The grind of a conference tournament can be an arduous stretch, testing the depth and limits of a squad late in the season.
Sometimes, postseason conference tournament success can even be a detriment, as an injury can handicap a team’s chances in the big dance. But it’s also one final chance for teams to book spots in the NCAA tournament, or a catalyst for a late season run.
It’s also a chance for players to come through in the clutch, and that’s what TopDrawerSoccer.com Player of the Week Elizabeth Keester managed for Texas A&M.
The freshman forward accounted for three huge goals as the Aggies won the SEC tournament title. They bested top 25 opposition South Carolina on Friday and edged Florida 2-1 on Sunday. Keester scored both goals in the win over the Gamecocks, and tallied the winner in the victory against the Gators. She was also named the SEC tournament MVP.
Here’s a look at the complete TDS Team of the Week.
GK Andrea Green, Boston University: Back-stopped two shutout triumphs for the Terriers as they clinched the Patriot League title. She didn’t need to make a save in 110 minutes in the semifinal, but stopped the decisive PK in the shootout against Colgate. Green then posted another shutout in a 1-0 win over Navy in the tourney final, making two saves as she was named tournament MVP.
D Kadeisha Buchanan, West Virginia: It’s been a sensational freshman season for Buchanan, the Canadian international who has thrived in her jump into DI soccer. Her latest accomplishment was leading the Mountaineers back line to three straight shutouts as West Virginia hoisted its first Big 12 conference tournament trophy.
D Marissa Diggs, UCF: Goals were in short supply for the Knights over the weekend, but Diggs and the UCF back line were in good form as they managed to win both penalty shootouts en route to the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament title.
D Kassey Kallman, Florida State: The ACC Defensive Player of the Year was in fine form as the Seminoles hoisted the conference championship. While they did concede a goal to the Tar Heels on Friday, Kallman was solid and steady across both games as the Seminoles blanked the Hokies in Sunday’s championship.
MF Jessy Brown, UMBC: A worst-to-first transformation has culminated in an NCAA tournament appearance for UMBC, which sewed up the America East conference tournament title. Brown had a goal and an assist in the 2-1 title game victory over Stony Brook, including the decisive tally to punch the program’s first-ever appearance in the big dance.
MF Sam Mewis, UCLA: Despite not starting the regular season finale against USC, the midfield maestro made her presence felt with a goal and three assists as the Bruins cruised to a 4-1 win on Thursday.
MF Ellen Parker, Portland: The senior midfielder popped up to score a pair of game-winning goals for the Pilots, who split the WCC title with Santa Clara and BYU. Parker scored the winner in a 3-1 win against the Broncos, and had the games lone tally in a 1-0 defeat of San Francisco.
F Jaycie Johnson, Nebraska: The Huskers remained one of the hottest teams in the country over the past week, running their winning streak to nine with three Big Ten conference tournament wins. Johnson scored three goals, including the game winner in Sunday’s 1-0 championship win against Iowa, as the freshman forward continued her impressive campaign.
F Elizabeth Keester, Texas A&M: The high-scoring club star continues to come into her own at the collegiate level. Keester topped the scoring charts at the SEC tournament with three tallies, two in the semifinals and the game winner as the Aggies beat Florida to win conference tourney honors.
F Hannah Leinert, Illinois State: A first-year attacker for the Redbirds, Leinert led ISU to an MVC tournament championship with five goals in two games, including a hat trick in Sunday’s 5-0 defeat of Indiana State.
TopDrawerSoccer.com Player of the Week: Elizabeth Keester, Texas A&M
Other players considered: D Kristin Grubka (Florida State), F Savannah Jordan (Florida), F Frances Silva (West Virginia), MF Dagny Brynjarsdottir (Florida State), D Ari Romero (Nebraska), F Jazmine Reeves (Virginia Tech)