Hompe, Kent, Murray, Soenksen Named #BestOfLax Finalists

Hompe (England), Kent (BC), Murray (U.S.) and Soenksen (Colorado) are finalists for best women's performance of 2017.


Each year, we at US Lacrosse Magazine pore over the top coaches, players, games, performances, breakthroughs and moments for the annual “Best of Lacrosse” edition. Naturally, this retrospective tome drops in December. 

But now is the time to be heard.

Over the next two weeks, we’re polling fans on Twitter (@USLacrosseMag) to vote on four finalists in 10 categories: Best Men’s Coach, Best Women’s Coach, Best Men’s Player, Best Women’s Player, Best Game, Best Men’s Performance, Best Women’s Performance, Best Men’s Breakthrough, Best Women’s Breakthrough and Best Moment.

Today, we present our four finalists for Best Women’s Performance of 2017: Olivia Hompe’s three straight goals to send the bronze medal game into overtime and secure the win for England, Boston College attacker Kenzie Kent’s 10 points in the NCAA championship game to earn Most Outstanding Player, Team USA’s Alyssa Murray dominate offensive performance in the World Games, and goalie Paige Soenksen’s 19 saves in Colorado’s season-opening upset victory over Northwestern.

Narrowing down the field meant leaving out some players whose performances also made headlines.

There were the record breakers, including Stony Brook junior Kylie Ohlmiller, whose 164 points broke an NCAA Division I single-season record previously held by Jen Adams, and Team USA attacker Kayla Treanor, who set a new U.S. single-game record with 12 points in the 18-1 pool play win over England, surpassing Lindsey Munday. Both Ohlmiller and Treanor were nominated for Best Women’s Player of 2017.

Then there were the high scorers, including Navy’s Julia Collins and North Carolina’s Molly Hendrick. Collins tallied a school-record eight goals in the Midshipmen’s 23-11 win over UMass in the NCAA quarterfinal, while Hendrick recorded 12 goals in two games in the ACC tournament to lead the Tar Heels to their second straight conference title.

The national champion Maryland had several notable performances as well, including sophomore attacker Caroline Steele’s six goals in the NCAA final, tying the NCAA championship game record for goals. Then the Terps’ season-leading scorer Megan Whittle took her skills internationally, netting the game-winner in overtime to lift England back to the medal stand.

Cases could be made for these standouts and more.

More on this year’s finalists for Best Women’s Performance:







Olivia Hompe
Three Goals To Force OT in England’s 10-9 Win Vs. Australia for Bronze on July 22

After a record-setting career at Princeton, becoming the school’s all-time leader in points and goals and then a Tewaaraton finalist, Olivia Hompe made her name known on the international scale, specifically in the bronze medal game at the FIL Women’s World Cup in Guildford, England. Down 9-6 with 10 minutes to play, Hompe scored her first goal of the game en route to an on-fire performance in the rain. At the 5:41 mark, she scored her second straight goal to bring the game within one. Then again, with nearly just two minutes remaining, she registered the final tally in regulation, forcing the game into overtime and leading England back to bronze with the 10-9 win. Her three straight goals in the final minutes saved the game for the host nation after trailing 6-3 at halftime. The last time England medaled in the World Cup was in 2005.

Kenzie Kent
10 Points in Boston College’s 16-13 NCAA Championship Loss to Maryland on May 28

After her ice hockey team lost in the NCAA semifinals, Boston College junior Kenzie Kent took one week off before rejoining the Eagles’ lacrosse team in late March. Playing just five regular season games and then 12 postseason games en route to the NCAA championship against Maryland, Kent finished third on the team in points (77) with a well-balanced 39 goals and 38 assists. But her performance peaked in the NCAA title game, tallying 10 points (five goals and five assists) against the Terps, tying the all-time NCAA championship record. Four of her five goals and three of her five assists came in the second half. Kent became the first player in NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse championship history to be named the Most Outstanding Player from the losing team. In her final four games against Navy and Maryland, she totaled 10 goals on 14 shots, six assists, four ground balls and four draw controls.

Alyssa Murray
19 Points To Lead Team USA to Gold at IWGA World Games in July 

After not playing in the FIL Women’s World Cup as an alternate for the U.S. women’s national team, attacker Alyssa Murray exploded at the IWGA World Games in Wroclaw, Poland. She led Team USA to its second straight gold medal in one summer with 19 points in four games, all of which were won by a combined score of 63-19. In the 18-5 semifinal victory against Great Britain, Murray had a team-best four points, and in the 11-8 championship win against Canada, she tallied a team-high four goals. The gold medal marked the first-ever world title for Team USA in this event, which was historic for the sport as it was the first time lacrosse was included in a multi-games competition in its pursuit for Olympic inclusion.

Paige Soenksen
19 Saves in Colorado’s Season-Opening 11-10 OT Win Vs. Northwestern on Feb. 12

Embarking on just its fourth season, Colorado opened 2017 with a tough match against then-No. 9 Northwestern. The Wildcats led the underdog 6-5 at halftime, but the Buffs came back to lead the ‘Cats 5-4 in the second period and secure the eventual one-goal upset win in overtime. Many players could be recognized for the hot start to the season, but one specifically stood out – senior goalie Paige Soenksen. She almost single-handedly kept Colorado in the game, tallying 19 saves against the perennial power, 10 in the first half and nine in the second. Northwestern only recorded five saves. Soenksen’s performance earned her Epoch/US Lacrosse Player of the Week honors in February, as it sparked the historic season for a Colorado squad that set records and earned a spot in national polls for the first time in program history.

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