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WUSA's best

Luckenbill, Wambach lead postseason award winners

Posted: Tuesday August 20, 2002 2:51 PM
Updated: Tuesday August 20, 2002 4:47 PM
  Goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill Kristin Luckenbill played every minute of the regular season for the Courage. Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

ATLANTA (CNNSI.com) -- The Women's United Soccer Association on Tuesday announced the recipients of six postseason awards: the Coach of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Goal of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year and Referee of the Year.

More awards will be handed out over the next two days, with the Founders Cup II concluding the season on Saturday at Herndon Stadium in Atlanta (PAX; 4 p.m. ET). The championship game pits the Carolina Courage against the Washington Freedom.

With the exception of the Goal of the Year, Executive of the Year and Team Fair Play award, the voting was conducted in the following three blocks: a media panel, WUSA players and WUSA coaches and general managers.

Coach of the Year: Mark Krikorian, Philadelphia Charge
Philadelphia Charge coach Mark Krikorian was the recipient based on his club's regular-season performance. Krikorian guided the Charge to their second consecutive postseason appearance and a second-place finish in the WUSA standings.

"This is a tremendous honor for me," said Krikorian. "I have to thank my players, who are a joy to coach, and assistant coaches, who also deserve a great deal of credit.

"Marcia and Jim are fabulous coaches. Each of them could have won this award as well. Marcia led Carolina from worst to first and Jim's club is in the Founders Cup."

Most reporters had pegged Philadelphia as a middle-of-the-pack team heading into the 2002 season. In his second season as head coach, Krikorian overcame the loss of his best player (Kelly Smith) and relied on a French newcomer (Marinette Pichon) to lead the club to an 11-4-6 record (39 pts.).

WUSA Award Winners
Award  Winner  Club 
Coach
of the Year 
Mark Krikorian  Philadelphia 
Goalkeeper
of the Year 
Kristin Luckenbill  Carolina 
Rookie
of the Year 
Abby Wambach  Washington 
Goal
of the Year 
Katia  San Jose CyberRays 
Humanitarian
of the Year 
Sissi  San Jose 
Referee
of the Year 
Kari Seitz    
 
 

Goalkeeper of the Year: Kristin Luckenbill, Carolina Courage
The Paoli, Pa. product led all WUSA goalkeepers with 12 wins and 114 saves while ranking second in winning percentage (66.7). Her outstanding performance in net was instrumental in helping the Courage capture the regular-season championship.

Coming off a 2001 season in which the Courage finished with a 6-12-3 mark (21 pts.), Luckenbill led Carolina from worst to first. The co-Player of the Month for April became the first 'keeper in WUSA history to record more than 100 saves in a single season. Her 12 victories in 2002 set a new league record for wins in a season. The former Dartmouth star was the only Courage player to play every minute (1,890) during the regular season.

Rookie of the Year: Abby Wambach, Washington Freedom
The 22-year-old Wambach finished tied for fourth in the WUSA in scoring (10 goals, 9 assists, 29 points) in 2002 to help the Freedom to its first-ever playoff berth. The second pick overall in the 2002 WUSA draft was Washington's leading scorer. She tied for seventh in WUSA goal scoring and tied for fifth in assists during the 2002 regular season. The 5-foot-10 University of Florida product began her WUSA career recording a goal or an assist in five consecutive games. The native of Rochester, N.Y., led all first-year players in scoring.

Goal of the Year: Katia, San Jose CyberRays
With a 19 percent increase in scoring from last season, the WUSA had its share of outstanding goals during the 2002 campaign. Brazilian striker Katia of the San Jose CyberRays provided the official best. On June 9 in a 3-1 win over San Diego, Katia's second goal of the game earned her the honor. Pretinha started the play in the 35th minute when she chipped a ball from the right flank to Katia, who collected the ball in the air and hammered in an amazing volley from a sharp angle into the far post. The Brazilian's ability to collect the pass and generate a shot before the ball hit the ground brought CyberRays fans to their feet. Fans selected the WUSA Goal of the Year by voting on WUSA.com.

Humanitarian of the Year: Sissi, San Jose CyberRays
San Jose CyberRays midfielder Sissi was honored for her work with Julius, a sixth-grade cancer patient in the Bay Area. The Humanitarian of the Year award recognizes the player who demonstrates exemplary community involvement and is the only WUSA award that does not recognize a player for her actions on the playing field.

Referee of the Year: Kari Seitz
The San Mateo, Calif., resident is currently officiating the inaugural Under-19 Women's World Championships. A two-year veteran of the WUSA, Seitz also refereed the Women's World Cup in 1999.

WUSA AWARDS ANNOUNCEMENT SCHEDULE

Tue. Aug. 20 -- Coach of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year Referee of the Year, Goal of the Year

Wed., Aug. 21 -- Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, All-WUSA First and Second team Team Community Service award, Team Fair Play award, Executive of the Year

Thur., Aug. 22 -- Most Valuable Player


 
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