Crist named NSCAA national women’s player of the year

| Senior Sports Editor

Washington University senior goalkeeper Lizzy Crist has been named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer National Player of the Year the association announced Thursday. By winning the award, Crist becomes the first Bear to ever win NSCAA player of the year honors.

“Every one of the players that we bring to the program, we try to maximize their potential,” head coach Jim Conlon said. “From freshman year all the way to senior year, she did exactly that…and that makes her one of the special ones.”

In 23 starts this season, Crist amassed a 19-1-2 record, and set Wash. U. single season records with 0.29 goals against average (GAA) and 13 total shutouts. Her GAA ranked fourth-best in Division III this season while the six goals she allowed was the fifth lowest total in the country.

Senior goalkeeper Lizzy Crist attempts to block a penalty kick during the NCAA tournament finals shootout against Messiah College. Crist was named the NSCAA women's soccer player of the year.Aaron Brezel

Senior goalkeeper Lizzy Crist attempts to block a penalty kick during the NCAA tournament finals shootout against Messiah College. Crist was named the NSCAA women’s soccer player of the year.

All of this anchored a Bears team that claimed its first ever National Championship in early December. During the championship game against Messiah College, Crist made a season-high six saves, including a dramatic diving stop with 18 seconds left in the second overtime. After making the initial save, close enough in front of her to smother it and prevent a second shot off a ricochet

“To hold that ball without a rebound is clutch,” Conlon said. “It was a big moment for us in that game.”

Her efforts sent the game into a penalty shootout where the Bears prevailed 5-4. Crist was named the the NCAA Championship most outstanding defensive player after posting a 0.90 GAA in the final weekend.

Another signature moment from this season came in Wash. U.’s Sweet Sixteen match against Hardin-Simmons University on Nov. 19. After holding the Cowgirls’ 3.95 goal-per-game offense scoreless through 110 minutes, Crist made three saves in the penalty shootout to propel the Bears to the quarterfinals 2-1.

During the Bears title run, Crist anchored a defense that finished seventh in Division III with a .320 goals against average, but had ranked as high as second in the nation before entering the Final Four.

“Lizzy gave a constant in a key position returning for this season,” Conlon said. “She’s a very good goalkeeper and emerged even into a better leader, friend a player on the field.”

Crist finishes her career with the Bears as the all-time leader in shutouts with 31 while amassing the second most wins (48) and fourth most saves (182) in school history.

In 2015, Crist was named the D3soccer.com goalkeeper of the year. She is also a three-time all-UAA and all-central region.