FOREST, Va. --- Lynchburg College earned two major individual honors and Bridewater College collected a league-best eight all-conference distinctions to headline the 2018 All-ODAC Women's Soccer Awards. Lynchburg forward Caitlin Mertens was tabbed the ODAC Player of the Year, while head coach Dr. Todd Olsen received ODAC Coach of the Year laurels in a vote of his peers.
Bridgewater midfielder Hanna Randolph was chosen the ODAC Rookie of the Year. Randolph-Macon College secured the remaining special recognition as midfielder Maddie Burns was selected the ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete by the league's sports information directors.
A little more than 40-percent of this season's honorees earned all-conference status a season ago. That list includes eight players on the 2018 All-ODAC First Team. Mertens along with Shenandoah University forward Emily Yergin and Roanoke College goalkeeper Chris Martin appeared on last year's top team. Four players stepped up a rung on the all-conference ladder from the All-ODAC Second Team in Lynchburg winger Kennedy Jakubek, Randolph-Macon string-puller Casey Kent and fullback Lexi Mallory, and Washington and Lee University standout Megan Engeland, who previously was a first teamer and ODAC Player of the Year two seasons ago.
The remaining first team repeat honoree dons Bridgewater gear as forward Bailey Kratz made the leap from last season's All-ODAC Third Team.
RELATED: 2017 All-ODAC Awards | All-Time All-Conference
Mertens, a senior from Succasunna, N.J., has put together her best season in the Hill City as she has nearly doubled her production from 2017. Mertens enters the NCAA Division III Tournament as the ODAC's leader in points (61) and goals scored (26) and is third in assists (9). The four-time ODAC Player of the Week recipient has registered at least one point in 23-of-26 games played with 10 game-winning goals. Six of those clutch efforts came in one-goal victories. Mertens notched a career-high seven points on three goals and one assist in a 6-0 win at Randolph in late September. That was the second of two straight hat-tricks that week with the other coming in a 5-0 non-conference triumph over St. Mary's (Md.). Mertens is currently riding a four game goal-scoring streak.
Dr. Olsen, in his 25th season guiding Lynchburg women's soccer, enjoys his 10th ODAC top coaching honor. He previously earned the recognition in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014. Olsen led the Hornets to their second straight and ODAC record 16th league title and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Lynchburg will be making its 19th appearance on the national stage, a setting that includes the 2014 NCAA Division III national championship. Olsen currently owns a 437-94-48 (.796) career record which includes an 18-2-2 mark this season.
Randolph, a freshman from Woodbridge, Va., jumped into the Eagles starting lineup from the first whistle of the season and didn't disappoint as she enters the NCAA Tournament eighth in the league in points (21), fourth in assists (7), and 12th in goals scored (7). She is tied for the team lead in points with Hunter Collier. Randolph has come up in the clutch twice this season, including her very first collegiate game as she scored the game's lone goal in an important non-conference win at Rowan. She did the same to open October as her tally was the only goal in a triumph at Roanoke.
Burns, a senior from Glen Allen, Va., shines both on and off the field for Randolph-Macon. In the classroom, Burns boasts a 4.05 grade point average as a business major with a concentration in management as well as a minor in communication studies. A perennial member of the ODAC All-Academic Team and R-MC Dean's List, Burns' career awards are numerous including a Presidential Scholarship and Teo Ruiz and Doug Foard Freshman Achievement Award in addition to memberships in Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership) and Omicron Delta Epsilon (economics) honor societies. Burns also serves as the national SAAC representative for the ODAC and partner Middle Athletic Conference.
On the field, Burns has been a versatile performer for head coach Jay Howell's squad as she has played and produced up and down the pitch. Primarily a midfielder this season, Burns got forward for a pair of goals to register four points. She'll graduate having collected 10 points on five goals over 58 games played including 39 starts.
Listed below are the 2018 All-ODAC Women's Soccer Awards. For more information, visit any of the participating schools' websites, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.
ODAC Player of the Year: Caitlin Mertens, Sr., F, Lynchburg
ODAC Coach of the Year: Dr. Todd Olsen, Lynchburg
ODAC Rookie of the Year: Hanna Randolph, Fr., M, Bridgewater
ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete: Maddie Burns, Sr., M, Randolph-Macon
|ALL-ODAC FIRST TEAM|
|Bailey Kratz +||Sr.||F||Bridgewater|
|Caitlin Mertens *||Sr.||F||Lynchburg|
|Emily Yergin *||Jr.||F||Shenandoah|
|Kennedy Jakubek ^||Sr.||M||Lynchburg|
|Casey Kent ^||So.||M||Randolph-Macon|
|Megan Engeland ^||Sr.||M||Washington and Lee|
|Lexi Mallory ^||Sr.||D||Randolph-Macon|
|Ann Marie Moffett||Sr.||D||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Erin Hoeh||So.||D||Washington and Lee|
|Chris Martin *||Jr.||GK||Roanoke|
|ALL-ODAC SECOND TEAM|
|Marli Hayward||Jr.||F||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Caroline Peters||Sr.||F||Washington and Lee|
|Sydney von Rosenberg||So.||F||Washington and Lee|
|Catherine Haufe +||Jr.||M||Bridgewater|
|Lucy Perry +||So.||M||Roanoke|
|Kennedi Anders||Fr.||M||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Caroline Coppinger ^||Jr.||M||Washington and Lee|
|Ryan Applewhite||Jr.||D||Virginia Wesleyan|
|ALL-ODAC THIRD TEAM|
|Alex Davidson ^||So.||F||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Anna Pedicone *||Jr.||F||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Rachel Cooke ^||Gr.||M||Lynchburg|
|Kara Rombough *||Sr.||M||Lynchburg|
|Rebecca Collimore +||Sr.||M||Shenandoah|
|Kristen Castle||Jr.||D||Washington and Lee|
|* 2017 First Team
^ 2017 Second Team
+ 2017 Third Team