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    Illini Honor Seniors, Award Winners at Annual Banquet
    Ella Masar took home the team MVP and offensive MVP awards at the team's banquet on Feb. 10.

    Ella Masar took home the team MVP and offensive MVP awards at the team's banquet on Feb. 10.

    Feb. 12, 2007

    URBANA, Ill. - The Fighting Illini women's soccer team honored its four seniors and this year's top performers Saturday night at their annual awards banquet held at Kennedy's at Stone Creek in Urbana. The squad celebrated its second appearance in the NCAA Round of 16, a school attendance record and a school record-tying season win total.

    Head Coach Janet Rayfield presented letters to 17 student-athletes and five awards to her top performers. Junior Ella Masar (Urbana, Ill.) capped her extremely successful season by being honored as the team MVP and Offensive MVP. The local star was a second team All-America selection by the NSCAA and the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. She scored nine goals with nine assists for 27 points, eighth on the single-season school points record list.

    Sophomore Emily Zurrer (Vancouver, B.C.) was named Defensive MVP after helping the Illini defense to 12 shutouts, second-most in school history. Zurrer was a third team All-American by NSCAA and Soccer Buzz, and was the Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Year. She was a Big Ten All-Tournament selection and was named to TopDrawerSoccer's Team of the Season.

    Freshman Brittany Garrett (Lake Zurich, Ill.) earned the team's Most Improved Award after stepping into the Illini back line late in the year and contributing to Illinois' NCAA tournament run. Junior Shannon McDonnell (Orland Park, Ill.) was the recipient of the Jeremy L. Daly Award for the second-straight year. The award is given annually to the Illinois player who exemplifies excellence as a player, teammate and student-athlete.

    In addition, the program also recognized the accomplishments of seniors Jessica Bayne (Troy, Ill.,), Paula Faherty (Springfield, Va.), Quinn Reynolds (Jamestown, N.C.) and Eva Strickland (Seattle, Wash).

    Besides bringing the 2006 season to a close, the banquet also helps kick-off the Fighting Illini's spring competition slate. Illinois opens the spring with its indoor 7-v-7 tournament on Feb. 18, beginning at 10 a.m. The full spring schedule will be available in the coming weeks.

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