Kansas City, Mo. - Saint Xavier University junior midfielder Britney Kendzora (Lemont, Ill./Lemont) was named the NAIA Region VII Women's Soccer Defensive Player of the Week Wednesday for her strong individual performance in helping lead the Cougars to a pair of victories last weekend over No. 11 Auburn University-Montgomery (Ala.) and Louisiana State University-Shreveport (La.), respectively. In addition, SXU got some great news from the national office Wednesday when the weekly top 25 poll was released and the team jumped up two spots to No. 4, its highest ever national rank.
Saint Xavier remains unbeaten at 3-0 and has nearly been unscored upon through its three contests this season with Kendzora being a key force. Her effort in the Cougars' two victories last week (ending Sunday) has earned her the CCAC's top defensive award for the week. Kendzora not only helped limit Auburn-Montgomery to just one goal in a 2-1 victory last Saturday, but also provided the game-tying goal at the 67th-minute mark. Thirteen minutes later, the Cougars tallied the game-winning goal. On Sunday, Kendzora's defensive play enabled SXU to record their second shutout of the season in a 1-0 decision over LSU-Shreveport.
"Britney has been the most consistent player on our team over the first three games this season and is very deserving of this recognition," said Saint Xavier University women's soccer coach Derek Begich. "People don't always notice the great defensive players, but Britney has been one of the hardest workers on our team and she makes her presence felt.
"I think moving into the nation's top five is a huge honor for both our program and our University," continued Begich. "However, with a high ranking comes high expectations, so our team knows that we have some added weight on our shoulders and that the bullseye that opponents place on our back has gotten a little bit bigger."
Saint Xavier (3-0 overall) continues its season this weekend at the St. Ambrose University (Iowa) Classic in Muscatine, Iowa. The Cougars open the Classic with a 2 p.m. game against Grand View College on Saturday, September 8, and then wrap up play on Sunday with a 2 p.m. game against host St. Ambrose.Click here to see the latest NAIA Top 25 Rankings (Sept. 5)