A pair of local UMKC women’s soccer players were recognized with preseason awards by the Western Athletic Conference.
Reighan Childers, a senior from Grain Valley, and Abby Small, a former Eastern Jackson County resident, were both named to the All-WAC Preseason first team in a poll by the conference’s coaches this week.
Small, a junior, was also named the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
The Kangaroos were also chosen to claim the league title, garnering five of the nine first-place votes and 60 points to edge Utah Valley (57 points, four first-place votes).
“It is a tremendous honor for our program to be chosen by fellow WAC coaches as the favorite to win such a competitive league in the 2018 season,” reigning WAC Coach of the Year Chris Cissell said in a release. “Having four local players named to preseason awards is certainly a testament to the work they have put in to become high-level players but as always, individual honors are made possible by the commitment to excellence of our entire team.”
Senior forward Lexie Howard and senior Kelsey Mothershead were also named to the Preseason All-WAC team, and Howard was chosen to repeat as the Offensive Player of the Year.
Small joined Howard in winning Player of the Year honors, receiving the WAC Defensive Player of the Year award in 2017 along with the 2018 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year award. The junior defender was key piece in the UMKC defensive unit a season ago, making starts in all 20 matches for a team that was among the WAC’s best defenses, leading the conference in shutouts (11), goals against average (0.79) and goals allowed (16).
Childers, a first-team All-WAC selection in 2017, was as a strong two-way presence for UMKC in their undefeated conference record. In addition to chipping in on the defensive end, Childers tallied 13 points on five goals and three assists with three game-winning scores in 2017.