In a June 15 article, we released the 31 finalists for The Bootleg Honor Roll for the 2009-2010 school year.
The criteria are as follows:
Each academic year, The Bootleg's Honor Roll will recognize the top ten Stanford student-athletes who have performed at an exceptional level, with athletic accomplishments that are both extraordinary and inspirational. While achieving athletic success, these athletes should also have displayed uncommon leadership, sportsmanship and respect towards their fellow teammates and opponents. Finally, these honorees' performances and actions should also demonstrate their love for their particular sport as well as their school pride, the famed "Spirit of Stanford."
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We do have an Honor Roll member who won a Heisman Trophy, but it's probably not who you would have guessed back in November.
Okay, technically it's called the Hermann Trophy, but it's awarded to the best player in college soccer. It's the sport's Heisman and Stanford had never won one until Kelley O'Hara captured the hardware this past fall. Hey Mark Ingram, where's your soccer team?
O'Hara, a 2010 graduate in science, technology and society with a focus in environmental engineering and product design, led the NCAA last season with a Stanford-record 26 goals in as many games. Coupled with her 13 assists, second-most on the team to fellow Honor Roll Finalist Christen Press and third-best in school history, O'Hara's goal-per-game tare led her to 65 points (goals count double), which also led the NCAA and set a school record.
It was not simply sheer quantity, though. As any World Cup watcher knows, all goals are not created equal. Timing matters, and as any excellent striker must, O'Hara had an excellent sense for the moment. She scored a team-high nine game-winning goals in Stanford's 2009 campaign, including hat tricks against Oregon and hated Cal, and the tying and go-ahead goals against No. 7 Boston College in a win that launched Stanford to the College Cup, the sport's Final Four.
O'Hara was no ball hog either, as her 26 goals came in just 134 shots for nearly 20 percent accuracy, compared to Stanford's 13 percent accuracy and opponents' seven percent accuracy on the season. She converted both of her penalty kicks, accounting for two of Stanford's three PK goals on the season.
O'Hara's 2009 season was a statistical masterpiece, and that it led Stanford to its first ever NCAA Finals also did not go unnoticed. In those finals, a 1-0 loss to North Carolina and a stifling Tar Heel defense, the Cardinal were outshot 19-9, but O'Hara was one of just three starters to manage a shot. (And as Clint Dempsey learned against England, shots matter a lot. Kick the ball toward the net, and good things tend to happen.) The game marked Stanford's only loss of the season as, much like women's basketball, women's soccer went undefeated the entire season, save for when it clashed with the No. 1 team in the country. And just like women's basketball required some standout performances from Nneka Ogwumike and Jayne Appel, among others, to knock on the door of the Promised Land, so too did O'Hara and Press lead women's soccer to its best season in school history.
O'Hara graduates Stanford with 57 career goals, second-best in school history to one Julie Foudy, who went on to play in three World Cups and four Olympics as the best women's soccer player Stanford has ever produced. O'Hara's 344 shots are second-best in school history, and her 32 assists and 87 games played fourth. An All-American and Georgia Player of the Year in high school, O'Hara was All Pac-10 all four seasons at Stanford, including a three-time First Teamer.
O'Hara was drafted to the Bay Area's FC Gold Pride of the Women's Pro Soccer league in January, and at midseason, has a goal, two assists and seven starts in as many games. She was named to the WPS All-Star Game this past week as a reserve, has had a call-up with the senior US National Team, and played for the U-23, U-21 and U-20 US National Teams internationally.
While Julie Foudy sets a mighty high bar for any soccer player, if there's any Stanford futballer who might reach or clear it, it's Kelley O'Hara. They say the Stanford bubble insulates its occupants from the world, but O'Hara did quite the opposite in bringing the globe's game to the Farm. We salute The Bootleg's second Honor Roll winner for her four years of accomplishment and hopefully Stanford soccer, led by rising senior Press, will find a way to replace O'Hara come fall, as her absence should be sorely missed.
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