2016 CWRU Women’s Soccer Season Recap

2016 CWRU Women’s Soccer Season Recap

The Case Western Reserve University women's soccer team was paced by a solid defense throughout the year, finishing the campaign with six victories.

The Spartans completed the 2016 season with a 6-8-4 overall record, including a 4-3-1 record at home. This marks the second-straight season that CWRU finished the year with a winning record at home.

Led by All-University Athletic Association First Team selection in junior Neha Cheemalavagu and an All-UAA Second Team selection in senior Christine Breindel, the Spartans' defense yielded just 25 goals through 18 games and shutout four opponents during the season. CWRU held opponents to averages of just 5.8 shots on goal per game, and 11.8 total shots per contest.

Offensively, six different CWRU players scored at least one goal during the campaign, and seven players registered at least a point for the balanced Spartan attack. Senior All-UAA honorable mention pick Amy Lindberg led the squad with five goals and 12 points during her senior season, both career highs. Freshman Kimberly Chen added eight points on three goals and two assists, while Cheemalavagu recorded career-highs in goals (3), assists (1), and points (7).

Adding to the team's defensive strength was junior goalkeeper Sarah Newcomb, who turned in a career year, finishing the season with a 1.27 goals against average. She started 17 games for the team, recording three individual shutouts and 69 saves during her junior season as a Spartan, including seven games with five saves or more. Newcomb also received UAA Defensive Athlete of the Week of the honors on October 25th.

Senior Madeline Pollifrone and freshman Mary Kate Ford also played key roles on the Spartans defense in 2016. Pollifrone appeared in all 18 games, including 17 starts as a defender. Ford played in 17 games and made 14 starts during her first year as a Spartan.

CWRU faced one of the tougher schedules in the nation in 2016, taking on seven teams that were nationally ranked at the time of the game. The highlight of the year for the Spartans was a 2-1 win over then 25th-ranked Wittenberg University on a late goal scored by Chen unassisted in the 60th minute of action.

CWRU allowed just three goals through their first four games of the season, opening the year with a 3-0-1 record. Included in that stretch was a 1-0 season-opening win against Oberlin College, which gave Head Coach Tiffany Crooks her program-record setting 77th career victory.

The Spartans also proved to be a challenge to one of the nation's top-ranked teams down the stretch. In the second last home game of the season, CWRU pushed the University of Chicago, which finished in the semifinals at the NCAA Championships, to the 89th minute, before falling 1-0 on a goal at the 89:43 mark.

In addition to the team's success on the field, the Spartans excelled in the classroom as well in 2016. The squad received the NSCAA College Team Academic Award with a 3.51 grade point average during the academic year, while 17 members of the team – senior Anne Backlund, sophomore Angelina Batty, Breindel, Cheemalavagu, sophomore Emily Dickens, senior Emma Hawley, junior Gabby Kiefer, sophomore Melanie Kukura, sophomore Megan Masterson, Newcomb, Pollifrone, senior Marley Praprost, junior Gabrielle Scariano, sophomore Heather Schmidt, sophomore Maggie Tyma, senior Pauline Van Dijck, and junior Elle Zadina – received UAA All-Academic Honors.

The Spartans earned the following honors during the 2016 season:

OCSA All-Ohio
Neha Cheemalavagu Mountain View, Calif. / Mountain View Second Team
Christine Breindel Orchard Park, N.Y. / Orchard Park Second Team

All-University Athletic Association

Neha Cheemalavagu

Mountain View, Calif. / Mountain View

First Team

Christine Breindel

Orchard Park, N.Y. / Orchard Park

Second Team

  Amy Lindberg 

Farmington Hills, Mich. / Harrison

Honorable Mention


UAA Athlete of the Week

Sarah Newcomb

Chagrin Falls, Ohio / Kenston

Oct. 25 (Defense)


The following were the 2016 statistical leaders for the Spartans:


Amy Lindberg



Chen, Lindberg, Kukura, Zadina



Amy Lindberg


Game Winning Goals

Amy Lindberg



Amy Lindberg


Shots on Goal

Amy Lindberg



Sarah Newcomb



Sarah Newcomb



Sarah Newcomb


Goals-Against Average

Sarah Newcomb