Wenglinksi named National Player of the Year

GVL Archive
Defender Jenna Wenglinski was awarded NCAA DII Player of the Year

GVL Archive Defender Jenna Wenglinski was awarded NCAA DII Player of the Year

Jon Adamy

After taking home consecutive National Championships, senior GVSU women’s soccer defender Jenna Wenglinski has been named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Women’s NCAA Division II National Player of the Year.

The GVSU women’s soccer team produced the Division II National Player of the Year for the second consecutive season and a second time in program history after Irie Dennis won the award for the Lakers in 2009. The Lakers set a record with four athletes named to the NCAA DII All-America team this year as Wenglinski was joined by teammates Erin Mruz, Ashley Botts and Chelsea Parise.

Wenglinski, a senior, was a key player in the team’s season-long home shutout streak. The Lakers allowed just five goals on the season and none during the national tournament. GVSU also set an NCAA record by holding opponents scoreless in 21 games this season and finished with an overall record of 21-1-2.

When GVSU head coach Dave DiIanni told Wenglinski and her teammates of the awards before winter break, the announcement came as a surprise to her. She said she had no idea she was going to be receiving the honor.

Both Wenglinski and DiIanni recognized the accomplishments of the team as a whole played a significant role in her receiving the award.

“When you’re successful as a team, obviously individuals are going to benefit from that,” DiIanni said. “She’s someone we relied on for the last couple years, and I think other people recognize that, too.”

Wenglinski said the coaching staff was one of the main reasons she decided to play for GVSU, and she recognized DiIanni for his role in her success. Wenglinski also gave credit to her team for the award and said her teammates always had the mentality to allow as few shots on goal as possible.

“It’s definitely a team award,” she said. “It’s a great group of girls we have here, and they’re going to be very successful next year.”

Parise, GVSU’s sophomore goalkeeper, said Wenglinski has grown throughout her career and has proven that she is a great defender. Parise also had praise for Wenglinski’s leadership abilities on the team.

“People know that she cares,” she said. “She wants the best out of the team. She’s emotionally invested and that’s a really good quality to have.”

From a performance standpoint, coach DiIanni said Wenglinski is an intelligent player that is able to read the game well. He said her demeanor on the field is one of her biggest strengths.

“She’s very calm, very composed and kind of a calming influence, and you see that in her play,” he said. “She makes other people on our team better.”

DiIanni also gave credit of his team’s success to the athletes and the rest of his coaching staff.

“It really says a lot to what kind of student-athletes were bringing in,” he said. “The players making a commitment to the culture and to one another and to your goals, that’s what you want for your program.”

Wenglinski will receive the NSCAA National Player of the Year award alongside her All-American teammates Saturday in Baltimore, Md.

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