OGDEN, Utah - Senior Rachel Leonard became just the second player in program history named Big Sky Defensive MVP while freshman Mikayla Reed was named co-Big Sky Top Newcomer among seven Hornets honored by the conference on Tuesday.
Senior midfielder Jennifer Lum joined Leonard on the all-Big Sky first team as the Hornets had multiple first team selections for the first time since 2010. Senior defender Alexa Heinzer was named to the second team while Reed, senior forward Adaurie Dayak, sophomore midfielder Caitlin Prothe, and sophomore goalkeeper Destiny Butcher were honorable mention.
Leonard is the first Sacramento State defender to win the Big Sky Defensive MVP award outright, as previous winner Kara Taylor was the Co-Defensive MVP in 2005. Leonard is the only Hornet that has been on the field for all 1,740 minutes the team has played this season, leading the squad to the second-best goals against average (0.98) in the Big Sky.
Leonard has anchored a Hornet defense that has permitted just 19 goals in 18 games with six shutouts and has permitted only 6.3 shots on goal per game. She has contributed offensively as a well with a goal and an assist in Big Sky conference play.
A true freshman out of Auburn, Reed shared the Big Sky Top Newcomer honor with Idaho's Emma Eddy and Weber State's Paige Stevens. Reed has started 17 of 18 games this year and also helped lead the Hornet defense from her midfield position. She has played the second most minutes among all Hornet non-defenders and has two assists on the offensive end.
A three-time all-Big Sky selection, Lum has been among the most dynamic players in the Big Sky during conference play, in which she totaled five goals and two assists for 12 points. During Sacramento State's program-record tying five-game winning streak through the end of the regular season, Lum had five goals and one assist. She ranks second in the Big Sky in shots on goal per game this season while starting all 18 games and leading all Hornet non-defenders with 1,583 minutes played.
Along with Leonard, Heinzer has been another stalwart of the Hornet back line playing in all 18 games and starting all conference games as the Hornets recorded six shutouts and allowed just one goal in six other games this year. She also had an assist on the only goal in Sacramento State's 1-0 win at Northern Colorado.
Butcher has been the primary Hornet goalkeeper this season and leads the Big Sky with a .820 save percentage. She is also third in the league in goals against average (1.06) and saves per game (5.13) and has been a part of five shutouts playing in 16 of 18 games.
Dayak scored two game-winning goals this season, including the winner against Weber State that qualified the Hornets for the Big Sky Tournament, and had a team high three assists during the regular season. Prothe has been another strong defender in the midfield and totaled one goal and one assist playing in all 18 games with 14 starts.
The Hornets enter the Big Sky Tournament as the No. 2 seed and will play a semifinal game at 10 a.m. Friday in the conference tournament in Cheney, Wash.