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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Ashland University

The Collegian

AU women’s soccer receives United Soccer Coaches Pinnacle Award

High level of fair play, educational excellence and success on the pitch
Ben Nichols
Eagle forward McKinley Mendenhall continues to lead the attacking core in her junior season.

The United Soccer Coaches (USC) announced on Wednesday, Oct. 18, that the Ashland University women’s soccer team was lauded as a recipient of the Pinnacle Award.

The Eagles have time and time again received awards and honors for the program’s development under Head Coach Cayleb Paulino. In the 2022-23 campaign, the team was able to take home a conference championship while remaining to be one of AU’s most active teams off the field as well, recording a cumulative grade-point average of 3.59.

“The Pinnacle Award is an unbelievable recognition for our women’s soccer program.  There are not a whole lot of programs in the country recognized,” said Paulino.

This award, given to 56 total teams across the collegiate and high school levels, honors teams that have achieved a high level of fair play, educational excellence, and success on the pitch.

“Our players love competing every day.  Whether it be on the field, in the classroom, or helping out in the community,” said Paulino. “It is the culture that we have created that makes us who we are.  It is the standard we look to raise every day.”

Out of 56 teams awarded, 20 were high school teams and 36 were college programs, while 19 were women’s soccer programs and just six were from the Division II level.

To win this award, a team must have “received either the Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze version of the High School or College Team Ethics and Sportsmanship Award; achieved recognition in the classroom as a recipient of the High School or College Team Academic Award; and recorded a winning percentage of .750 or higher during the respective season,” according to the USC webpage.

“The recognition aligns with the values of our program: be a good person/teammate, be a good student, and help build a successful soccer program,” said Paulino.

Last season, the Eagles had just four yellow cards under the team’s belt and no red cards. Off the field and in the classroom, the team withheld high academic integrity, while helping in the community consistently.

This season, the Eagles set with a 13-0-1 overall record and 9-0-1 in conference play record as they sit as the No. 1 team in the country. Through those 14 outings, the team has amassed just two yellow cards and no red cards.

Coming up next, the Eagles will prepare to finish up the Great Midwest Athletic Conference regular season before the conference tournament rolls on.

“We want our players to continue to grow as people while they are part of our program and it starts in the classroom,” said Paulino. “That is why you choose to be part of Ashland University is to prepare yourself for the next piece of your life and hopefully we can win soccer games along the way.”

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