SAINT LEO, Fla. – Four Saint Leo women's soccer players were honored by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), announced Thursday, Dec. 1. The four student-athletes were named to the 2016 NSCAA South Regional teams as seniors Selena Jaimes and Arielle Kabangu were named 2016 NSCAA NCAA Division II Women's All-America Third Team.
Three Lions were named NSCAA First Team All-South Region following the 2016 season in Selena Jaimes, Natalie Melillo and Arielle Kabangu, while Katie Waddell was named NSCAA Second Team All-South Region. In all, there were 17 Sunshine State Conference student-athletes named to the South Region teams, while only two were named to the NSCAA All-America teams, which came from Saint Leo. Selena Jaimes and Arielle Kabangu were selected to the 2016 NSCAA All-America Third Team.
"It is a great honor for the girls to be named to the NSCAA All-South Region teams," head coach Ged O'Connor stated after the news of the teams came out from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). "Seeing Selena [Jaimes] and Arielle [Kabangu] earn All-America honors is an outstanding accomplishment for them. The Sunshine State Conference only had two named to the All-American teams this year, both coming from Saint Leo, so for those seniors to finish off their careers in that fashion is fantastic for them and the program."
"All of them have worked diligently for the program this year and you can see it in their performances," O'Connor added. "They are leaders and our seniors will be missed dearly. It is now time for the other member of the team to take over and continue this tradition next season."
Jaimes was one of four defenders selected to the team, while Melillo was one of four midfielders, and Kabangu was one of four forwards named to the first team. Eight Sunshine State Conference members were named to the NSCAA First Team All-South Region, where Saint Leo's trio was the most by any one institution.
The All-America honors for Arielle Kabangu were the third such honors of her career after being previously selected to the third team in 2014 and 2013. With the All-South Region First Team honors, Kabangu is now a four-time NSCAA All-South Region team honoree with first team honors in her freshman, sophomore and senior seasons while being selected to the second team following her junior season.
Earlier this week, Kabangu was named to the Division II Commissioners Conference Association (D2CCA) All-America Honorable Mention team. Kabangu wrapped up her stellar career as she graduates from Saint Leo as the women's soccer All-Time leader in four career categories: goals (65), points (151), shots (305) and multiple-goal games (18). Kabangu is also Saint Leo's single-season leader in shots (85) and multiple-goal games in a season (7).
Selena Jaimes earns NSCAA Third Team All-America and All-South Region First Team honors for the first time in her four-year career. Jaimes finished the season with one goal and four assists for six season points and was the mainstay in the defensive half for the Lions. She was a key factor in the Lions winning 13 games and seven Sunshine State Conference games, a program record while allowing the Lions to record four shutouts on the year. Jaimes wraps up her career in the Green and Gold with six career goals and five assists for 17 career points.
Natalie Melillo completed her first season in the Green and Gold this season and was named NSCAA First Team All-South Region for the first time in her career. Melillo scored five goals this season with 10 assists for 20 total points, which was second best on the team.
Katie Waddell adds Second Team All-South Region honors to her credit after her junior season. Waddell, who earlier this season was named All-SSC Second Team, was one of six SSC players named to the NSCAA Second Team All-South Region. Waddell finished the year with five goals and nine assists for 19 points, one shy of fellow teammate Natalie Melillo. The Second Team All-South Region honors are the first of her career but her second regional honors. Waddell was previously named First Team Daktronics All-South Region following the 2014 season.
For the latest news, updates, and information on the Saint Leo women's soccer team, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.