By leading Duke’s defense to its best goals-against average in program history after being thrown into the starting center back role early in the season, Natasha Anasi became just the second Blue Devil to earn NSCAA first team All-America honors Friday.
To open the season, the sophomore had been a starting midfielder. Anasi moved to the back line when center back Ashley Rape tore her ACL in just the third game of the season.
She seamlessly transitioned into the leadership role and piloted Duke to 16 shutouts, the third-best total in the nation and a program record. The Blue Devils also set a program record for goals-against average at .478, eighth-best nationally.
For her performance, Anasi first won ACC defensive player of the year, became a semifinalist for the Hermann trophy, college soccer’s most prestigious award, and then earned first team All-America accolades. She joins Kelly Walbert, the program’s leading scorer, as Duke’s only first team honorees. Walbert, who holds nine other team records, received first team honors in 1993 and 1994.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Kerr was named a third team All-American after a 5-goal NCAA tournament performance.
A year after earning recognition as a NSCAA first team All-American on defense, junior Andrew Wenger was named to the team again Saturday—this time, as a center forward.
Wenger, the 2011 ACC offensive player of the year, led the conference with 42 points, which ranks fourth nationally. His 17 goals also tie him for the most in Blue Devil history. The Lilitz, Pa. native had two hat tricks and five multi-goal games this season.
He also joins Creighton’s Ethan Finlay and North Carolina’s Billy Shuler as finalists for the Hermann Trophy, given to the best player in collegiate soccer. The award will be announced Jan. 6 in St. Louis. Wenger would be the sixth Hermann Award winner in program history, and the first since Ali Curtis in 1999.
In 2009, Wenger was named ACC freshman of the year, and he was ACC defensive player of the year the next season. He has also been named to the All-ACC academic team in each of his three seasons with the Blue Devils.
—from staff reports
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