TOWSON, Md. --- The Moravian College women's soccer team has had four players named to the 2016 Landmark All-Conference Teams with sophomore forward Gabby Stelzmiller and junior defender Lauren Bertucci on the First Team and sophomore midfielder Shae Duka and junior goalie Jessica Lawton making the Second Team while freshman defender Paige Weiss was honored as the Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year and Head Coach Jeff Ykoruk was selected as the Co-Coach of the Year.
The Greyhounds finished the 2016 season with a 10-7-1 overall record as the squad reached the Landmark Conference Tournament for the second consecutive fall, earning the second seed this year and a 4-3 double-overtime win over third seed The Catholic University of America in the semifinals. The Hounds saw the season come to an end with a 2-0 loss to top seed The University of Scranton in the Landmark Conference Championship match.
Ykoruk finished his third season leading the Blue and Grey's program and his 13th as a collegiate head coach. He earned his 100th career victory on October 5 with a 3-1 victory over King's College.
"Jeff is an outside of the box professional who brings an unparalleled set of skills and experiences to Moravian Athletics," stated Director of Athletics & Recreation George L. Bright. "He has demonstrated a keen ability to implement coaching strategies to inspire and elevate our women's soccer program to a championship-caliber team. This honor is well deserved."
Weiss played in all 18 matches in her debut season and netted three goals including one game-winning goal. She scored all of her goals off of corner kicks this fall.
"Paige is amazing in the fact she plays likes is a junior or senior," stated Ykoruk. "She is one of the best ball winning central backs and refuses to allow attacking players to beat her. Her strength and athleticism makes her very difficult to attack against. She came up big in the attacking side and was very dangerous in corners. She scored three very important goals off of corners and gave us another threat in those scenarios."
Stelzmiller led the Greyhounds in scoring this fall with 11 goals and three assists for 25 points. She added three game-winning goals and had a pair of hat tricks, one in Ykoruk's 100th career win and the other in the Landmark Conference Semifinal win over Catholic.
"I'm very happy for Gabby and all that she has accomplished this season," commented Ykoruk. "Her transition to becoming a target forward after playing in the back is going really well. It's very difficult to do and she has handled it so well. She works so hard and is very coachable. She is one of the fastest strikers in the region and can change a game in a blink of an eye. She really lifted our team in big moments and she continues to get better each game."
Bertucci earned a spot on the Landmark All-Conference Team for the third straight season and her first nod on the First Team after being on the Second Team the last two falls. Bertucci had one assist in 2016 while helping the Greyhounds allow just 22 goals in 18 matches, and she has two goals and an assist for five points in her career.
"Lauren was our leader in the back line all season," Ykoruk said. "She has played at such a high level and her intensity and ball winning abilities are great. She is one of the best players in the air and she was relentless in her play this season. We were able to achieve what we did largely due to her shutting down the opponents' top attacking threats."
Lawton moved into the starting goalie role this fall and posted a 1.15 goals-against average with 78 saves, four shutouts and a 9-6-1 record in 1,492 minutes in goal. Lawton appeared in 17 matches for the Greyhounds this season.
"I'm very happy for Jess to achieve this honor," Ykoruk explained. "She has overcome so much and really stepped up and performed very well in big games. She is a goalkeeper that doesn't shrink in pressure situations; instead she rises to the challenge. She is our vocal leader in the back and helps organize our back line. She works so harder with our keeper trainer and the hard work paid off."
Duka netted one goal, and it was a game-winner in her first season with the program as she played in all 18 matches with 17 starts.
"Shae was our anchor in the central part of the midfield," noted Ykoruk. "She is very athletic and covers so much ground during a game. We ask everything from her and she always delivers. Her focus is outstanding and her ability to stay calm in pressured filled moments allows for her teammates to do the same. She was able to score the game-winning goal that clinched the playoff spot for us and deserved that big moment."