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ND Women’s Soccer: Henderson runner-up for trophy

Allan Joseph | Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First, Notre Dame earned the national championship. Now, the Irish are collecting accolades on the awards circuit. Irish coach Randy Waldrum won the NSCAA/Mondo National Coach of the Year award for the first time in his career after guiding the Irish to the pinnacle of the sport following a shocking upset in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament.

“I’m really proud of that one,” Waldrum said. “This is the first time I’ve won it from the coaches’ association, so it really meant a lot. This one’s the big one.”

Despite his personal triumph, Waldrum views the award as a recognition of his entire staff’s hard work and dedication.

“It’s great for the staff,” he said. “It’s a reflection of a lot of people, not just me. It’s a great award for us collectively.”

Junior All-American forward Melissa Henderson also collected hardware in addition to her Final Four Offensive MVP award. Henderson won the Honda Sports Award for women’s soccer, a national player-of-the-year award that also makes her one of 12 finalists for the year-end Honda-Broderick cup, awarded annually to the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.

“I’m glad to see her win the Honda,” Waldrum said.

Despite her triumph over Stanford senior forward Christen Press in the national championship game, Henderson finished second to Press in balloting for the Hermann Trophy, the premier player-of-the-year award in women’s soccer. The award, however, distributes ballots before the Final Four weekend, indicating that some voters may have cast their ballots before witnessing Henderson’s dominating Final Four performance.

“The national championship is the biggest test to me, but a lot of coaches probably voted early,” Waldrum said. “Had nobody voted until after the Final Four, [Melissa] would have won hands down. Finishing second will motivate her for next year­­ – she’s in the driver’s seat.”

Henderson was not the only Irish player to be recognized for her success. All-American senior forward/defender Lauren Fowlkes and senior forward Rose Augustin were selected in the 2011 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Draft. Fowlkes was selected in the first round at fifth overall by the Philadelphia Independence, while Augustin was selected in the third round at 13th overall by the Western New York Flash. Fowlkes’ pick matches the highest a Notre Dame player has been selected in the WPS draft.

“I’m really proud of both,” Waldrum said. “That’s a pretty good representation of where our program stands.”

With many professional teams set to lose some of their best players to World Cup duty, there has been a renewed interest in new draft picks, and Waldrum believes that his program has prepared its graduates for success.

“They’re going to make really good pros,” Waldrum said. “Every team was very excited about them. We’ve laid the groundwork for them.”

With the success of his squad in the past year, it seems that the rest of the soccer community agrees.