In an official release on Wednesday the Big Ten announced their individual awards for the regular season, with five Badgers among the honorees.
Jordyn Bloomer received the highest positional award in the conference, taking home goalkeeper of the year honors, and with it a spot in the All-Big Ten first team. Bloomer was all but a shoo-in for the spot- the reigning conference goalie of the year put on a show on her road to back-to-back awards, leading the conference in shutouts and serving as the anchor of a Wisconsin defense that’s allowed fewer goals than any other squad.
Just this past Sunday Bloomer added yet another feat to her list of accomplishments this season, saving a pair of Northwestern penalties in a shootout to help send the Badgers to the semi-final.
Joining Bloomer on the All-Conference first team was fellow senior Maia Cella. The Evanston, Ill. native has provided three assists on the year, and has been instrumental in keeping Wisconsin’s “box” in the center of the park ticking. It’s no surprise that the dynamic midfielder, who can both breakup play and drive the ball forward, caught the eye of the award selection committee throughout the season. This is Cella’s second consecutive selection to the conference first team.
Sammy Kleedtke was honored with an All-Big Ten second team selection, another unsurprising pick given the role the senior played in a rock solid Badger defense this year. The consistent center back has provided both a powerful physical presence and a certain set piece finesse that’s helped her play a major role in Wisconsin’s success this year.
On Sunday, it was Kleedtke’s long free kick that set-up the equalizing goal in Madison, and she was one of the four players who converted from the spot after the game came down to penalty kicks.
Selected to the third team was forward Cammie Murtha, who’s enjoyed a strong year as Wisconsin’s main center forward. With two goals and three assists, the senior is second on the team in points and was a particularly vital player down the stretch. She’s notched a goal or an assist in three of the team’s last four games, most notably the equalizer against Northwestern in the quarterfinal.
Rounding out the list of Badgers honored was Isabelle Verdugo, who was among the fourteen Big Ten Sportsmanship award nominees. An honor given to players who represent the team well on and off the field, it’s no surprise that the sophomore was Wisconsin’s representative on the list. Serving as one of the team’s on-pitch leaders despite her underclassmen status, Verdugo has filled in wherever she was required to play, be it fullback or defensive midfield, and has injected a skillful flair into the team all season.
You can catch these five players, as well as the rest of the squad, in action Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. CT on the Big Ten Network when the Badgers take on Rutgers in the conference semifinal, with a shot at both a Big Ten title and likely a NCAA tournament berth on the line.