Robbie Church.DURHAM, N.C.- The Duke women’s soccer team held its annual team banquet on Sunday night at Pops in Durham to officially wrap up the successful 2012 campaign, which saw the Blue Devils advance to the NCAA Elite Eight for the fourth time out of the last six years under the direction of head coach
A total of six awards were given out on the evening including Newcomer of the Year, Most Inspirational Player, Coaches Award, Most Outstanding Offensive Player, Most Outstanding Defensive Player and Most Valuable Player. All awards except for the Coaches Award were voted on by the student-athletes.
Presented with the Most Valuable Player and Newcomer of the Year awards was rookie Cassie Pecht, after garnering TopDrawerSoccer.com National Rookie of the Year honors. A native of Mechanicsburg, Pa., Pecht led the nation with 15 assists, while totaling six goals and 27 points. The 5-3 midfielder was named the ACC Rookie of the Year, All-ACC second team selection, All-ACC Freshman team accolades and earned Second Team All-Southeast Region honors. Pecht’s 15 assists was a Duke freshman record and her 27 points was tied for second on the freshman record book.
After moving to the forward position this past season, redshirt junior Kim DeCesare registered a career-high 16 goals, six assists and 38 points as she was named the Offensive MVP. DeCesare, who is out of Massapequa Park, N.Y., was an All-ACC second team selection for her efforts. Her 38 points was the fourth-most in school history, while her 16 goals were tied for second most in the Duke single-season record charts.
Receiving the Most Valuable Defensive Player award was Erin Koballa, who started all 23 contests on the defensive end for the Blue Devils in 2012. A product of Wrightsville Beach, N.C., Koballa helped lead Duke to six shutouts on the season and a total of 41 shutouts over the last four years. As a senior, she netted an assist against eighth-ranked Marquette during the Duke Nike Classic.
The trio Kaitlyn Kerr, Gilda Doria and Callie Simpkins earned the Most Inspirational Player awards. Kerr, who is out of Bensalem, Pa., tallied eight goals and seven assists in the midfield, while dealing with a knee injury. A native of West Palm Beach, Fla., Doria notched six assists, 11 goals and 23 points, while Simpkins, who is from Concord, N.C., collected three goals and two assists on the year.
The staff presented the Coaches Award to the senior duo of Maddy Haller and Nicole Lipp. A four-year starter on the defensive end, Haller completed her career helping lead Duke to 41 shutouts. Duke’s defense tallied six shutouts in 2012 as Haller, a product of South Salem, N.Y., saw action in all 23 contests. Lipp, who is from Lake Forest, Ill., started 20 of 21 contests on the season as she registered three assists. Over her career, Lipp started 85 of 90 career matches. She finished her career with 12 goals and five assists.
As a team, Duke advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight with a 15-6-2 overall and 5-3-2 mark in the very challenging ACC. The Blue Devils collected a school-record 207 points on the year, school-record 77 assists and was two goals away from matching the school record for goals (67).
MVP – Cassie Pecht
Most Valuable Offensive Player – Kim DeCesare
Most Valuable Defensive Player – Erin Koballa
Most Inspirational Player – Kaitlyn Kerr, Gilda Doria, Callie Simpkins
Newcomer of the Year – Cassie Pecht
Coaches Award – Maddy Haller, Nicole Lipp