Nov. 12, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara junior forward Genelle Ives was named the 2008 Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Year, and four other Gauchos joined her in earning All-Big West honors, it was announced by the league Wednesday.
Ives was joined on the All-Big West First Team by senior midfielder Sami Svrcek, sophomore midfielder Jacqui Simon, and senior defender Rachael Ritchey. Sophomore forward Kylie McDonald was selected to the All-Big West Second Team.
Ives, a native of Dana Point, Calif., will enter Friday's NCAA Tournament match at Stanford with eight goals and seven assists for 23 points. As a freshman in 2005, she was chosen co-Freshman of the Year in the Big West, as well as second team all-league. Following her sophomore season in 2006, she was named First Team All-Big West. The Offensive Player of the Year award is the culmination of an outstanding comeback for Ives, who missed the entire 2007 season while recovering from knee surgery. It marked the fifth time in head coach Paul Stumpf's 10 years that a Gaucho has earned the Big West Offensive Player of the Year honor.
For Ritchey, it was her third consecutive First Team All-Big West selection. The anchor of a defensive unit that enters postseason play with a goals against average of 0.97, she has started 18 out of 19 matches and leads the team in minutes played with more than 1,600. Svrcek, who has four assists on the year, has been the glue in the Gaucho midfield. She also earned first team recognition following her junior season in 2007.
Simon enters postseason with six goals and seven assists for 19 points, second on the team. As a freshman, she was forced to play primarily at forward, but a move back to her natural spot in the midfield has allowed her to flourish as a sophomore. McDonald, a transfer from Pepperdine who was named Honorable Mention All-West Coast Conference in 2007, has five goals and eight assists for 18 points.
"We are very excited for all five of our players, but particularly our seniors," said UCSB head coach Paul Stumpf. "It is good to know that other coaches see the same things that we see everyday from these players. They work hard and are very talented, and they deserve to be rewarded for that."
Stumpf said that he was disappointed in just one thing: the omission of sophomore forward Kailyn Kugler from any of the all-league teams.
"I thought Kailyn should have been on one of the teams," Stumpf said. "She really defied the sophomore jinx with an even better season this year. I am disappointed that she was overlooked."
Kugler, the Big West co-Freshman of the Year in 2007, will enter Friday's match with seven goals, second on the team, four assists and 18 points.
UCSB travels to Stanford on Friday for a 7:00 p.m. match against the Cardinal. It will mark the first time since 1991 that the Gauchos have played in the NCAA Tournament. They earned the Big West's automatic bid by winning their first-ever Big West Tournament title at Long Beach State last Sunday.