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Nov. 8, 2012

Women’s soccer celebrates all-league senior, freshman

By Stephanie Metzger

Despite some key injuries and a subpar season, Cleveland State’s women’s soccer team prided two players receiving league honors for their strong seasons this year.

Senior Jaime Avona was selected for the All-Horizon League second team and freshman Vickie Havas was voted to the all-newcomer team.

Nominees for the Horizon All-League teams are submitted by the coaches. The team’s final rank in the league determines how many players the coach may select. Finishing eighth in the league, Cleveland State nominated three players.

Avona ranked second in the Horizon League in goals scored with five and ranked seventh in points with 12. Avona started in 68 of the 70 matches she appeared in for the Vikings and sits fifth in the Cleveland State women’s soccer rankings for points with 22.

Head coach Derrek Falor noted that Avona’s nomination was the result of four years of hard work and dedication.

“I think Jaime was more a culmination of her four years,” Falor explained. “Some seniors, they don’t keep improving, and I thought that Jaime certainly played her best soccer at the end of her career. I’m so proud of her for that, and she was a really strong leader. She was that player in the middle of the field for us that had a motor that never stopped.”

Avona’s commitment to the team was reflected during the final game of the season, where she fought through a pulled hamstring to play the entire match against Milwaukee.

“She gutted out 90 minutes while most people would have been sitting on the bench,” Falor said.

Havas, a freshman from Stow, Ohio, led the team in goals and assists with five of each and 15 points. She also ranked second in the Horizon League in goals, assists and points.

Falor was impressed by Havas’s quick adaptation and offensive output during her first season with the Vikings.

“I think as a freshman, given that she did lead us in goals and assists, that was a huge statement,” Falor noted. “Often times, freshmen take a while to ease into the game and I don’t think she did. I think she was effective right away.”

Falor accredited Havas’ success to her affinity for one-on-one play.

“She’s a very good one versus one offensive player and I think that’s why she ended up finding the back of the net or was able to create assists for other players to score,” Falor said.

Since Havas was such a reliable one-on-one player, she was able to break down opponent defense, which is something Falor hopes to see more of in the future.

“She’s a lot faster than you would give her credit for just looking on first blush and she’s very quick, so when you put all of that together, we feel like she personifies that dynamic offensive player that other teams can’t stop with just one defender,” Falor said.

Plagued by injuries the Vikings finished the 2012 season with a 6-11 overall record. Falor said the team left eight of its scholarship players at home due to injuries during the last game of the season at Milwaukee, but Falor looks forward to the future and the return of key players.

“Getting all of those players back is really exciting,” he said. “We never at one time felt like we were healthy enough to put our best 11 on the field this year. I think the talent for us is definitely there.”

Tough times result in lessons learned, and this season’s young Vikings soccer squad hopes to come back with experience in its arsenal next year. Coach Falor knows his team must get better, but a projected roster full of sophomores and juniors is an extra advantage.

2012 may have been a season of rebuilding, but with two all-league honors and a handful of returning players, the 2013 Vikings soccer team should have a formidable foundation.