MOUNT PLEASANT - Senior defender Bailey Brandon was named the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year, the league office announced Thursday evening, headlining a stellar postseason conference awards showing.
Brandon joins seniors Stefanie Turner, Autumn Hawkins, Katie Slaughter and Laura Twidle for five CMU representatives on the All-MAC First Team, the most of any team in the conference. Freshmen Danielle Rotheram, Christen Chiesa and Josie Seebeck were also named to the MAC All-Freshman Team.
With Brandon’s award the Chippewas have now produced the past two defensive players of the year, with Liesel Toth earning the award in 2011, and three of the past four dating back to Shay Mannino’s award in 2009.
Central Michigan’s five first-team selections are tied for the most in program history with the 2009 team, and the three freshman team selections are tied for second-most in program history with the 2010 class. The 2009 freshman class produced five honorees.
Brandon has been an instrumental part of the Chippewas’ defensive efforts this season, having started all 20 matches on the back line. The defense has produced 11 shutouts and has a .550 shutout percentage, 22nd-best in NCAA Division I. During MAC play the Chippewas allowed a league-low six goals while posting a league-high six shutouts. She is now a three-time first-team All-MAC honoree, in addition to earning Freshman of the Year, second-team and All-Freshman honors in 2009.
Just as crucial to the Chippewas' success this season have been fellow defender Katie Slaughter and goalkeeper Stefanie Turner, both of whom are co-captains. Brandon, Slaughter and Turner have combined to form a formidable, experienced defensive front.
Slaughter has added two assists this season, both of which came in a 2-0 win over West Virginia, having started in every match in which she has played. She is a first-time All-MAC honoree, though she earned All-Freshman honors in 2009.
Turner has been between the posts for 10 shutouts this season and has recorded a 0.67 goals against average. She made a career-high 10 saves in a scoreless draw at No. 12 Marquette, which is now ranked fourth in goals per game in NCAA Division I. She is a first-time All-MAC honoree.
Twidle, a forward, is tied for second on the team with nine points, coming from three goals and is tied for the team lead with three assists. With 18 career goals, Twidle is now in sole possession of seventh place on the all-time CMU goals scored list. She has recorded game-winning goals against West Virginia and Dayton, and assisted on the game-winner in a double-overtime victory over Northern Illinois. She is now a two-time first-team All-MAC honoree, in addition to All-Freshman honors in 2009.
Hawkins, a midfielder, has scored three goals for the Chippewas in 2012, two of which were game-winners, while the third was the equalizer that set up a 2-1 double-overtime victory at Northern Illinois. She is a first-time first-team All-MAC honoree, adding to her 2009 All-Freshman honors.
The Chippewas placed three players on the All-Freshman team, which is tied for the most of any team in the conference.
Rotheram, a forward, is tied for second on the team with nine total points on three goals and a co-team-leading three assists. She netted the game-winner against Toledo, which CMU will face in Friday’s MAC Tournament semifinal.
Chiesa, a midfielder/defender, is tied for the team lead with three assists and has scored two goals. Her signature moment came when she netted the game-winner in a dramatic 2-1 double-overtime win over Northern Illinois, and she also assisted on two goals in a 4-0 win at Bowling Green to close the regular season.
Seebeck, a midfielder, has scored a goal and assisted on another - both of which were game-winners. She tallied the deciding goal at Western Michigan and assisted on the first of two goals in the MAC Tournament quarterfinal against Northern Illinois.
The Chippewas will look to build on their list of awards and accomplishments as they face No. 6 Toledo in the MAC Tournament semifinals Friday at 2 p.m. in Oxford, Ohio.
Bailey Brandon, Central Michigan, Sr., D
Autumn Hawkins, Central Michigan, Sr., MF
Katie, Slaughter, Central Michigan, Sr., D
Stefanie Turner, Central Michigan, Sr., GK
Laura Twidle, Central Michigan, Sr., F
Emily Dzik, Eastern Michigan, So., D
Bianca Rossi, Eastern Michigan, So., F
Kelsey Dinges, Miami, So., MF
Katy Dolesh, Miami, Jr., MF
Jess Kodiak, Miami, Sr., F
Kayla Zakrzewski, Miami, Jr., MF
Kelly DeNiro, Akron, Jr. MF
Ashley Hughes, Akron, Jr., F
Pavla Benyrova, Ball State, So., D
Cara Cutaia, Eastern Michigan, Jr., MF
Jaclyn Dutton, Kent State, Jr., F
Stephanie Haugh, Kent State, So., F
Hannah Newhouse, Kent State, Jr., D
Haley Walter, Miami, Fr., MF
Amy Carr, Northern Illinois, Jr., GK
Cat Rogers, Ohio, Sr., MF
Natalia Gaitan, Toledo, Sr., D
Megan Waskowski, Forward, Akron
Katie George, Defender, Akron
Klaire Adee, Goalkeeper, Akron
Morgan Whitfield, Forward, Ball State
Aubrey Hauenstein, Forward, Ball State
Kalynn Flanagan, Forward, Ball State
Jenna Underwood, Goalkeeper, Bowling Green
Kristin Markiewicz, Defender, Buffalo
Danielle Rotheram, Forward/MF, Central Michigan
Christen Chiesa, Midfield/Def, Central Michigan
Josie Seebeck, Midfielder, Central Michigan
Offensive Player of the Year
Jess Kodiak, Miami
Defensive Player of the Year
Bailey Brandon, Central Michigan
Freshman of the Year
Haley Walter, Miami
Coach of the Year
Bobby Kramig, Miami