Snow soccer players honored by Region
EPHRAIM—After a stunning first season, head coach Nuno Gourgel and the Snow College women’s soccer team raked in the region honors, with some accolades for the men’s team as well.
Gourgel was named the Scenic West Athletic Conference Women’s Coach of the Year for the 2016 season.
“To be honest, if it hadn’t been for all the work of my staff and these girls,” Gourgel said, “it wouldn’t have happened.”
Gourgel led the Lady Badgers to a 13-0-6 record in their first season, as well as first place in the SWAC and the SWAC tournament championship. Snow came within penalty kicks of seeding in the NJCAA DI National Tournament, falling to Laramie in the District C Championship Game. The final polls in NJCAA included Snow at No. 18 in the nation.
Seven players from the women’s team were selected for all-SWAC honors, and four of the men’s team were selected.
Snow women’s center Nicole Jenkins was named SWAC Co-Player of the Year, All-SWAC First Team, SWAC Tournament MVP, and All-SWAC Tournament Team. Jenkins led Snow in scoring with 11 goals, two of them game-winners, and had a shot-on-goal conversion percentage of .672, scoring on 24-43 shots on goal.
Also highly honored was goalkeeper Hanna Johnson, who was selected as the SWAC Goalkeeper of the year and also made the All-Tournament Team.
Johnson finished the season as one of the best goalkeepers in the country, leading the NJCAA in goals-against average with .35 goals allowed per game. Johnson also led the nation in save percentage with a .933 average, was top-10 in number of goals allowed with six all season, and was top-20 in shutouts with six.
“I’m just really honored,” Johnson said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my defense and their collective effort up and down the field.”
Jenkins and Johnson were part of a five-player representation of the Lady Badgers on the First Team. Also selected to the First Team were center Sadie Munns, defender Allison Beeston, and forward Cheyenne Jacobs. Of the 71 goals scored by the Lady Badgers this season, these three players put in 23 of them. Jacobs led the team in assists with six, while Munns was the clutch player with three game-winners. Jacobs was honored on the All-Tournament Team as well.
Snow’s team captain, center Rhyan Tafoya, was also honored as part of the All-Tournament Team. Center Myka Bouwhuis received an honorable mention.
The men’s team made the best out of a hard year by taking second place in the SWAC Tournament and pulling out an 8-9-1 record. Three Badgers made the All-SWAC First Team, and four made the All-Tournament Team.
Forwards Felipe Noveli and Luis Miguel and centerfielder Jerry Cota gathered the First-Team honors. Noveli was the top scorer for Snow with six goals, while Miguel chipped in five. Cota was a solid offensive general for the Badgers all season.
Defender Sam Bamberlister was given an honorable mention as well as placement on the All-Tournament Team. Bamberlister had five goals as well for Snow, with a higher accuracy than Miguel.
With both teams consisted almost entirely of freshmen this year, the next year breathes optimism for Gourgel and his staff.
“We’ll lose some to missions,” Gourgel said. “Others will move on, and some are deciding to focus more on school instead.”