DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire women’s soccer team celebrated the 2003 season at its banquet Feb. 15 and gave special recognition to four student-athletes on the squad. In addition, Chiara Best (Rose Valley, Pa.), Katie Sullivan (Worcester, Mass.) and Debbie Newman (Ashford, Conn.) were announced as tri-captains for the 2004 season.
Best, a junior forward, and sophomore forward Jackie Wishoski (Malden, Mass.) were presented the Honor Award, which is bestowed upon the player who the coaching staff finds to have made significant contributions to the team and deserves special recognition for her efforts. Individually, each player broke the previous school benchmark for single-season points as Best compiled 30 points and Wishoski finished with a record 41 points as well as a single-season record 18 goals. Together, they became the highest-scoring duo in Wildcat history with 71 total points. Best and Wishoski combined to score 30 of the team's 35 goals.
The Player’s Award, which is presented to the Wildcat who the players select as deserving of special honor and distinguishes the individual as someone who has earned the respect of her peers, was given to senior captain Amber Radzevich (Hampstead, N.H.). Radzevich underwent off-season surgery that limited her playing time (six matches) in the 2003 season but her leadership transcended that fact and proved to be a stabilizing force for the 'Cats.
The Student-Athlete Award, which is presented to the team member earning the highest grade-point-average during the fall semester, was presented to both junior goalkeeper Liz MacKay (Scituate, Mass.) and Newman. MacKay started all 21 matches and recorded a 1.46 goals-against-average with a .735 save percentage; in America East conference play, she went 5-2-2 with a 0.98 GAA and .743 save percentage. Newman, a sophomore midfielder, also started all 21 matches as she persevered through numerous injuries to earn All-New England First Team and all-conference Second Team honors. One of the team's top defensive players, she recorded two points, both on assists.
Newman was also honored with the Gold Medal Award, which is presented to the team member who, through strength of character, will and commitment, has overcome obstacles and challenges to maximize her potential and become a positive role model to the team.
Head coach Michael Jackson also honored the four seniors – Radzevich, Molly Blessing (Amherst, N.H.), Kristen Kearney (Sandown, N.H.) and Ana Tobon (Philadelphia, Pa.) – in the Class of 2003. Blessing had her best season as a Wildcat, and her personal statistics do not reflect the contributions she made as part of the forward rotation. Kearney ranked third on the team in goals, assists and points from her midfield position. Tobon, an all-conference Second Team honoree, was a driving force behind the team's success as a stabilizing force and playmaker at midfield.
UNH earned the No. 4 seed in the America East tournament with a 5-2-2 league record and advanced to the semifinals to finish at 8-9-4 overall.