Nov. 14, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Junior defender Rachael Ritchey and junior midfielder Sami Svrcek were each chosen First Team All-Big West and freshman forward Kailyn Kugler was tabbed as the league's Freshman of the Year, the Big West announced Tuesday.
Ritchey, the anchor of a stingy Gaucho defense that allowed just 20 goals in 20 matches, was named to the all-league team for the second consecutive year. She was one of just four Gauchos to start all 20 matches in 2007. For Svrcek, the honor was her first. Like Ritchey, she started all 20 matches on the year and was the stabilizing force in the midfield. Svrcek had a pair of assists on the season.
While she was expected to contribute as a freshman, Kugler was forced into a feature role because of a myriad of injuries that plagued UCSB in 2007. Listed as a defender, midfielder and forward, the San Clemente, Calif., native was forced to play exclusively on the front line in her first season and she responded. Kugler led the team in goals with six and points with 14. She was the second Gaucho in three seasons to earn the Big West Freshman of the Year award. Genelle Ives, who missed the entire 2007 season with a knee injury, was named co-Freshman of the Year in 2005. Ironically, it was Ives' absence that contributed to Kugler's opportunity.
In addition to her freshman honor, Kugler was named Honorable Mention All-Big West. She was joined in the honorable mention status by senior defender Katrina Wright, along with Ritchey, a staple on the back line.
Cal State Fullerton, which won the league tournament for the third straight season, dominated the postseason honors. Titan coach Demian Brown was named Coach of the Year and Titans were also chosen Goalkeeper of the Year, Midfielder of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.