June 24, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame junior All-America women’s soccer forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) has been selected as one of five nominees for the 2011 ESPY Award in the category of “Best Female College Athlete,” it was announced Friday. Henderson is the fourth Fighting Irish women’s soccer player in the past seven years to earn an ESPY nomination, following in the footsteps of 2004 Soccer America National Player of the Year Katie Thorlakson (up for a 2005 ESPY), and two-time Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy recipient Kerri Hanks, who was nominated the summer after she earned national player-of-the-year accolades in 2006 and 2008.
Henderson arguably was the nation’s most electric offensive threat in 2010, scoring 17 goals and dishing out a career-high 11 assists en route to a career-high 45 points while leading Notre Dame to its third NCAA national championship. The Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the NCAA Women’s College Cup, she was one of only three players in the country (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 the 2010 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 past season. In addition to her College Cup accolades, she also was named the recipient of the 2010 Honda Sports Award in women’s soccer, was the runner-up for the Hermann Trophy, was a consensus first-team All-America selection, 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).
The others competing against Henderson for this year’s ESPY Award for “Best Female College Athlete” are Penn State volleyball player Blair Brown, Arizona State softball player Dallas Escobedo, USC swimmer Katinka Hosszu and Connecticut women’s basketball player Maya Moore. Of those five nominees, three led their teams to national championships — Henderson, Brown and Escobedo.
The ESPYs will take place at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) on July 13 from the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles, with the ceremony broadcast live on ESPNHD and hosted by comedian Seth Meyers, best known for his work on “Saturday Night Live.”
Fans will have the opportunity to select the winners in all of this year’s ESPY categories by voting online at espn.com/espys, by mobile device also at espn.com/espys, or on the ESPN Facebook page (facebook.com/espn), with fans visiting the Facebook page encouraged to both vote and choose the “Like” option.
In addition, fans can follow the official ESPYs Twitter page (@ESPYs) and tweet about their favorite nominees, as well as the show itself leading up to and during the live ceremony. Those fans who elect to vote via Twitter should use the tag @ESPYs in their tweets in order to ensure their vote is counted. Once the live show starts on July 13, fans should change their tags to #ESPYs to follow the results and continue conversations with fans around the world.
Henderson and her Fighting Irish teammates will open training camp in early August, taking the pitch for their first time on Aug. 9 with a noon (ET) exhibition match against Nebraska at Alumni Stadium. Following a second exhibition contest (Aug. 12 against Virginia in Traverse City, Mich.), Notre Dame officially begins defense of its latest national championship at 5:30 p.m. (ET) Aug. 19 against Wisconsin at Alumni Stadium.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s soccer Twitter pages (@NDsoccernews or @NDSoccer) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women’s soccer page at the official Notre Dame athletics web site, www.UND.com.
— ND —