New U Sports Fall Quarter Awards
Female Athlete of the Quarter
Tanya Taylor, Sr.
Senior forward Tanya Taylor was the key to UC Irvine women’s soccer regular season and postseason successes. Leading UCI to the Sweet 16, Taylor dished out two second-half assists to sophomore Devon Delarosa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, defeating Arizona State 2-1. In the round of 32, she made two Wake Forest defenders look foolish early in the game, artfully dribbling around the Demon Deacons and scoring a goal in the top corner beyond the grasp of Wake Forest’s goalie. Later in the game, she assisted junior Coco Goodson in securing a 2-0 victory. Taylor, the Big West Offensive Player of the Year, broke the Anteaters’ single-season assists record with 12, passing Caty Cope’s previous record of 10. She also recorded 11 goals, tying her for sixth in school history. With 34 points, she ranks second in Irvine’s record books behind Nicole Bucciarelli’s 1996 performance (37).
One of nine players in the nation to record a double-double (double-digit goals and assists), Taylor leaves behind a legacy as the captain of the most successful team in program history. Her crafty style on the field, team-first attitude and impressive season are features coach Scott Juniper deemed irreplaceable. He will be hard-pressed to find such a lethal offensive weapon to start as forward in her place next season.
Male Athlete of the Quarter
Brandon Johnson, Sr.
As the leading scorer on the men’s water polo team, which ranked in the nation’s top 10 throughout the entire season, senior driver Brandon Johnson has been instrumental to his team’s success. Along with seniors Griffin Lerman and Doug Lindsey, who have scored 46 and 40 goals respectively, Johnson netted goals consistently throughout his senior campaign.
Johnson entered last weekend’s MPSF Tournament tied for eighth in the country with 42 goals. He scored sixed goals in the three game tournament, but his peak performance came against Pepperdine University on Sept. 19 with six goals in a 16-10 victory. On Nov. 13, Johnson scored two of UCI’s seven goals in the team’s clutch 7-6 win over No. 7 UC Santa Barbara at Anteater Pool.
Danielle de Seriere, Sr.
As the goalie and senior captain of the women’s soccer team, Danielle de Seriere served as her team’s vocal leader while stymieing numerous attempts this season. Despite relinquishing a game-winning goal to University of Washington in double overtime during the Sweet 16 game, de Seriere was superb in the game. With Washington controlling the ball throughout the majority of the contest, de Seriere was pressured during the entire game, but held her own in regulation. She saved nine shots on goal before missing the final shot of the game.
A four-year starter and the Big West Goalkeeper of the Year, de Seriere broke the school record for most shutouts in a season, with 11, surpassing her previous total of nine in 2007. She also broke the UCI career shutouts record with 31. In 24 games, she gave up just 18 goals.
Amani Walker, Sr.
Team captain and senior forward Amani Walker was one reason the men’s soccer team compiled a notable record of 14-3-3 and clinched the Big West regular season championship. Although the team fumbled down the stretch, losing two of their final three games, Walker remained a bright spot of the season.
Scoring 11 goals and two assists, Walker was named the Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Year and received recognition, for the second time of his college career, as a first-team all conference player. He led the conference in goals and tied for first in points (24). His 27 career goals rank fourth in the UCI record books.
Colleen Lillig, Fr.
Making an immediate impact for the women’s cross country team this season, freshman Colleen Lillig finished as UCI’s top runner in five of six of her races. The performance warranted her Big West Conference Freshman of the Year in women’s cross-country. On Oct. 30, Lillig finished sixth overall as the top freshman finisher in the Big West Championship run at UC Riverside with a time of 21:29.5. Her time in the 6000-meter run was the fastest ever run by a UCI true freshman on that course. Lillig was the first Anteater to cross the finish line on Nov. 14 in the NCAA West Regional at the Springfield Country Club in Oregon. Placing 81st overall in her final race of the season, Lillig completed the race in 21:37.86.
Devon Delarosa, So.
Sophomore midfielder Devon Delarosa notched her first goal of the season on Aug. 20 against Idaho. It took 71 days for her to score her second goal on Oct. 31. However, in a span of three minutes during the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 12, Delarosa scored two more goals, her third and fourth of the season. Her timely points proved to be the deciding factor in resuscitating the women’s soccer team’s season.
In the 72nd minute, senior Tanya Taylor banged a shot off of the right post, which deflected to the feet of Delarosa. She braced herself and slid the ball low, just inside the left goalpost and out of the reach of Arizona State University’s goalie. The clutch goal electrified the Anteater audience, which came out in record form that night with 1,058 bodies in the stadium. A couple minutes later, Taylor dribbled to the right corner and crossed it into the box, where 5-foot-4-inch Delarosa was waiting to head the game-winner into the back of the net. A key player throughout the season, Delarosa shined against the Sun Devils, who were held scoreless in the final 73 minutes of the game. Her performance single-footedly and single-headedly vaulted the Anteaters into the round of 32, where days later they defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.