Women’s soccer star named conference Player of the Year

Northeastern women’s soccer freshman sensation Devin Petta was named Colonial Athletic Association conference Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year at the conference’s annual banquet on Thursday night.

Petta, a striker, can aptly be described as a sharp shooter, a true marksman with impeccable aim. In her record-setting season, the Whitman, Massachusetts, native scored 14 goals and seven assists for 35 points in 18 games, breaking the long-standing Northeastern record for points in a season and matching the single-season goal and assist records. The offensive juggernaut ranked 11th overall among Division 1 players nationwide, averaging 1.94 points per game.

She helped lead the team to a program-best 12-3-3 regular season record and its first CAA conference regular season title, but the Huskies will be competing in the postseason— with a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament at stake—without their star freshman. Petta tore her ACL during the last game of the regular season, ending her year.

However, head coach Ed Matz, who was named CAA Coach of the Year at Thursday’s event, has other outstanding players to call upon, a number of whom earned conference honors.

“You can’t win Coach of the Year unless you have a great group of players and a great support staff,” Matz said.

Freshman defender Sandra Magnusdottir and sophomore goalkeeper Stephanie Gordon were named to the All-CAA second team. Gordon led the league in save percentage (.875), making 105 saves and earning six shutouts. Magnusdottir led all defenders on the team in points, tallying three goals and four assists, and was named to the CAA All-Rookie team.

In addition, junior midfielder Kristen Blake, who scored two goals and four assists, was named to the All-CAA third team.

Petta joined Magnusdottir on the conference All-Rookie team, and also was voted to the All-CAA first team.

She is the first player in conference history to simultaneously win both Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards.

Matz didn’t expect Petta to play such an integral role on the club, but after Veronica Napoli, last year’s conference Rookie of the Year, went down with a knee injury, Petta was called upon to give the offense a much-needed boost.

“It is a tremendous honor for Devin and she truly deserves the awards,” said Matz. “She’s worked so hard since the first day of practice. As a coach, you hope that you don’t have to put so much pressure on a freshman, but Devin took it upon herself to be our ‘go to person’ on offense.”

Northeastern will take on James Madison in the semifinals of the CAA Tournament Friday at 5:30 pm at Parsons Field in Brookline. If Northeastern wins, they will play for the conference championship on Sunday at 1 pm at Parsons Field.