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WCU Women’s Soccer to be Honored by NC General Assembly

Daniel Hooker

Associate Athletics Director for Media Relations

Coming off one of the most successful seasons in the program’s 25-year history, the 2023 Southern Conference championship Western Carolina University women’s soccer team will be publicly recognized by the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh during its session on Wednesday, May 8.


The WCU women’s soccer team will have designated reserved seating in the North Carolina House of Representatives chamber for special recognition by Speaker of the House Tim Moore and the full House honoring the team’s SoCon regular-season and tournament championship and its appearance in the NCAA tournament. WCU’s student-athletes will be formally acknowledged with additional recognition from members of the Western North Carolina legislative delegation and any WCU alumni serving in the House.


The House chamber proceedings are additionally live-streamed through the North Carolina General Assembly website (click to access the stream) to allow others to observe and take part in the exciting opportunity as typically only legislators are allowed on the House floor. Others from Catamount Nation are welcome to attend the session from the visitor’s gallery (click for more information). Please note that session times are not formally set until the day prior, but the session is anticipated to start at or around 2 p.m. but is determined by the assembly.


University Chancellor Kelli R. Brown and WCU Director of Athletics Alex Gary will both accompany the team to the state capitol on Wednesday. This prestigious recognition includes the coaches, student-athletes, student managers and athletic trainers.


Led by 2023 SoCon Coach of the Year Chad Miller, the Catamount women’s soccer team finished with an impressive 13-5-3 seasonal record that included the program’s third SoCon tournament championship since the 2008 season, and its second regular-season crown since 2001. It was the first time the program won both the regular-season and conference championships in the same season in program history, with the 2003 Catamount baseball team the last to accomplish the feat. The historic season was highlighted by eight shutout victories over the final 10 matches of the season that included a 7-0 edge in goal differential in all three conference tournament matches including a 1-0 victory over two-time defending champion Samford.


WCU advanced to the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship Tournament where it faced Alabama in Tuscaloosa at the Alabama Soccer Complex.


Isabella DeMarco became the first Catamount women’s soccer player to earn SoCon Player of the Year accolades, also landing on the postseason all-conference first team to highlight seven Catamounts honored. DeMarco was joined on the first team by junior midfielder Naya Marcil and senior defender Becca Campbell. Sophomore defender Sarah Engen and second-year goalkeeper Leanne Trudel both landed on the second team, with freshmen Sofia Goclowski and Emma Soucy both collecting SoCon All-Freshman plaudits.


Four Catamounts were also selected to the SoCon’s all-tournament team including Alexis DeMarco, Ava Robitaille, Naya Marcil and the most outstanding performer, Paige McAra.


Six Catamounts – Alexis DeMarco, Sarah Engen, Katelyn Galbraith, Maggie Lloyd, Naya Marcil, and Leanne Trudel – were each selected to the College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-District team. Lloyd and Galbraith received the SoCon’s Pinnacle Award given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA from the winning team and Marcil earned Scholar All-South Region team plaudits from the United Soccer Coaches.


As a team, the Catamounts have maintained a team grade point average of over 3.7 for 10 consecutive semesters, boasting a 3.77 GPA in 2022-23 – the sixth-highest among all NCAA Division I schools to lead both the SoCon and each program in the state of North Carolina. Over the past five years, WCU has paced the conference in team GPA among its women’s soccer peers, while also ranking among the top collective GPA among WCU’s 16 NCAA Division I athletics programs.


Typically announced each August, the Catamount women’s soccer team has received the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for 18 consecutive years. This year’s team also received the 2023 College Team Ethics and Sportsmanship Award from the same organization – one of just six NCAA Division I teams to collect the accolade, earning a bronze-level honor.

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