MISSOULA, Mont. - The Griz soccer team is just two days away from their Big Sky Conference tournament matchup with Portland State, but before we get to the postseason the league awards were announced today and the Griz could not have been represented any better.
Montana senior Lauren Costa was named the Big Sky defensive most valuable player this season. That makes her just the 5th griz player to win this award in school history and she's the first to win it since 2004.
Costa played in all but 85 minutes this season as the center back and helped Montana record a league best 11 shutouts.
Montana's defense only gave up 16 goals in 19 games this year, that's less than half of what they gave up last year.
Fellow Grizzly senior Erin Craig was named co-offensive most valuable player in the conference. She is the 6th player in Griz history to win the award and the first in six years.
Craig took 69 shots on goal this year, that's 18 more than any other player in the conference.
She led Montana with six goals scored, three of which were game-winners. Craig also had four assists this year.
Craig and Costa were also named first team all Big Sky. All in all there were a total of nine Grizzlies given at least an honorable mention this year.
"I think it's just great for those two especially being seniors," said Montana head soccer coach Mark Plakorous. "You know... I've been very lucky with this senior class from the time I got here with just how great they are and how hard they work and the things they want to accomplish. And for them to get recognized by the other coaches around the conference for their level of play is pretty special."
2012 Big Sky Conference individual award winners
Amanda Ellsworth, Idaho State
Erin Craig, Montana
Lauren Costa, Montana
Newcomer of the Year
Chansi Crompton, Weber State
Goalkeeper of the Year
Natalie D'Adamio, Northern Colorado
First-team All-Big Sky Conference
Natalie D'Adamio, Northern Colorado, senior
Lauren Costa, Montana, senior
Georgia Foltz, Northern Arizona, senior
Brecken Holbrook, Weber State, freshman
Adrienne Jordan, Northern Colorado, freshman
Chansi Crompton, Weber State, freshman
Amanda Dutra, Portland State, senior
Amanda Howie, Portland State, senior
Victoria Ramirez, Sacramento State, senior
Erin Craig, Montana, senior
Amanda Ellsworth, Idaho State, sophomore
Rachel Strawn, Idaho State, senior
Second-team All-Big Sky Conference
Lainey Hulsizer, Portland State, senior
Brianna Brannan, Eastern Washington, junior
Kassidy Kellogg, Sacramento State, freshman
Torie Morris, Portland State, freshman
Allyson Stainbrook, Idaho State, junior
Lauren McCreath, Montana, senior
Anna Pingree, Idaho State, senior
Tara Rickenbach, Northern Colorado, junior
JJ Wykstra, Northern Colorado, senior
Cassie Black, Eastern Washington, sophomore
Megan Martin, Portland State, senior
Daniela Solis, Portland State, sophomore
Honorable-mention All-Big Sky Conference
Goalkeepers -- Kristen Hoon, Montana; Lauren Weaver, Northern Arizona; Charly Booth, Southern Utah; Ryann Waldman, Weber State
Defenders -- Katie Cashman, Eastern Washington; Vanessa Cabilan, Idaho State; Taylor McBride, Idaho State; Kate Wilkins, Montana; Maddy Frey, Montana; Aundreaha Martinez, Northern Colorado; Janelle Kramer, Northern Colorado; Kayla Henningsen, Portland State; Kelsey Henningsen, Portland State; McKenna Swanson, Sacramento State; Rachel Krenzer, Southern Utah; Shaylee Peterson, Weber State
Midfielders -- Katy Allen, Eastern Washington; Tyler Adair, Montana; Mary Makris, Montana; Mackenzie Akins, Montana; Emily Roth, Northern Arizona; Alexsys Tamayo, Northern Colorado; Lynsey Gaines, Portland State; Megan Burg, Sacramento State; Jessica Small, Sacramento State; Jessica Castano, Sacramento State; Morgan Bridge, Southern Utah; Savannah Spere, Southern Utah; Abbey Kennedy, Weber State; Kendra Bailey, Weber State
Forwards -- Rhaya Ballon, North Dakota; Demi Schmieder, Northern Arizona; Brittany Dunn, Northern Colorado; Elece McBride, Sacramento State; Alyssa Anderson, Sacramento State; Stacey Brinkman, Southern Utah; Mackenzie Harrison, Weber State; Ari Aki, Weber State