Sports

Stanford's Sullivan is nation's top freshman in soccer

 

Stanford midfielder Andi Sullivan was named national women's Freshman of the Year by Soccer America on Wednesday.

Sullivan becomes the second Stanford player to receive that honor, following Lindsay Taylor in 2008. It also gives her a sweep of freshman of the year honors, joining those from Top Drawer Soccer and the Pac-12 Conference.

Sullivan also becomes the 11th Stanford player since 2000 to be named to the Soccer America All-Freshman first team, and the first since teammate Chioma Ubogagu in 2011.

In addition, senior midfielder Lo'eau LaBonta, a team captain and the Cardinal's leading scorer, was named to the Soccer America MVPs second team, the publication's All-America squad.

"Andi is amazing in all aspects," Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe said at a College Cup press conference. "Usually, you can find deficiencies that you want to improve in players, but Andi's one of the rare ones -- she's got the total package. She's good at ball winning, she's good at going forward with the ball and creating goals. She's a good leader, she's got an excellent work ethic. She's a great athlete. Technically, she's very sound.

"She's been amazing for this team and has been a rock for us this entire season. She's really well respected by everybody and everyone really respects what she's doing for the squad, so that speaks volumes for what she's done."

Sullivan made an immediate impact. In the season opener, Sullivan's play as a holding midfielder allowed Stanford to win at nemesis North Carolina, 1-0, in overtime. It was Stanford's first victory over the Tar Heels in 13 tries.

Sullivan had missed all of preseason camp while captain of the U.S. national team at the Under-20 World Cup until the week of the UNC match. Despite the fatigue of the World Cup and the preparation for it, Sullivan did not a training session once she arrived at Stanford following the tournament.

Sullivan started all but two matches, and those were as injury precaution. Nearly all her starts were as a holding midfielder, but she also filled in as a central defender for three matches. Sullivan had one goal and four assists, but even more importantly, was a vital cog in a defense that earned 17 shutouts – the second-most in school history – and in igniting the offense.

Her play was crucial to Stanford's 20-2-3 record, No. 3 final ranking, and run into the NCAA College Cup semifinals.

— Stanford Athletics

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