DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke women’s soccer team held its annual team banquet on Wednesday at the University Club in Durham to officially wrap up the very successful 2011 campaign, which saw the Blue Devils advance to the NCAA College Cup, win a school-record 22 contests and win the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season title under the direction of National Coach of the Year Robbie Church.
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 MVP and Most Valuable Offensive Player awards was Kaitlyn Kerr, after garnering numerous awards including NSCAA Third Team All-America, All-ACC and NCAA College Cup All-Tournament Team. A product of Bensalem, Pa., Kerr registered 11 goals, five assists and 27 points on the season for the Blue Devils. The 5-5 midfielder tied a school-record with six game-winning goals on the year. Kerr posted five of her 11 goals in the NCAA Tournament.
Natasha Anasi was given the Most Valuable Defensive Player award, after helping lead a Blue Devil defense to a school-record 16 shutouts on the season. Anasi, who is from Arlington, Texas, started all 27 contests on her way to being named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, NSCAA First Team All-America, Soccer America MVP First Team, All-ACC First Team and a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist. She also collected one goal and one assist on the year.
Earning Most Inspirational Player was redshirt senior Molly Lester, who started six of 26 contests on the year. After dealing with injuries her first three years at Duke, Lester registered six goals and seven assists over her final two years with the Blue Devils. Lester notched the game-winning goal in the season opener in each of the last two seasons. A 5-4 forward, Lester attended the Fuqua School of Business in 2011-12 obtaining a master’s in markets and management.
After making an immediate impact on the Blue Devils in 2011, rookie Kelly Cobb was named the winner of the Newcomer of the Year award. A native of Chugiak, Alaska, Cobb totaled 11 goals, nine assists and 31 points on the year. Her six game-winning goals tied a school record. The 5-9 forward became just the fifth Blue Devil to register a goal in each of her first two collegiate starts. Cobb earned numerous honors including Soccer America All-Freshman First Team, NSCAA Second team All-Southeast Region, All-ACC Freshman and All-ACC Second Team.
The staff presented the Coaches Award to redshirt junior Ashley Rape, who started the first four contests before suffering a torn ACL against Notre Dame in August. The injury marked the third ACL for the Dallas, Texas, product. A key member of the defensive unit, Rape helped lead Duke to 21 shutouts in three years.
As a team, Duke advanced to the NCAA College Cup for the first time since 1992 and registered its first ACC regular season title since 1995 with a school-record eight victories. The Blue Devils lost in the NCAA Championship to Stanford, 1-0, and collected a school-record 16 shutouts on the season.
Duke returns all 11 starters and 91.0 percent of its scoring in 2012 as Church enters his 12th season with the Blue Devils.