BOCA RATON, Fla. – Four members of the Florida Atlantic University women’s soccer team have been chosen as members of the 2017 All-Conference USA Team, as voted on by C-USA coaches and revealed by the league on Tuesday.
The Owls were represented on each of the three All-Conference Teams, as well as earning an All-Freshman recognition. Defender Ebba Blomqvist earned a First Team nod, while Asta Arnadottir was honored by the league for the fourth straight season, as a Second Team midfielder. Elisha Holmes, All-Freshman a year ago, is a Third Team forward in 2017, while defender Ashlyn Kitterman followed in her footsteps to be chosen as All-Freshman after this, her first season with the team.
Here is a closer look at each of Tuesday’s honorees:
Ebba Blomqvist (First Team All-Conference Defender)
Blomqvist has made an immediate impact in her first year as an Owl, leading the team in goals scored despite playing the majority of her time on defense as centerback. She has five goals, and is 3-of-4 on penalty kicks, with the one “miss” coming before her own rebound goal. Her five goals come on just 12 attempts (.417), and nine of her 12 shots (.750) have been on goal. In 19 matches, she leads the team’s field players with 1,649 minutes, including all 90 (or more) in 13 of those appearances. The native of Skovde, Sweden, has helped the team to seven shutouts on the year.
“I am surprised, but at the same time, extremely grateful to receive this honor,” said Blomqvist, “but it is all thanks to my teammates, the coaching staff, and the university for welcoming me and providing all the tools to succeed on and off the field. As a team we have worked hard this season, and our focus is solely on the upcoming game in the Conference USA Championship at our home field tomorrow night. Go Owls!”
“Ebba has enjoyed a tremendous first year with us and has been very good since day one,” said Head Coach Patrick Baker. “We utilized her predominantly as a centerback, and down the stretch, she has been exceptional as a holding midfielder. She has scored a number of goals this year and plays the game at a very high level. Ebba is strong in the air and has been a threat on attacking set pieces. We are thankful she transferred to FAU and look forward to another great year with her in 2018.”
Asta Arnadottir (Second Team All-Conference Midfielder)
Arnadottir, a three-time previous Conference USA postseason honoree, is one of the Owls’ team captains and unquestioned leaders on and off the pitch. She holds the FAU program all-time record with 82 starts, starting every single possible match in her four years at the school, and in the final regular season match, broke the all-time mark with those 82 matches played. This year, in 19 matches and starts, and 1,367 minutes (fourth on the team), the native of Kopavogur, Iceland, has two goals and two assists from her midfield position, with a team-high 50 corners and a shot-on-goal percentage of .500.
“This is a great honor and I’m very proud, but this is a team sport so I am thankful for my teammates and also my coaches who have been great helping me to adjust in this fairly new position on the field,” said Arnadottir. “This season has been a lot of things, but we are not full yet and we are ready and excited for this week.”
“Asta is the first four-year C-USA All-Conference player we have had at Florida Atlantic: All-Freshman Team, sophomore year Third Team, junior Year Third Team and now Second Team as a senior,” said Baker. “We are very proud of her consistency of excellence. She is playing her best soccer as a central midfielder this fall and will be hard to replace upon graduation. Her ability to make others around her better is a real positive and she can change the complexion of a game with one run. Asta has been a great reflection of what our program represents on and off the field.”
Elisha Holmes (Third Team All-Conference Forward)
After an All-Freshman campaign a year ago, Holmes ranks second on the Owls as a sophomore with 10 points, coming on three goals and four assists, the latter tying for the team lead. She scored two goals in a road match against Charlotte, with the other goal coming as part of a tie against UAB, and she had two assists in a win against Southern Miss. The Tampa native has put 11 of her 21 shots this year on goal for a .524 on-target percentage.
“God has forever been the reason for any success that I have ever experienced,” said Holmes. “For that reason I am forever grateful.”
“Elisha becomes just the second FAU player to make the All-Freshman team and then receive All-Conference recognition as a sophomore (after Asta),” said Baker. “She is known for her speed and athleticism, but has worked on her game to become a much better soccer player. Elisha can create something out of nothing and has been impactful down the stretch for our team. Whether it’s creating something for herself and/or for her teammates, she is very dangerous in the final third. Elisha still has room for growth in her game and the back half of her college career will be even more impressive.”
Ashlyn Kitterman (All-Freshman, at Defender)
Kitterman has started 17, and appeared in all 19, of the Owls’ matches during her first year, going all 90 minutes as a defender six times, including each of the last four. The Bixby, Oklahoma native is fifth on the team among field players in minutes played, with 1,293, and has helped contribute to seven FAU shutouts, as well as only three matches in which the opponents have scored multiple goals.
“I am very appreciative and humbled to be recognized amongst all the other great freshmen and I could not have done it if it weren’t for my teammates and my coaches,” said Kitterman. “They have helped me and pushed me to become the player I am today and I can’t wait to see what happens over the next couple of years.”
“Ashlyn has been a steady defender for us all year and has faced many talented forwards,” said Baker. “She uses her speed and defensive skills well, but is also a very good passer of the ball. When we recruited her from Oklahoma, I felt she could be a four-year starting defender, and her college career is off to a positive start. She asks good situational questions and wants to think the game as much as play the game. Starting every game in C-USA and helping the team to another winning season is an impressive statement. Ashlyn and her classmates have done a very good job of continuing to build our foundation.”
Up next for the squad is the 2017 Conference USA Championship. The Owls wrap the first day of the tournament’s quarterfinal round on Wednesday, taking on UAB. First kick at FAU Soccer Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.