KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Oklahoma State’s Melinda Mercado and AD Franch were both named 2011 NSCAA First Team All-Americans, it was announced today by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Both Franch and Mercado were on the NSCAA All-America Second Team in 2010. The duo becomes the second and third Cowgirls to earn first-team All-America status from the NSCAA, joining Yolanda Odenyo, who earned that honor in 2006.
With Mercado at defender and Franch at goalkeeper, OSU sported one of the NCAA’s top defenses in 2011 as the duo helped the Cowgirls record a school-record 22 wins. Along the way, the Cowgirls achieved their highest-ever national ranking (No. 2), advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship for the second consecutive year and claimed a Big 12 Conference regular season title.
“It is quite an honor for our program to have two student athletes named as first-team All-Americans by the NSCAA. We are very proud of what these two players have accomplished, and they are both very deserving of the award,” said OSU head coach Colin Carmichael. “Both of these young ladies are wonderful representatives of our soccer program and Oklahoma State University. It has been my pleasure to coach them this year.”
Mercado capped her OSU career with a standout senior season as she was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight year and earned a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team for the third year in a row.
“Melinda has been a terrific defender ever since she set foot on our campus,” Carmichael said. “However, I believe that this year she has developed into a complete player. She is a leader on the team, and she has added the ability to attack and be a goal threat to her stellar defending. We will certainly miss her presence next season.”
A native of Sapulpa, Okla., Mercado started all 26 games at center back in 2011 and led the Cowgirls with over 2,300 minutes played. OSU led the NCAA in goals-against average at 0.337, allowing just nine goals in 26 games, and ranked third in shutout percentage (0.692) as the Cowgirls turned in a nation’s best 18 shutouts.
Mercado, who also scored a pair of goals this season, set an OSU record by starting 98 games in her career, and the Cowgirls recorded 52 shutouts in those contests.
Franch continued to rewrite the OSU record books in ’11, and the junior was a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection and a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy.
“In my opinion, AD is the best goalkeeper in women’s collegiate soccer,” Carmichael said. “She continues to make saves that most players can only dream about, and she continues to improve in the areas of her game that need work. We are very excited to have her returning in 2012 for her senior season at OSU.”
Despite missing six games due to injury, Franch broke her own school record by posting 12 shutouts in the 20 games she played. She ranked second in the NCAA in goals-against average (0.348) and third in save percentage (0.92) and finished the season with 81 saves. She logged over 1,800 minutes in goal this season and allowed just seven goals.
Franch has recorded an OSU-record 32 shutouts in her three seasons in Stillwater and has led the Big 12 in that statistic in each of those years.