Year in review: female athletes of the year

Carly Piper is BadgerNation.com's University of Wisconsin female athlete of the year

There is an undeniable flaw in BadgerNation.com's ranking of the top 15 female athletes at the University of Wisconsin for 2004-05: the absence of any member of the national champion lightweight crew team. The major reason for this is there is no organization that we could find that doles out honors for women's lightweight crew. So while we can pick out the stars for the other varsity teams on campus, lightweight crew is left in our mind's eye as an amalgam of excellent athletes, which we honored earlier this week as the top women's team on at UW this year.

As for the individual honors that are handed out below, the No. 2 women's team of the year — hockey — dominates the acclaim. And why not, considering that two of its members are likely Olympians in 2006? But even though we have five women's hockey players in the top 15, we had to leave off two forwards who combined for 81 points.

And while defenders Carla MacLeod and Molly Engstrom received strong consideration for the top spot, our athlete of the year goes to an Olympic gold medalist from 2004 — senior swimmer Carly Piper, one of the most successful athletes, male or female, in any sport, that the University of Wisconsin has ever known.

BadgerNation.com Female Athlete of the Year: Carly Piper, senior swimmer

Carly Piper was named the 2005 Big Ten swimmer of the year, the second such honor of her career, after winning the 500 freestyle and 1,650 freestyle at Big Ten Championships…. Also placed second at Big Ten meet in the 800 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay… She broke her own Big Ten record in 1,650 free in 16:01.74… First-team All-Big Ten… Finished career with 13 Big Ten titles (10 individual, three relay)… At NCAA Championships Piper finished fourth in 500 freestyle, fourth in 1,650 freestyle, seventh in 800 freestyle relay, 11th in 400 freestyle relay, 12th in 400 medley relay and 14th in 200 freestyle… All American in three events, honorable mention All-American in three events…. Finished career with 11 All-American honors and six honorable mention All-American honors… Team Captain and co-MVP… Had at least 20 first-place finishes in meets this year… First place in 400 meter IM at World Championship trials, qualified for World Championships…. Part of gold-medal winning and world-record setting 800 freestyle relay team at 2004 Olympics… Qualified for Olympics with a fifth-place finish in the 200 freestyle at U.S. Olympic Trials.

No. 2 — Molly Engstrom, senior defenseman, hockey

Engstrom was a Top-10 finalist for Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as one of the best players in college hockey… American Hockey Coaches Association first-team All-American, just the second first-team All-American in Badger women's hockey history… WCHA Defensive Player of the Year for second consecutive season… USCHO.com second-team All-American… Second at UW with 11 multiple point games…. Fifth on team in points (32), sixth in assists (19) and tied for fifth in goals (13)…. +28 plus/minus ranking was tied for seventh at UW…. Among national leaders in goals and points per game among defenders. Member of U.S. World Championship team and a potential 2006 Olympian.

No. 3 — Carla MacLeod, senior defenseman, hockey

MacLeod, like her fellow blue liner Engstrom, is a world-class hockey player and was a Top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award… USCHO.com national Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-American… Two-time second-team All-American by the American Hockey Coaches Association… Earned second-team All-WCHA and was named to WCHA all-tournament team. She scored two goals in final minutes of regulation to send conference championship game with Minnesota into overtime… Team captain… Had six goals and 20 assists for 26 points. Fifth on team in assists… +29 plus/minus ranking was sixth at UW… Finished career with a +84 plus/minus ranking, the best in school history… Member of Canadian World Championship team and a potential 2006 Olympian.

No. 4 — Jolene Anderson, freshman guard, basketball

Clearly the top underclassman among Badger women's athletes, let alone the top freshman…. Anderson was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a third-team All-Big Ten selection… Led team in scoring with 17.8 points per game, which ranked fourth in the Big Ten. Sixth in the Big Ten in 3-point field goals, making 1.89 per game (53 of 165)…. Scored in double figures in all but two games, reached 20-point plateau 11 times and led team in scoring in 16 games… Second on team in assists (94) and rebounds (5.6 per game)… Only the fifth Badger ever named freshman of the year… This spring she became the second Badger to ever make a USA Basketball final roster, when she made the U19 World Championships team.

No. 5 — Amy Vermeulen, junior midfielder/forward, soccer; senior forward, hockey

First-team All-Big Ten soccer player after leading UW with 12 goals, 11 assists and 35 points… She was third in Big Ten in points, assists, assists per game (0.48), goals, goals per game (0.52) and points per game (1.52)… Also received Soccer Buzz first-team All-Great Lakes and NSCAA/adidas third-team All-Great Lakes… Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after scoring five goals Sept. 10-12, including a hat trick against Boston College… Team Offensive MVP… On the women's hockey team, she contributed three goals and three assists in 26 games and had a +8 plus/minus ranking.

No. 6 — Sheila Shaw, junior middle blocker, volleyball

Honorable mention All-American and named to All-Mideast Regional by AVCA… Unanimous All-Big Ten… conference leader with 1.36 blocks per game, the 11th best mark in UW history… Led team and ranked eighth in Big Ten with 3.81 kills per game… double figure kills in team-high 25 matches… Averaged 1.93 blocks per game in NCAA Tournament… ranks third in UW history in career hitting percentage (.306).

No. 7—Jill Odenthal, senior outside hitter, volleyball

American Volleyball Coaches Association third-team All-American…. NCAA Regional All-Tournament team honoree. She recorded a career high 25 kills in UW's Sweet Sixteen win over Hawaii… Honorable mention All-Big Ten… Averaged 3.06 kills per game this year. Finished career ranked eighth in school history with 1,246 kills and fourth with a .292 hitting percentage.

No. 8 — Katrina Rundhaug, sophomore, cross country and track and field

Won the Big Ten Outdoor 10,000 meter title and placed 13th in the event at the NCAA Outdoor Championships… Placed fourth in the 3,000 and the 5,000 at the Big Ten indoors… The Badgers' first or second finisher in all six cross country meets last fall, including a 13th place finish at the Big Ten Championship and 11th at the Great Lakes Regional… She placed 59th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

No. 9 — Sara Bauer, sophomore center, hockey

Second-team All-WCHA… Led Badgers with 26 goals, 29 assists and 55 points. Also led team with 17 multiple point games, five multiple goal games and five multiple assist games. Tied for team lead with a +34 plus/minus ranking. Ranked 13th in the nation in points and goals.

No. 10—Kris Zacher, senior short stop, softball

Zacher's .399 batting average was second best in UW history and was fifth in Big Ten this season… slugging percentage (.658) ranked fourth in Big Ten and set new UW record…. Tied for third in league in triples (5) and set new UW record… tied her own UW single-season hits record with 63… 38 runs scored was second most in UW history…. On-base percentage (.438) was second in UW history… Batted .750 in the sixth inning of games (15 of 20 with five home runs)… Finished her career as Badgers' all-time leader in runs (113), stolen bases (41), triples (12) and at bats (649). Tied for first all-time in home runs (20), second in hits (201), second in slugging percentage (.481), third in batting average (.310), fourth in on-base percentage (.356), fourth in runs batted in (87) and third in assists (412)… third-team All-Big Ten… Team co-MVP.

No. 11 — Melissa Talbot, junior multiple events, track and field

Won Big Ten outdoor heptathlon title for second consecutive year, posting a career best 2,479 points. She placed 19th in the heptathlon at the NCAA outdoor championships… redshirted during indoor track season.

No. 12 — Nikki Lennart, senior, openweight rowing

Became the first UW women's openweight rower to earn first-team All-American honors in the seven years the sport has been recognized by the NCAA. Member of the Badgers' varsity eight boat that finished 14th at the NCAA Rowing Championships.

No. 13 — Boo Gillette, senior catcher, softball

Batted .350 with 10 home runs, 34 RBI, 10 doubles, 36 runs scored, a .599 slugging percentage and a .389 on-base percentage… Third-team All-Big Ten for third straight year… Team co-MVP… Finished career tied for UW record with 20 home runs. Also second all-time in fielding percentage (.986), fourth in batting average (.309), third in on-base percentage (.369), fourth in slugging percentage (.471), third in doubles (33), third in hits (196), third in runs batted in (95) and second in at-bats (635).

No. 14 — Caitlin Burke, sophomore, tennis

Led Wisconsin with 23 overall wins and finished season on a 12-match winning streak at No. 2 singles…. All-Big Ten selection… Ranked as high as No. 83. Finished season ranked No. 85… Team MVP… 23-9 overall record, 16-6 in duals and 7-3 in Big Ten… 5-4 versus ranked opponents… At No. 1 doubles with Katie McGaffigan, Burke was 5-3 in duals, 3-2 Big Ten. Teamed with McGaffigan for dramatic, 8-6 upset of the nation's top ranked doubles pair: Northwestern's Audra Cohen and Cristelle Grier.

No. 15 — Meghan Horras, junior goaltender, hockey

Established school records with nine shutouts and a 243-minute, 50-second streak without allowing a goal… Had a 1.75 goals against average and a .915 save percentage. Became full-time netminder after Christine Dufour's midseason injury and had five shutouts from that point on… She also had two assists this season. Led the nation in shutouts and was fourth in goals-against average… Compiled a 20-7-1 record.

Special honors – women's lightweight crew national championship rowers: seniors Eva Payne, Lindsey Rongstad, Katie Sweet and Sarah Liefke; juniors coxswain Erin Specht, Andrea Ryan, Anaya Drew and Mary Higgins; and sophomore Suzie Sagues (Orlando, Fla.).

Honorable Mention

Cross country and/or track and field

Erica Schoeller, junior multiple events: Placed second in pentathlon at Big Ten indoors. Redshirted outdoor season.

Hockey

Lindsay Macy, sophomore wing: second on team with 43 points and 19 goals. Third on team with 24 assists and tied for third with 10 multiple point games. Badgers were a perfect 14-0-0 when she scored a goal.

Sharon Cole, junior wing: third on team with 38 points and second on team with 27 assists. Tied for third with a +32 plus/minus ranking. Named to WCHA all-tournament team.

Kristen Witting, junior defenseman: tied for team lead with +34 ranking.

Christine Dufour, sophomore goalie: Allowed just eight goals in 10 games (0.80 goals against average) with four shutouts. Posted a .953 save percentage. Missed almost all of second half of season with leg injury. Was 8-2-0 in net.

Soccer

Kara Kabellis, sophomore midfielder: Second-team All-Big Ten and All-Great Lakes… Team co-MVP… Six goals and three assists for 15 points.

Katy Lindenmuth, junior midfielder/forward: second-team All-Big Ten and third-team All-Great Lakes… seven goals and eight assists for 22 points.

Lynn Murray, freshman goaltender: Big Ten All-Freshman team… 14-6-1 record with five shutouts… 1.07 goals-against-average… Made 87 saves, allowed 22 goals, a .798 save percentage.

Marisa Brown, junior midfielder: Team co-MVP… four goals and three assists for 11 points.

Softball

Katie Hnatyk, freshman first baseman: Batted .313 with nine home runs, 27 RBI, 25 runs, .531 slugging percentage and .353 on-base percentage… walk-on tied for Big Ten led in home runs in league games (7) and was third in runs batted in (18)… Third-team All-Big Ten.

Anastasia Miller, senior outfielder: Batted .314 with .562 slugging percentage, .377 on-base percentage, 11 home runs (school record), 36 RBI (school record) and 29 runs scored… third-team All-Big Ten… NFCA All-Mideast Region second team…UW all-time leader in slugging percentage in a career… Team Golden Bat Award.

Eden Brock, sophomore pitcher: finished season 20-11, becoming second 20-game winner in school history… 2.78 ERA… 135 strike outs and 23 walks in 186.1 innings pitched.

Swimming

Susan Johnson, sophomore: Won the 200-yard backstroke at Big Ten meet for the second year in a row in pool-record 1:56.87… First team All-Big Ten… member of 800 freestyle relay team that finished seventh at NCAAs

Amalia Sarnecki, junior: eighth in the 200-yard breaststroke at NCAAs. 13th in 100-yard backstroke. Second-team All Big Ten

Tennis

Katie McGaffigan, senior: Ranked as high as No. 42 nationally, she was 15-19 overall, 9-15 dual matches and 5-5 in Big Ten competition while playing mostly No. 1 singles…3-14 against ranked opponents… Unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection for second consecutive season… Finished season ranked No. 115… Teamed with Caitlin Burke for dramatic, 8-6 upset of the nation's top ranked doubles pair: Northwestern's Audra Cohen and Cristelle Grier. No. 1 doubles with Lindsay Martin: 6-10 in duals (2-3 Big Ten), 12-13 overall.

Kaylan Caiati, sophomore: No. 4 singles, 19-9 overall, 17-7 in duals, 8-2 in Big Ten… was 9-9 at No. 2 doubles with Caitlin Burke (6-4) and Lindsay Martin (3-5).

Volleyball

Jocelyn Wack, freshman libero: Set UW season record in digs, overall (567, 4.93 per game) and in Big Ten play (374, 5.19)… NCAA Region All Tournament team. Had a career-high 35 digs in match win over Hawaii. Averaged 5.57 digs per game in NCAA Tournament… recorded double figure digs in 31 straight matches to close out season. Led Badgers in digs in 26 of 32 matches… Led team and ranked fourth in Big Ten with 4.93 digs per game, the best mark among league freshmen.

Jackie Simpson, freshman setter: 1,340 assists, 11th on UW all-time list… 13.01 assists per game is eighth in Badger history… Big Ten All-Freshman team.

Maria Carlini, sophomore outside hitter: Led Badgers with eight double-doubles… double figure kills in 12 matches and double figure digs in nine… started 17 matches and played in 28, averaging 2.75 kills, 2.42 digs and 0.60 blocks per game.

Aubrey Meierotto, junior outside hitter: started all 32 games on left side… third on team with 2.83 kills per game… also had 1.88 digs and 0.77 blocks per game.


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