Jan. 7, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame junior All-America forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner), one of the main catalysts behind the magical Fighting Irish run to the 2010 NCAA national championship, was named the first runner-up for the 2010 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy, it was announced Friday during a press conference at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis. The second-place finish for the national player of the year award is another major honor for Henderson, who was named the recipient of the Honda Sports Award for women’s soccer (also given to the nation’s top player) last month.
The voting for this year’s Hermann Trophy was conducted by the NCAA Division I coaches whose programs are current members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), an organization with more than 30,000 constituents. Christen Press (Stanford) edged out Henderson for this year’s award, with Alex Morgan (California) finishing third. Both Press and Morgan are departing seniors, with Henderson set to return for her final season at Notre Dame in 2011 and in position to become the fourth Fighting Irish women’s soccer player to earn the Hermann Trophy, following Cindy Daws (1996), Anne Makinen (2000) and Kerri Hanks (2006 & 2008).
In addition to the Honda Sports Award and Hermann Trophy runner-up placement, Henderson also was an NSCAA first-team All-America selection, the Most Outstanding Offensive Player at this year’s NCAA Women’s College Cup, a Soccer America first-team MVP (equivalent to All-America honors), the Soccer News Net National Player of the Year, and the Chicagoland Soccer News Player of the Year.
As she has been in each of her three years at Notre Dame, Henderson arguably was the nation’s most electric offensive threat this season, scoring 17 goals and dishing out a career-high 11 assists en route to a career-high 45 points. She was one of only three players in the country this season (along with Nebraska’s Morgan Marlborough and Dayton’s Colleen Williams) to rank among the top 20 in goals (sixth), assists (tied-20th) and points (fourth) — while being one of just two players (along with Williams) to also compete in this year’s NCAA Championship and the only one to take her team beyond the first two rounds of the tournament — and she was one of 10 players nationwide to post double-digit totals in both goals and assists.
Furthermore, the speedy Texan ranked at or near the top of the BIG EAST Conference in every major offensive category, including those already named, plus game-winning goals (first – 6), which also ranks eighth in school history. Her 16 game-winning points (6G-4A), capped by her assist on freshman forward Adriana Leon’s decisive 63rd-minute goal in the NCAA national championship match (a 1-0 win over top-ranked and previously-unbeaten Stanford), are tied for ninth-most on the Fighting Irish single-season charts.
Awards were plentiful for Henderson this season. In addition to her All-America citations and College Cup accolades, she also was the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team all-BIG EAST honoree, in addition to being named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Year (first team) and earning TDS National Player of the Week laurels on Oct. 4.
In her 76-match career, Henderson has piled up 52 goals (11th in school history) and 18 assists for 122 points (15th in school history), while her 20 career game-winning goals are second in program annals behind Hanks’ 23 scores. What’s more, the Fighting Irish are unbeaten all-time when Henderson scores a goal (35-0-2) or registers a point (44-0-2).
During Henderson’s three-year career, Notre Dame has posted a sparkling 68-7-3 (.891) record — the second-most wins and third-highest winning percentage in the nation during that span — while winning the 2010 national championship, finishing as the 2008 NCAA national runner-up and advancing to the NCAA Women’s College Cup all three seasons. The Fighting Irish also have won three BIG EAST National Division titles and two BIG EAST postseason championships (2008, 2009), and logged an 18-5 record against NSCAA Top 25 teams since Henderson arrived on campus in 2008.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, join the Fighting Irish women’s soccer news Twitter page (www.twitter.com/NDsoccernews) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women’s soccer page at UND.com.
— ND —