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Four Hornets earn All-MIAA recognition

Paige Sambor playing soccer
Photo by Kimberly Moss

In an announcement from the MIAA Tuesday evening, four Kalamazoo College women's soccer players were named All-MIAA honorees for their efforts during the 2016 season.

Landing on the first team were Paige Sambor, Christina Dandar and Grace Smith. Sarah George was named a second team selection.

Sambor, a senior midfielder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., earned first team honors for the second time in her career by providing a steady presence in the middle of the park throughout 2016. She scored four goals, including two game winners, while also dishing out two assists in her holding midfield role.

"Regardless of how we lined up each game Paige proved to be a critical component to our team's success," Kalamazoo Head Coach Bryan Goyings said. "Her ball winning and defensive presence allowed us to control the midfield in numerous contests throughout the season."

Dandar, a junior defender from Harrison Township, Mich., was a staple on the backline for the Hornets all season long. She helped lead the team to seven clean sheets while also recording one assist in 2016. Dandar was named to the All-MIAA second team in 2015.

"Christina has proven to be one of the most dependable individual defenders in the MIAA," Goyings said. "She has displayed an ability to raise her level of play each season. Our defensive unit was exceptional throughout the season and Christina was a major contributing factor to this group's success."

Smith, a senior goalkeeper from Portage, Mich., proved to be the top goalkeeper in the MIAA in the fall campaign. Her five clean sheets during conference play were tied for the most among all league goalkeepers. This is Smith's first recognition as a first team All-MIAA performer after being named to the second team in 2015.

"Grace has worked diligently to become the top goalkeeper in the MIAA," Goyings said. She has always been willing to put in the extra time and effort.  If she made an error or there was something she could improve on she just fixed it.  Her composure and presence was the cornerstone of a superb defensive unit."

George, a sophomore midfielder/defender from Royal Oak, Mich., made her impact on the Hornets' backline but also proved to be a critical player on set pieces. George recorded five goals and one assist, including the game-winning goal off a free kick at Hope. This is the first time in her young career she's been named All-MIAA.

"Sarah was another backline contributor that provided strong consistency throughout the year," Goyings said. "Although she had her fair share of standout games defensively, Sarah's ability to serve accurate balls into the box and score set pieces proved to be a significant factor in the team's excellent season."

Kalamazoo's individual accolades come after the team captured its first MIAA regular season championship since 1999.