By Steve Lansdale
University of Texas goalkeeper Abby Smith has been chosen as one of 30 women’s Div. I players nominated for the 2015 Senior CLASS Award.
To be eligible for the award, student-athletes must be an NCAA Div. I senior and “must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and possess notable achievements in four specific areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.”
Through the Longhorns’ first three games, Smith has allowed just 0.62 goals per game, collected 18 saves and posted a pair of shutouts, including Sunday when she blanked then-No. 18 (now No. 17 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll) Ohio State.
Smith also has the distinction of scoring from her goalkeeper position, when her punt bounced over the unsuspecting goalkeeper from the University of Miami for a goal from about 90 yards. (If that weren’t enough, the goal was the third of Smith’s career at UT.)
Smith enters this weekend’s games at UC-Santa Barbara and No. 14 UCLA as the Longhorns’ all-time leader in goals-against average, and ranks second in shutouts (26). She needs four more to break former UT goalkeeper Dianna Pfenninger’s school record of 29.
The list of Senior CLASS Award candidates will be trimmed from 30 to 10 during the middle of the regular season to make up the official ballot; those ballots then will be sent across the nation to voters, including members of the media, coaches and fans.
The winner will be announced in December during the 2015 NCAA Women’s College Cup®.