in the league in points. Four of Griswold's goals came in league play, and she buried three-game winning goals against conference opponents.
"This is really the product of the eight months of work Katie put in since the end of last season, St. John said. "She has improved so much as a soccer player and the best part is I don't think we're even close to her potential."
Hafele, from Prospect, Ky., was the only freshman to be named first team All-Horizon League en route to being named the conference's top first-year player. She has nine points on the season, coming on a team-high five assists in addition to two goals. But it's the things she does outside the box score that earned her the all-conference honor.
"Most people want to look at stats to determine a players impact, but, in Jackie’s case, it is her commitment to winning balls in the air that had the greatest impact," St. John said. "She does a lot of things well for us but when Jackie committed herself to being a ball-winner in the midfield, our team found success in the second half of the season."
Phelps, an Indianapolis native and team leader in the back row for the Bulldogs. She is a key piece of Butler's defense, and has also chipped in two goals and two assists on the year. Her game-winner on a PK against Cleveland State was essentially the goal that clinched the regular season title for BU.
"Sarah is one of the best soccer players I have ever had the privilege of coaching," St. John said. "She understands the game at such a high level. When 'Phelpsie' is not on the field for us, it is very noticeable. It will be difficult to fill her shoes next year."
Butler, a team of underclassmen this season that usually started seven freshmen, placed three on the all-newcomer squad. In addition to Jackie Hafele, Nikki Hafele and Olivia Colosimo were recognized.
Nikki Hafele led the team in minutes played this season and never came off the field during league play. She did have one goal this season, but much like her sister, it's her impact within the game that makes her stand out.
"I was happy Nikki was acknowledged by the conference coaches. She does so many things for us that would not be detected in the stat line," St. John said. "She has played every minute of our conference matches. That is a lot to ask of a freshmen center-mid, but Nikki was up for the task and did it quite well."
Colomiso, a skilled midfielder from Thunder Bay, Ontario, started all 18 matches in the regular season and is second on the team with 27 shots.
"Within one season, Olivia has improved her game so much. During the second half of the season she was so consistent and reliable for us," St. John said. "She and Nikki work so well together. It’s exciting to think they have three more seasons together."
St. John, in her fifth season as head coach at Butler, has done her finest coaching job in 2010. The Bulldogs started 0-4 and would be 3-9 before finding themselves and winning five of the final six matches of the regular season. The coach kept a young, injury-riddle team together and now will have home field advantage in the league tournament.
"I have a lot of respect for my coaching colleagues in our league and I am flattered by the selection. I like this award because it is a representation of so many people…from our assistant coaches, our team, our athletic trainer, the athletic administration and the many soccer alumni that have helped build this program," St. John said. "Everybody deserves some credit for this honor and I’m happy to share it."