SWOSU soccer places nine on All-GAC team

SHAWNEE–The Southwestern Oklahoma State University soccer team has placed nine players on All-Great American Conference teams for the third straight year, led by unanimous first team selection Alimata Rabo.

The league announced the all-conference teams Wednesday night at a banquet held at the tournament host site Shawnee.

The Bulldogs also had five student-athletes pick up GAC Scholar Athlete awards, as Steffi Silvera earned Elite status for the second consecutive year while Erica Brunet, Kylee Bertrand, Kodi Holloway and Alexis Fowler received Distinguished Scholar Athlete status for their hard work in the classroom.

Rabo is joined on the first team by teammates Sandra Nabweteme and Brunet. The All-GAC second team featured four Bulldogs in Bertrand, Memory Phiri, Sarah Wilson and Silvera while Ashlynn Collier and Lauren Tonkovich garnered honorable mentions.

With the latest selections, head coach Mark Persson has now had 64 players earn All-GAC selections since the formation of the conference in 2011. Persson is the winningest coach in SWOSU Soccer history with a current record of 105-67-21 and he picked up his 100th victory at SWOSU earlier this season with a win over Southern Nazarene on Oct. 4.

Rabo, a junior, earns the third consecutive First Team All-GAC selection of her career. The Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, native has had a stellar season up to this point, leading the conference in goals scored (23) and points (56) while ranking in the top-two nationally in both categories. For her strong play, Rabo has been named the GAC Offensive Player of the Week a league-leading four times this season.

Nabweteme, who is in her junior season, also picks up her third straight First Team All-GAC selection as a Bulldog. The Kampala, Uganda, native has played a key role for the Bulldogs this season by leading the conference and ranking second in NCAA Division II for assists with 14 and she ranks second to Rabo in both goals and points.

Brunet, a senior, rounds out the trio of first-team selections by becoming a four-time All-GAC selection with three consecutive first-team honors. A native of Brampton, Onatario, Canada, she was named the GAC Defensive Player of the Week back on September 11 and has brought a veteran leadership to a SWOSU defense that has held opponents to 1.24 goals per game. A CoSIDA Academic All-American last season, Brunet was also named a GAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete of the Year for her work in the classroom.

Bertrand, a senior from Brampton, Ontario, Canada, earns Second Team All-GAC recognition for the first time and has earned her second All-GAC selection of her career. She has been a consistent presence for SWOSU starting in all 17 games this season and has assisted on two goals.

Phiri, a senior, picks up a Second Team All-GAC selection which is the first in her career as a Bulldog. She has been named the GAC Offensive Player of the Week twice this season on September 18 and October 16. Phiri has been a key part of the SWOSU offensive effort scoring 11 goals this season.

Wilson, a senior, earns Second Team All-GAC recognition for the fourth consecutive season as she has been an instrumental part on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs playing in all 17 games this season. The Cleveland native has spent all four years at SWOSU and has recorded four goals in her career.

In her senior season Silvera picks up her first All-GAC selection with a Second Team All-GAC selection to go along with claiming the Elite Scholar Athlete of the Year recognition with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. A native of Luque, Paraquay, Silvera has been reliable guarding the net for the Bulldogs and named the GAC Golakeeper of the Week back on September 11. For the year, she has recorded 75 saves this season with a goals against average of 1.24, including three solo shutouts on the season.

Collier, a senior from Yukon, earns honorable mention for the second time in her career. She has appeared in all 17 games this season and has spent four years at SWOSU totaling 11 goals and eight assists in her career including one goal and an assist this season.

Tonkovich, receives honorable mentions for the first time as a senior. The Plano, Texas native and three year member of the SWOSU Soccer team has started all 17 games for the Bulldogs this season and has been a consistent presence in the midfield all season.

SWOSU enters the GAC Tournament as the No. 2 seed and will face the No. 3-seed Harding on Thursday at 3 p.m. at the OBU Soccer Complex in Shawnee. With a victory, the Bulldogs would advance to play in the championship game Saturday at 7 p.m. against the winner of the other semifinal, which features league-champion Oklahoma Baptist and Ouachita. The tournament winner will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Division II Central Regional Championship tournament.

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