CULLOWHEE, N.C. -- Western Carolina women's soccer placed three players on the 2017 Southern Conference Championship All-Tournament team after the Catamounts' runner-up performance on Sunday. Junior Sayres McKenna, redshirt sophomore Jacquelyn Gnassi, and sophomore Emily Threatt were each honored after WCU fell 1-0 to UNCG in the finals.
The Catamounts made the SoCon Championship finals for the first time since 2008 and the team's No. 4 seed was the highest for the Catamounts since a No. 2 seed in that same 2008 season. It is also the first time the Catamounts have had an all-tournament selection since 2008.
McKenna, a midfielder from Wilmington, N.C., had an assist on the goal scored by senior Deyana Walker that iced the game in the 2-0 win against No. 1 seed Furman in the semi-finals. She ends the season with four goals, seven assists and 15 points. All four goals scored by McKenna were game-winners. In the Catamount record books, McKenna ends her junior campaign with 19 assists ranking her fourth in career assists. She needs two assists to move into third place replacing former standout, and WCU Hall of Fame member, Nardia Moore who ended her career with 20.
Gnassi, a goalkeeper from Ramsey, New Jersey, was near brilliant in her three games in the SoCon Championship run. From the quarterfinal game against VMI all the way to the finals against UNCG, Gnassi allowed just one goal including shutting out the potent Paladin offense who had placed six players on the SoCon All-Conference first team. In the semi-final game, Gnassi had 10 saves rejecting Furman at every turn and protecting the tenuous 1-0 lead the Catamounts picked up just eight minutes into the contest. All told, in the three tournament games, Gnassi had a 2-1 record, earning two shutouts and had 0.33 goals against average. For the season, Gnassi closes out the year with a 7-6-1 record, recorded four shutouts and had 90 saves in 1423:42 minutes of play.
Threatt, a forward from Knoxville, Tenn., was a true catalyst for the Catamounts in their SoCon tournament run. She scored the lone goal in WCU's 1-0 win against VMI in the quarterfinals of the tournament held in Cullowhee, N.C. sending the team to the semi-finals in Birmingham, Ala. against No. 1 seed Furman. In the semi-final game, Threatt got the Catamounts on the board early netting a goal just eight minutes into the contest. She became just the third SoCon player to score against the Paladins all season. Threatt's teammate Walker scored late in the game -- netting her second goal against Furman this season. Walker was the only SoCon player to score against the Paladins in regular season play. Threatt ends her season with seven goals ranking her second on the team. She added an assist and also had two game-winning goals.
As a team, Western Carolina closed out the season winning five of its last seven games including a season-high four-game winning streak. The Catamounts outscored opponents 12-5, in that seven-game span, with three shutouts. Western Carolina's 33 goals this season were the most for the program since 2005 when the team had 35.