KANSAS CITY – University of Dayton junior defender Kathleen Beljan was named to the prestigious Missouri Athletic Club’s 2010 Women’s Soccer Hermann Trophy Watch List. Considered the highest individual honor in intercollegiate soccer, the recipient of the MAC's Hermann Trophy is selected by Division I head coaches who are current members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
“Kathleen has been a big part of where this program has gotten to,” said Dayton head coach Mike Tucker. “She is such a great player. She really deserves to be there. Not only is it great for her, but this is an honor for our team.”
Beljan, of Hilliard, Ohio, is the first in the history of the Flyer women’s soccer program to earn this recognition. She is the second Dayton player to be honored; Alex Torda, a 2010 UD graduate, was named to the MAC’s 2008 Men’s Soccer Watch List. In November, the list will be narrowed to 15 semifinalists. Three finalists will be named in early December. They will be invited to the Missouri Athletic Club on for a news conference on January 7, 2011, where the winner will be announced.
A Flyer team captain this season, Beljan is one of 45 players named to the 2010 Watch List, comprised of the best Division I collegiate players in the nation. She is the lone player from the Atlantic 10 on the list. There are 31 universities represented, including 2009 Final Four teams: Stanford, UCLA, Notre Dame and North Carolina.
A scrappy left back with outstanding speed and skill, Beljan has been key to Dayton’s defensive success the past two seasons. With her great pace and ability to build the attack from the back, Beljan helped the Flyers outscore opponents 49-10 last season.
“She is ultra-quick, she is great using her body to get between the ball and opponent, she gets in on tackles, and wins a ton of headers,” said Tucker. “A bonus is she is wonderful getting the offense started from the back. We never have to worry about her giving the ball away. She can do it all.”
The Flyers posted a school-record 15 shutouts, and their shutout percentage (.652) was seventh in the NCAA rankings summary. In addition, the Dayton defense had the second-best goals against average (GAA) in the nation at .406. The defense was paramount in Dayton reaching the 2009 NCAA second round after posting a shutout against No. 23 Marquette. Not only that, Beljan converted UD’s first penalty kick in a 4-3 shootout against the Golden Eagles.
With the success have come many honors for Beljan. She was selected to the All-America Freshman Team by SoccerBuzz.com and the Great Lakes Region All-Freshman Squad. She also earned Atlantic 10 All-Rookie and Second Team honors. Twice she has helped Dayton reach the A-10 Final, and both times she was named to the All-Championship team. In 2009 she was an NSCAA First Team All-Region pick and earned First Team A-10 accolades.
This season Beljan was one of five Flyers named to the all-conference preseason team.
Dayton finished the 2009 season with a 16-1-6 record and was ranked No. 25 in the NSCAA’s final postseason poll. The Flyers are receiving votes in the 2010 preseason poll (released Aug. 10), the first time they have accomplished that feat since the 2005 preseason poll.