Just For Kicks
Pioneers’ Nakamura honored
Miki Nakamura, an outside midfielder who also saw action up top, has been named to the 2006 All-Midwest Conference women's soccer first team, one of three freshman to receive that honor.
It was quite an accomplishment for the 2006 Kamehameha graduate. She tied for first in scoring with 23 points for the Grinnell (Iowa) College Pioneers, who finished 15-3-1.
Nakamura scored seven goals and had a conference-leading nine assists. She put 17 of 35 shots on goal and three of her scores were match winners.
Nakamura wasn't even sure she would play college soccer. She also was being recruited by Andy Hamilton, Grinnell's women's basketball coach.
"We lightly recruited Miki. I don't think she was that confident she could play in college. She said she would wait and see what she could do when she got here," said women's soccer coach Heather Benning. "I've never had a soccer player from Hawaii, so I didn't have any idea about the feel of school and club teams.
"Miki definitely was a surprise, our rookie of the year. She brought pure athleticism and is very technical with the ball. She played down her talents."
The Pioneers won their second consecutive conference title with a 9-0 record, captured the league tournament and went to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season.
Nakamura is playing basketball for the Pioneers. The soccer season didn't end until Nov. 11, so the 5-foot-5 guard was behind the rest of the team despite observing practices when possible.
She caught up quickly. Nakamura has played in eight of the nine games and started the last four.
Several other women have received postseason honors.
» Amy Lawson (Iolani '05), a sophomore at Westmont, has been selected to the All-Golden State Athletic Conference first team. The striker led the 14-6-1 Warriors in scoring with 12 goals, including four match winners, and two assists.
» Sophia Merrifield (Punahou '06) has been named to the All-Ivy League second team. The freshman defender started all 17 games for the 8-7-2 Yale Bulldogs. She scored one goal and assisted on two.
» Jennifer Lau (Punahou '04), a striker for Wellesley College, has been named to the All-New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference second team.
The junior co-captain scored a team-leading seven goals, including five that won matches, and had six assists for the 9-7 Blue.
» Britta Bourne (Academy of the Pacific '05), a sophomore striker for the Montana Grizzlies, redshirted this year after suffering an ACL injury during spring practice.