Siena Women’s Soccer senior captain Tara Sobierajski has been named the 2016 Metro Athletic Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. The Rockaway, New Jersey standout also became the first player in program history to be heralded as a three-time First Team All-MAAC selection.
Sobierajski headlined seven All-League selections for the defending MAAC Champions who were rewarded accordingly for a stellar regular season in which the Saints finished in second place in the conference standings. Siena tied a program record set in 2004 with three First Team All-MAAC selections, as Sobierajski was joined on the league’s top squad by junior midfielders Michele Tremblay and Madison Vasquez. Senior captain Kristen Connors and freshman goalkeeper Taylor Dorado earned Second Team All-MAAC acclaim, and freshmen Ariel Somple and Hanna Longendyke were named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team.
Sobierajski becomes the second player in program history to be named a MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, joining Noel Cox (2004). Other major MAAC award winners included regular season champion Monmouth’s Krissy Turner (BSN Sports MAAC Coach of the Year), Alexis McTamney (Offensive Player of the Year) and Maddie Gibson (Rookie of the Year), and Rider’s Bethany-May Howard (Goalkeeper of the Year).
A Preseason First Team All-MAAC honoree, Sobierajski has quarterbacked a back line for the Saints which ranks second in the conference in goals against average (0.95) and tied for second in shutouts (six). The only Saint to play in all 1,698 minutes this fall, she has appeared in all but three minutes over her brilliant four-year career in which she’s started a program record 81 matches.
One of the most versatile two-way center backs in conference history, Sobierajski has also been a consistent offensive weapon and ranks second in the MAAC and 31st nationally with eight assists this season. She broke the program’s all-time career record for assists on Oct. 12 at Monmouth, and has now totaled 23 for her career.
A two-time MAAC Offensive Player of the Week this fall (Sept. 12, Sept. 19), Tremblay is tied for second in the MAAC in game-winning goals (three), tied for eighth in goals (six) and ranks second on Siena with 15 points. The Goffstown, New Hampshire native has started all 18 matches this season, has recorded a pair of multi-goal performances, and was also recently named a CoSIDA Academic All-District I First Team honoree.
After leading the Saints during their MAAC Championship run with 16 points a season ago, Vasquez has picked up right where she left off this fall. The West Babylon, New York product has totaled 15 points on five goals and five assists. A Preseason All-MAAC selection, Vasquez has started all 18 matches and leads Siena with 45 markers including 21 of which have been on target.
A midfielder over her first three seasons donning the Green and Gold, Connors made a seamless transition to back line this fall where she joined forces with Sobierajski to create arguably the most formidable center backfield tandem in the MAAC. The Clifton Park, New York standout has started 15 matches and, despite the transition to the backfield this season, has continued her scoring prowess tallying a career-high nine points on three goals and three assists. Two of her scores came in a key come-from-behind 2-1 win at Fairfield Sept. 25 in which she netted the game-winning golden goal in overtime.
A local product from nearby Guilderland, New York, Dorado has appeared in 14 matches during her freshman season making 13 starts in goal for the Saints. She ranks second in the MAAC in goals against average (0.99), fourth in shutouts (four) and fifth in save percentage (.767). Dorado has posted clean sheets in each of her last three appearances, and carries a shutout streak of 275:32 into the MAAC Tournament.
Somple has seen action in 15 matches (one start) and tallied two points while attempting six shots. The speedy midfielder from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey scored her first collegiate goal in Siena’s 4-0 shutout win over Niagara Oct. 5.
Longendyke has started all 18 matches while playing an impressive left back for the Saints during her rookie campaign, and ranks second on the squad with 1,611 minutes played. The Hurley, New York product has also been heavily involved on the offensive side of the field, tallying seven points on a goal and five assists, which is tied with Vasquez for eighth most in the MAAC. Longendyke scored the game-winning goal in Siena’s victory over LIU Brooklyn Sept. 11.
The Saints have also continued to excel in the classroom this fall and had 12 student athletes named to the MAAC All-Academic Team, an honor reserved for those who have completed at least two semesters at their current institution and who possess a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or higher. Siena’s honorees were seniors Connors and Andrea Pereira, juniors Ashley Carpenter, Kelsey Horst, Kaela Mahoney, Emily Santos, Casey Scott, Tremblay and Vasquez, and sophomores Gabby Albano, Lindsay Mulligan and Kamryn Peffley.
The Saints are the No. 2 seed for the MAAC Championships and begin their quest for a third title and second straight on Friday when they face fourth seeded Quinnipiac in a semifinal matchup at 8 p.m. in West Long Branch, New Jersey on ESPN3.