UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As announced by the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) office, freshman midfielder Sarah Mackey (Norfolk, Va. / Granby) was named PSUAC Rookie of the Year and fellow newcomer Grace Banfe (Greencastle, Pa. / Shalom Christian Academy) was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year, while five members of the Mont Alto women's soccer team were named All-Conference.
Banfe and Mackey headlined the All-Conference selections as Kara Newell (Shippensburg, Pa. / Shippensburg), Tori Stouffer (Orrstown, Pa. / Cumberland Valley Christian) and Maddie Shirley (Biglerville, Pa. / Biglerville) were also recognized as voted on by the league's coaches and administrators. These were the most honored in program history as Grace Banfe (Greencastle, Pa. / Shalom Christian Academy) and Kara Newell (Shippensburg, Pa. / Shippensburg) were honored on the First Team, while Stouffer, Shirley and Mackey were recognized on the Honorable Mention Team.
Grace Banfe (Greencastle, Pa. / Shalom Christian Academy) anchored the Mont Alto defense that posted a 0.60 goals-against average (GAA) through six conference games. She was instrumental in helping the Nittany Lions post four shutouts over the course of the 2019 season. Banfe's skill, speed and vision and leadership along the backline, proved to be a big asset to the Penn State Mont Alto defensive efforts.
This is Kara Newell's (Shippensburg, Pa. / Shippensburg), first selection to an PSUAC All-Conference team as she was named to the USCAA All-American Honorable Mention Team in 2018. The sophomore flourished this season appearing in and starting 14 of the 15 games this season and led the team in assists with eight, which tied for most within the PSUAC. Along with her eight helpers she finished with four goals for a total of 16 points.
Stouffer was arguably Mont Alto's most valuable player this season appearing in and starting every match for the Nittany Lions across the field. She made five appearances in goal and was named PSUAC Goalkeeper of the Week after recording three-straight shutouts during the week of Oct. 15. She was even more potent as a field player leading the squad in points (25), goals (11) and game-winning goals (3). Her 25 points ranked her fourth within the PSUAC and her 11 goals were the fourth most in the conference.
Senior midfield Maddie Shirley (Biglerville, Pa. / Biglerville) has been a key cog in the midfield for Mont Alto and served as a captain over the course of the past two seasons. She was named a USCAA All-American after her junior season and finishes her career with 39 points on 15 goals and nine assists. She put together her best season in 2019 with 10 goals and four assists. She tallied 29 shots including 16 shots that were placed on target.
Sarah Mackey (Norfolk, Va. / Granby) flourished during her freshman campaign with the Mont Alto women's soccer team, becoming one of the top-goal scorers in the league. Appearing in 14 games while registering 12 starts, Mackey ranked third on the team in total points (22), goals (8) and second in assists (6). She was named PSUAC Athlete of the Week on October 15.
In addition, junior Danessa Myers (Saint Thomas, Pa. / James Buchanan) was Mont Alto's selection for the John Fritz Sportsmanship Award. Named after former PSUAC Commissioner John Fritz, the sportsmanship award is given to one player from each team in the league who best displays the core values of the league and sportsmanship to teammates and opponents throughout the season.
Penn State Mont Alto women's soccer finished the season with an 8-6-1 overall record, including a 4-1-1 mark in the PSUAC that placed the team second in the regular season standings and led to hosting its first conference postseason tournament semifinals game in program history.
To view the complete PSUAC Women's Soccer All-Conference team, click HERE.