Nine Big South Women's Soccer Players Earn All-State Honors


CHARLOTTE, N.C. ( - The Big South Conference had two players named to the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) All-State Women's Soccer Team, while seven players were named to the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA) University Division All-State squad, both organizations announced recently.

Earning VaSID First Team honors were Radford's Tyler Drake and Che' Brown.  It marks the second-straight year Drake and Brown earned a spot on the list, as each were Second Team selections a year ago.

Campbell led the way with four players being named to the NCCSIA All-State Women's Soccer Team with freshman forward Ashley Clark, senior forward Pirjo Leppikangas, redshirt junior midfielder Kirsty Meyer and redshirt junior goalkeeper Ryann Torrero.

In addition, High Point's Janay Whittaker, Kelli Joline and Sammy Vercellino were each named to the NCCSIA All-State Women's Soccer Team.  The recognition is the second-straight for both Whittaker and Joline, and the first for Vercellino.

Drake had a standout year as the central defender on the 2011 Big South Championship squad. The 2011 Big South Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous First-Team All-Conference selection, Drake helped Radford to a school-record 12 shutouts, a second-straight Big South Regular Season Championship, a fourth Big South Tournament title and fifth NCAA Tournament showing.  It was her second postseason award in a week, as she was named to the NCAA Division I All-Southeast Region Team last Friday, becoming just the third player in Radford history to be recognized regionally by the NSCAA.  
Brown accompanied Drake on the VaSID First Team and was also a Big South First-Team All-Conference selection as well.  In her second year defending the net, Brown had a 10-1 record on the season and recorded the best goals-against average (0.63) and save percentage (.879) in program history.  She allowed the fewest goals (seven) of any keeper in Big South history with a minimum 1,000 minutes played in goal.  Furthermore, her GAA ranked second in Big South history and her save percentage tied for third.

Torrero was named the lone goalkeeper honoree after posting the fourth-most shutouts in CU women's soccer history.  The Burbank, Calif. native played all but eight minutes in net for the Camels as Campbell tied the program record for single-season victories with 15.  Her 102 saves were the third-best single-season mark in program history, while her 1.04 goals against average was fourth-best.  Torrero also finished with a .816 save percentage in helping the Camels advance to the Big South Conference tournament championship match.

Clark, the only freshman on the All-State team, had a breakout rookie campaign in the Orange and Black.  The Panther Creek High School product scored a goal in her first three collegiate contests, including the game-winning goal against Delaware State and UMBC.  Finishing with six game-winning goals, Campbell was 10-0-1 in matches that Clark scored in.  She set a CU single-season record with 102 shots on the season, while finishing sixth on the all-time charts with 29 total points (11 goals and seven assists).  For her efforts, Clark received First Team All-Conference and All-Freshman team Big South honors.

Leppikangas finished with 10 goals and eight assists on the season playing up front alongside Clark.  Also a First-Team All-Conference honoree, Leppikangas was named Big South Attacker of the Week after notching the first Campbell hat trick in 15 years when she scored all three CU goals in a 3-1 victory over Gardner-Webb in the Big South opener.  The win allowed the Camels to be victorious in the school's return to the Big South Conference after a 17-year hiatus and propelled the Camels to a 7-1-2 regular-season Conference record, one point out of first-place.

Meyer finished as the team's third-leading scorer behind Clark and Leppikangas, finishing with seven goals and six assists from her midfield position.  The Fredericksburg, Va. native had two goals and one assist in a win over Coastal Carolina on Oct. 20, scoring the game-winning goal.  Meyer served as a team captain while playing 1,689 minutes for the Camels.

Whittaker and Vercellino comprise half of the All-State defensive line after leading an HPU defense that allowed just six goals to League opponents in 10 matches.  Whittaker started 18 and Vercellino 17 of the 21 High Point matches for the season.  Whittaker was named First-Team All-Big South while Vercellino was named to the second team. Vercellino added two goals and a pair of assists for the season.

Joline was named First-Team All-Big South for the second-straight season after leading High Point with nine goals and tying for the team lead with four assists.  The sophomore's 22 points tied for fifth in the Big South.  Joline scored three game-winning goals and converted both of HPU's penalty kicks for the season.