Lizzy Crist named NCAA Woman of the Year

| Managing Editor

Lizzy Crist, a 2017 graduate of Washington University, is the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year.

The award recognizes women across all three NCAA divisions who excel on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

“I don’t know if it will ever soak in,” Crist said. “I really want everyone to know that it would have not been possible without my teammates.”

Lizzy Crist, who graduated from Wash. U. in 2017, receives her NCAA Woman of the Year Award on Oct. 22. Crist beat out finalists from Divisions I, II and III in order to earn the award.Justin Tafoya | NCAA photos

Lizzy Crist, who graduated from Wash. U. in 2017, receives her NCAA Woman of the Year Award on Oct. 22. Crist beat out finalists from Divisions I, II and III in order to earn the award.

Crist is two-time Goalkeeper of the Year, and graduated summa cum laude with a 3.9 GPA majoring in biomedical engineering. As a senior captain in 2016, she steered the Washington University women’s soccer team to their first national championship. She was named the tournament’s most outstanding defensive player, her second straight year earning the award. Crist also earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Player of the Year award and the Division III Honda Athlete of the Year award for her 2016 performance.

In addition to her teammates, Crist thanked head coach Jim Conlon, her sisters and her parents, among others.

“Mom, you are the craziest loudest cheerleader I have ever known and I absolutely cherish the memories of hearing you shout from the stands, ‘Yeah baby, that’s my keeper,’” Crist said during her acceptance speech. “Dad, I’ll never forget being able to look over my shoulder at you, always standing all the way down by my goal, by yourself, and hearing you give a much quieter, ‘Yeah Liz’ from the sidelines.”

Crist set the Wash. U. career record in both goals against average (0.39) and total shutouts (31). While she is the 2017 Woman of the Year, perhaps her signature moment came during the 2015 national semifinals.

Pitted against Messiah College, the heavy championship favorite with a plus-97 goal differential, the Bears battled to a 1-1 tie through 90 minutes. In overtime, Crist played the hero, stuffing the nation’s second leading scorer on a breakaway. Minutes later, she stonewalled the Falcons for three straight penalty kick saves to deliver her team to the finals.  

“Back-to-back-to-back saves is almost unheard of at any level,” Conlon said after the game. “To have the mental fortitude to forget about the last play and go onto the next play is just a credit to her and how well she can compartmentalize the moment when she is on the field.”

While Crist recognizes these memorable moments, she prefers to linger on the one goal she did allow that game.

“I was so proud of myself for not getting down on myself,” Crist said. “When that goal was scored on me, I remember smiling. The same thing happened against Brandeis [University] and Messiah this past season. When those goals came in, for whatever reason, I smiled. That meant that I got to play a few more minutes with my team and with my little sister…Whether we won or whether we lost, it wasn’t going to matter because they are what means the most to me and having the opportunity to play with them means so much more than any national title.”         

Crist’s younger sister, Maggie, a junior, currently plays midfielder for the Bears. The two were both named NSCAA first team All-Americans in 2016.

Crist was one of nine finalists to attend the award ceremony Sunday night in Indianapolis. In receiving the recognition, she beat out 30 total honorees, 10 from each division.   

“The other people that I was up against, they have done so many incredible things that blow my mind,” Crist said. “Moments before I got announced, I was sitting there and just thinking to myself, ‘Wow, each woman deserves the honor’…It was pure and utter shock.”