SHAWNEE, Okla. – On Wednesday, the Great American Conference announced its 2023 Women’s Soccer superlative awards, released the All-GAC teams and named its Conway Regional Health System Scholar Athlete recipients. Southern Nazarene’s Bella Morgas earned Offensive Player of the Year, Oklahoma Baptist’s Kaylee Swaner won Midfielder of the Year; East Central’s Tanja Baubock claimed Defensive Player of the Year; Southwestern Oklahoma State’s Elvira Gunnarsson captured Newcomer of the Year and Ouachita Baptist’s Kevin Wright garnered Coach of the Year. Ouachita Baptist’s Abbey Moore and Ashlyn Vana, Oklahoma Baptist’s Alanna Bloomingdale and Southern Nazarene’s Lauren Force received the Elite Scholar Athlete Award, Presented by Conway Regional Health System.
Morgas became the first Crimson Storm player tabbed as the league’s top offensive player. She finished the regular season with 15 goals and 31 points - pacing the conference in both categories. The 15 goals lead all NCAA Division II freshmen. She scored seven game-winning goals as the Crimson Storm posted their best record since 2014.
Swaner came up with a league-leading seven assists for her midfield position. Her nine points ranked second on the team. Baubock joined former Tiger Margaret Glutz as the program’s two Defenders of the Year. She previously took home the Offensive Player and Freshman of the Year accolades in the spring 2021 season. She played 1590 out of a possible 1620 minutes on the ECU back line.
Gunnarsson became the second-straight Bulldog voted Newcomer of the Year. She paced SWOSU with five goals and 11 points. She scored the game-winning goal as part of a two-goal performance against Harding on October 18. Wright collected the second Coach of the Year award of his career. He previously won during the spring 2021 campaign.
Morgas, Swaner and Baubock all placed on the All-GAC First Team. Oklahoma Baptist’s Bloomingdale, Ouachita Baptist’s Jamie Fowler and SWOSU’s Micaella Swain joined Morgas as First-Team forwards. Bloomingdale led the regular-season champion Bison with five goals and 11 points. Fowler ranked third in the conference with 15 points. Four of her six goals finished as game winners. Swain’s five assists ranked second in the GAC.
East Central’s Abbie Morris, Southern Nazarene’s Natalie Montanez and Southwestern Oklahoma State’s Claire Torry filled out the midfielder position on the All-GAC First Team. Morris scored two goals; Montanez ranked second to Morgas with nine goals and 19 points. Torry became a five-team All-GAC performer.
In addition to Baubock, the All-GAC First Team defenders included Ouachita Baptist’s Abbey Inman and Abbey Moore plus Oklahoma Baptist’s Asley Baker. Ouachita Baptist’s Michele Snow made the First-Team as goalkeeper for the second time in three seasons. Ouachita Baptist finished the regular season with the top goals-against average in the league, 0.67. The Tigers have allowed only 12 goals and have registered nine shutouts. Baker claimed All-GAC honors for the second time in her career.
Gunnarsson headlined the All-GAC Second Team. Three of her teammates - Julie Andersen, Sola Tsuruta and Tianna Watkins - joined her as well as Harding’s Kim Barcenas, Regan Thompson and Whitney Thomas, Southern Nazarene’s Gianna Bonnett and Avery Pyle, Ouachita Baptist’s Hattie Gardner and Teagan Jaussi, Northwestern Oklahoma State’s Callie Haneborg and Oklahoma Baptist’s Mia Pendleton.
The All-GAC Honorable Mention Team consisted of Ouachita Baptist’s Sydni Perry, Allison Reece, Amerie Thomas and Gracen Turner; Northwestern Oklahoma State’s Rachel Brown and Isabella McMillan; Oklahoma Baptist’s Avril Baccam and Alexis Williamson and Southwestern Oklahoma State’s Ruth Vasquez.
Moore and Vana, Bloomingdale and Lauren Force all own 4.00 GPAs A total of eight student-athletes earned the Distinguished Scholar Athlete Award - Presented by Conway Regional Health System - in Oklahoma Baptist’s Makenzy Morgan and Annika Pinter, Ouachita Baptist’s Abbey Inman and Mary Inman, Southern Nazarene’s Hannah Schaffer and Unaizah Shajani plus Southwestern Oklahoma State’s Summer Bass and Sola Tsuruta.