MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A conference-record six players from the top-ranked West Virginia University women’s soccer team were named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Soccer Team today.
All-America senior forward Michaela Abam
, a two-time All-Big 12 First Team honoree, is the lone unanimous selection. Named to the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy Watch List on Aug. 8, the Houston native was the 2016 co-Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year and led the conference in points (33), goals (12) and game-winning goals (5) last year.
Joining Abam on the preseason team are senior midfielder Carla Portillo
, a repeat honoree, senior defender Amandine Pierre-Louis
, junior forward Sh’Nia Gordon, junior defender Bianca St. Georges
and sophomore goalkeeper Rylee Foster
. Portillo and Pierre-Louis were named to the All-Big 12 First Team in 2016, while Foster landed on the All-Big 12 Second Team and All-Big 12 Freshman Team.
WVU’s six honorees top the previous conference record of five, first achieved by Texas in 2003 and matched by the Mountaineers at the onset of the 2013 season.
Five additional schools are represented on the team with one selection each.
The Big 12 Conference coaches selected the honorees and were not permitted to vote for their own players.
Portillo and Foster return this season after earning National Soccer Coaches Association of America (now United Soccer Coaches) All-Central Region Second Team honors in 2016.
Portillo, a native of Mississauga, Ontario, finished third on the team last year with a career single-season high 17 points (5 G, 7 A). Her assist total, also a single-season best, ranked No. 3 on the team and No. 4 in the Big 12.
Foster, a Cambridge, Ontario, native, was available for 17 matches last season and earned credit for eight of the team’s nation- and program-best 18 shutouts. She finished the year ranked No. 7 nationally, No. 1 in the Big 12, with a 0.42 goals-against average (GAA).
Gordon, an Ocklawaha, Florida, native, finished tied with Portillo last season with 17 points (7 G, 3 A). Her goal total, a career single-season high, ranked No. 2 on the team and No. 5 in the conference.
A native of Montreal, Quebec, Pierre-Louis aided the Mountaineer defense in posting 18 clean sheets and allowing just 12 opponent goals all year. She also tallied nine points on two goals, one a game-winning score, and a career single-season high five assists.
St. Georges, a native of St. Felix de Valois, Quebec, started 13 of the 14 matches she was available for last season. The 2015 Big 12 Freshman of the Year shows seven career assists.
The Big 12 Conference Soccer Preseason Poll will be announced tomorrow.