10/13/2016 2:41 PM
WESTERN NEW YORK FLASH 2016 TEAM AWARDS
McCall Zerboni – Community Award
Zerboni, 29, was one of the veterans on this youthful Flash roster, and her impact in the community was well-known throughout the organization and WNY. The UCLA grad could always be found at community events – Roswell Park, Camp Good Days, etc. – and was always in the middle of everything, helping in any way she could. On the field, Zerboni contributed one assist in her thirteen games played after being dealt to the Flash in June.
Makenzy Doniak – Rookie of the Year
Doniak, 21, made 22 appearances and 17 starts in her first NWSL season after being drafted 11th overall in the 2016 NWSL College Draft. The graduate of the University of Virginia had 4 goals and 4 assists in her 1,292 minutes, including a crucial goal in the Flash’s 4-3 semifinal win in Portland on October 2. Doniak was often relied upon by head coach Paul Riley, especially during the absence of Olympians Sam Mewis and Abby Erceg over the summer.
Abby Dahlkemper – Defender of the Year
Dahlkemper, 23, grew leaps and bounds in her 2016 campaign, as Flash head coach Paul Riley left Dahlkemper in the game for every minute of every match in the 2016 season. The UCLA alum started 22 games (including playoffs) and 2,040 minutes, contributing 2 goals and an assist. The defender also earned her first call up to the United States Women’s National Team roster last Thursday and converted her penalty kick en route to the Flash’s win in the 2016 NWSL Championship.
Lynn Williams – Golden Boot
Looking to improve on a solid rookie season in 2015 that saw her tally 4 goals and 4 assists and win the 2015 Offensive Player of the Year Award for the Flash, Lynn Williams had breakthrough sophomore campaign that saw her reach an amazing level of play and earn the team’s Golden Boot Award. With her team-leading 11 goals also being league-leading, Williams earned the 2016 NWSL Golden Boot Award as well. But those were not the only league accolades that Williams earned this season, as she was also announced as the 2016 NWSL Most Valuable Player. With 5 assists to go along with her 11 goals in 19 starts, Lynn ranked fourth in NWSL assist leaders. The Fresno native also ranked among leaders in other categories as well: first in shots with 70, and second in shots-on-goal with 34. But the most impressive part of the Pepperdine alumnus’ 2016 season was her ability to score in clutch moments and in the playoffs. Williams was able to score 3 goals in the playoffs, with all three coming in extra time. First, she scored in the 98’ and 104’ of the Flash’s semifinal match against Portland, propelling Western New York to a 4-3 win. Then, as the championship match against Washington rolled into the final minute of the second half of extra time, Williams was able to put a header into the net that tied the match at 2-2, sending the match to penalty kicks. With a sophomore season like the one she had, Williams has already established herself as one of the NWSL’s top players, earning her a deserved call-up to the USWNT.
Jessica McDonald – Most Valuable Player
After an incredible first season with Western New York, Jessica McDonald has been named the Flash’s Most Valuable Player for 2016. McDonald, a five-year veteran of the NWSL, posted 10 goals over the course of 19 starts. The former North Carolina Tar Heel finished the regular season 3rd in league scoring behind teammate Lynn Williams and Houston’s Kealia Ohai, who both finished with 11 goals. Jessica also finished the season 2nd in the league with 7 assists, three behind the league leader, Portland’s Tobin Heath. In addition, the Phoenix native finished with 61 shots (3rd-best in the NWSL) and 34 shots-on-goal (Tied for 2nd-best in NWSL). To cap off the regular season, McDonald tallied a goal in each of the Flash’s final 3 games, helping the team finish strong. In the Flash’s memorable postseason run, McDonald had an assist in both playoff matches, including the assist on Lynn Williams’ game-tying goal in the last minute of extra time during the NWSL Championship. McDonald also served as a team leader and was an integral part of the team, besides being a statistical leader, on the field and off the field in route to the team’s 11-6-5 record and NWSL Championship.