Junior Midfielder Chosen As School's First-Ever Women's Soccer All-American

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Junior midfielder Kristie Smilanich (Kalamazoo/Christian) of the Ferris State University women's soccer program has been named to the 2006 Daktronics NCAA Division II Women's Soccer All-America First Team, according to an announcement made Friday (Dec. 1). The recognition makes Smilanich the first-ever All-American in the eight-year history of the Bulldog women's soccer program.

Kristie Smilanich Ferris junior midfielder Kristie Smilanich has been honored as the program's first-ever All-America player

Smilanich, who previously was chosen as a Daktronics All-Great Lakes Region First Team selection, was one of 11 players named to the Daktronics All-America First Team. The All-America selections were picked by the sports information directors throughout the nation. Eleven other players attained second team accolades this campaign.

Grand Valley State's Katy Tafler was chosen as the Daktronics Division II Player of the Year. She was one of four All-America honorees from the national runner-up Lakers, including three first-team picks. Both NCAA-II National Champion Metropolitan State (Colo.) and Tampa (Fla.) had two players each among the 11 first-team recipients.

The 5-6 Smilanich totaled a team-high 39 points and 18 goals this season while attaining All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) First Team accolades. Her 39 total points this year represented the program's top seasonal performance in school history while her 18 goals this year also ranked as the school's top single-season performance ever. Smilanich's 67 career points and 27 total goals are both listed second all-time on Ferris' career performers list.

Her best performance this campaign came when she netted four goals, all of which came in the second period of play, in the Bulldogs' 7-5 home-opening win over Wheeling Jesuit (W.Va.) at the FSU Varsity Soccer Field in Big Rapids, Mich. She finished tied for second place in goals (1.00 gpg) and third overall in points (2.17 ppg) among the GLIAC's overall leaders this campaign. Nationally, Smilanich finished 13th in goals and 24th in total points per contest.

Last season (2005), Smilanich placed fifth among the squad's leaders with 14 total points on two goals and team-high 10 assists. Her 10 assists a year ago was the Bulldogs' second-highest seasonal figure in school history. As a freshman in 2004, Smilanich compiled Ferris' 10th-best single-season goal scoring effort with seven markers.

Smilanich, who had five multiple-goal game efforts this season, also became only the second player in the history of Ferris women's soccer to attain all-region honors and the first-ever player chosen as a first team all-region pick. Last year (2005), former Bulldog standout Jen Gaylor received National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Great Lakes Region Second Team laurels. The 2006 campaign represented the first time Daktronics has selected All-Region/All-America teams for women's soccer.

Ferris State concluded the year with a 7-11 overall mark under interim head coach Neathan Gibson. The Bulldogs finished GLIAC play with a 3-5 league mark.

FSU's 120 total points and 46 goals this campaign both represented the highest single-season production in school history. Eight of Ferris' last 11 outings this season were decided by two goals or less with three going to overtime.

The Daktronics team is voted on by the sports information directors of the nation's member institutions and sponsored by Daktronics, Inc., an acknowledged world leader in scoring, timing and programmable display systems for virtually every sport at every level of competition. The company also markets DakStats® sports statistics software with programs for football, basketball and baseball available. Sports Information Director's nationwide submit nominations for the team at the regional level before balloting takes place.