Seven Crusaders named to United Soccer Coaches All-Region teams, Elkins and Hill named Region X Coaching Staff of the Year

Photo by Russell Mariwtz/True To The Cru/russellmarwitz.com

BELTON-The season has ended for the UMHB men’s and women’s soccer teams, but the awards keep rolling in. 

There was no lack of UMHB representation on the All-Region teams released by the United Soccer Coaches on Wednesday, as a total of seven Crusaders, along with a coaching staff, were featured with the Region 10 honorees. 

On the women’s side, head coach Barry Elkins and assistant coach Charis Hill were selected as the Region X Coaching Staff of the Year, for their leadership in UMHB’s incredible 17-1-1 season that saw the Crusaders their first conference championship in program history, with a 1-0 win over Hardin-Simmons. UMHB also reached the NCAA Tournament for just the second time, and finished undefeated in ASC play, at 14-0-1. 

Amongst the players recognized, Shay Taylor, Maria Rico and Kristen Burdick were named First Team Region X. Taylor, a senior midfielder, was key in UMHB’s defensive success all season long, playing 1,411 minutes, and Burdick, also a senior and the ASC Tournament MVP and ASC Defensive Player of the Year, anchored the back line. Maria Rico, another member of the senior class, led the ASC in goals (10), shots on goal (29) and points (22), and was responsible for the go-ahead goal in UMHB’s 1-0 regular season win over longtime rival Hardin-Simmons. Kelsey White, a junior midfielder, was selected to the Second Team, starting all 19 games this past season. She totaled three goals and three assists. 

On the men’s side, three were honored, in Nick Villanueva, Patrick Roach and Raymond Kennedy. Villanueva earned a First Team Region X selection, starting in 15 games for the Cru as a senior this year. He had four goals and five assists, with three of those four scores being game-winners. Roach and Kennedy were each selected to the Third Team, with Kennedy’s defensive performance and Roach’s offensive prowess recognized. Kennedy was perhaps UMHB’s strongest defender, contributing in a big way to a back line that allowed just 1.39 goals per game. He played in 14 complete 90-minute matches in 2022. Roach, a forward, ranked third in the ASC in goals (8) and points (23), while leading UMHB in goals, assists, points, shots on goal, and total shots. 

It was a stellar season for the men as a whole, who claimed the ASC title and hosted an NCAA regional for just the second time. The Crusaders finished with a 13-3-2 mark.

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