What a wonderful story Caitlin Cosme’s Blue Devil career has been.
A fairly highly-touted recruit from Long Island, she was stuck on the bench for almost two years, but worked her way into a starting role in her sophomore NCAA tournament. By the end of her junior year, she was one half of one of the best centre back duos in the nation. And her senior year, she was an invaluable piece of one of the best defenses in the nation. Good on the ACC’s head coaches for recognizing this and naming her an All-ACC defender to cap off this magical story.
Oh wait—they didn’t.
Somehow the ACC women’s soccer head coaches, left a top-five centre-back in the conference off of their postseason awards. Despite her team ranking fourth in goals-against average and third in shutout percentage in the ACC, one of Duke’s two best full-time defenders found her name scrubbed from the awards list. That’s an inexcusable oversight.
The excellence of Cosme’s defense cannot be understated. Duke’s defense was reliant on her, fellow centre-back Taylor Mitchell, and goalie Ruthie Jones to defend opposing counters all by themselves. The trio was so spectacular that head coach Robbie Church moved standout flank defender Delaney Graham to the wing and pushed his wing backs farther upfield, knowing that they could handle counters all by themselves.
In fact, Cosme wasn’t just a defender. Cosme finished tied for second on the team in goals scored, including the tying goal against Virginia. I’m of the opinion that defense and offense together is more valuable than just one or the other, but I’m not a head coach.
You know who did make an All-ACC team? Graham, who is easily one of the best full backs in the conference… but only started back there for three games! She started at wing for eight!
It’s true for most sports that players and coaches are much worse than media at ranking what happens on the field—just look at the United Soccer Coaches Poll or the NFL Top 100—and I say this as a media member keenly aware of her own mediocrity in this realm. But the ACC clearly overlooked the elite defense of Cosme and undoubtedly should have had selected her to an All-ACC team.