Freshman midfielder Morgan Manzke (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) was named the Horizon League Freshman of the Year on Monday in voting by the league's head coaches, highlighting four Crusaders in all who were honored with league postseason honors. Junior midfielder Kelsey Draper (Perrysburg, Ohio/Perrysburg) and senior goalkeeper Kristen Manski (St. Charles, Ill./North) both were Second Team All-Horizon League honorees, while Manzke was joined by April Cronin (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) on the All-Freshman Team.
Manzke becomes the first Crusader women's soccer player to earn a postseason specialty award from the Horizon League since Valpo moved into the league prior to the 2007 campaign. The freshman used her creativity, whether from an attacking midfield position or at forward, to earn significant minutes off the bench and eventually work her way into the Crusader starting lineup at the end of the season. Manzke scored the game-winning goal in Valpo's first league win of the season, finding the back of the net for the match-winner in the 88th minute in a 2-1 win over Cleveland State.
Draper, an All-Newcomer Team honoree in 2011, earned Second Team All-League honors this season for her work in the middle of the park for the Crusaders. The junior started each of Valpo's first 16 matches before missing the regular season finale due to injury, playing the third-most minutes out of the Crusader field players.
Manski earns her first career postseason award from the league office after finishing the regular season atop the league statistical rankings in both shutouts (8) and goals against average (0.78). The Crusaders' career leader in both categories, she will finish her career second in league history for career shutouts (30), while her career GAA of 0.85 currently ranks fifth in the Horizon League annals.
Cronin joins Manzke on the All-Freshman Team after fighting through injuries to make nine appearances up top as a rookie, including seven starts. Cronin picked up an assist in her first career match, helping on the game-winning goal in Valpo's victory over DePaul – the first over a major-conference program in team history. Then, in the regular season finale against Green Bay, the freshman scored the game-tying goal in an eventual 1-1 draw.