Stephens Soccer Recognized for Exemplary Sportsmanship
COLUMBIA - The Stephens College soccer team is the recipient of the American Midwest Conference (AMC) Fair Play and Sportsmanship Award, the conference office announced Thursday. Voted on by the league coaches, the Stars are back-to-back winners, having won the award in 2012 following their first season playing AMC soccer.
The annual award reflects the ideals of sportsmanship, ethical behavior and fair play on the field, a key focus of the NAIA's Champions of Character program.
"Last year, I really feel like we perhaps won the Fair Play and Sportsmanship award in part because we were not fully a soccer team in some ways," said head coach Xander Kennedy. "We had athletes who would go in hard for a ball and if an opponent fell over, would stop in the middle of the play and pick them up."
Kennedy went on to say that this year's players were much more aggressive, yet they conducted themselves in a manner that warranted the sportsmanship award.
Also for the second year in a row, the Stars' soccer team went the entire season without drawing a card (yellow or red).
"We have yet to receive any sort of disciplinary action while competing," Kennedy added. "That's a tribute to our young ladies who are competing hard, but doing so in a way that they don't get overly frustrated and don't let their emotions get out of control."
The Fair Play and Sportsmanship Award was announced on Thursday, along with all-conference honors, following the conclusion of the AMC Women's Soccer Championship match between Columbia College and Park University.