Trio of Rebels Earn All-Conference Honors|
Oct. 30, 2017
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - With the 2017 regular season in the books, the Mountain West announced the women's soccer awards Monday afternoon and three Rebels received recognition for their play this season. Seniors Sophie Cortes and Chidera Akubuiko were named Mountain West All-Conference First and Second Team selections, respectively, while junior transfer Amanda Galbraith was named to the All-Newcomer Team.
This is the second career honor for both Cortes and Akubuilo, who were each first-team selections a year ago. Galbraith earns the conference honor in her first season with the Rebels after transferring from junior college in the spring.
Akubuilo, from Torrance, California, is one of the top defenders to ever don the UNLV jersey, becoming the first Rebel to earn Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2016. She followed that with another stellar season as the cornerstone of the Scarlet & Gray back line in 2017. The four-year starter and two-year captain has made 73 starts in 74 games played, including all 19 she played in this year. She wasn’t just a defensive threat as she scored eight goals and added two assists during her career, which included a goal in her Rebel finale Friday night. Akubuilo earned one Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week honor during her career on August 29, 2016.
After spending two seasons at Santa Rosa Junior College where she was a standout forward for the Bearcubs, Galbraith joined the Rebels last spring and worked her way into the starting lineup by the fall. The Petaluma, California, native came to UNLV having scored 46 goals with 17 assists in her two years at Santa Rosa and that offensive prowess translated to the Division I field this year. Galbraith started 19 games this season and led the team with 10 assists, including three in Friday's victory over UNR. Her 22 points and six goals ranked tied for second and third on the team, respectively. The junior also picked up a Mountain West Player of the Week nod this season after scoring two goals and registering two assists during the opening weekend of the season.
The honors mark the 54th, 55th and 56th All-Conference selections all-time for UNLV.
UNLV finished the 2017 campaign with an overall record or 13-7 and 5-6 in league play. While the Rebels' season ended sooner than they had hoped, the team achieved several noteworthy marks this year, with the 9-1 record at Peter Johann Memorial Field tying for second-best overall home record and the nine home wins tying for most in program history. UNLV's 8-1 non-conference mark also set new program-bests for non-league record and winning percentage, while the team's 13 total wins are tied for second-most all-time.
Cortes and Akubuilo were instrumental in helping the program reach new heights under fourth-year head coach Chris Shaw. The midfielder and defender played key roles in last year's NCAA Tournament run - the program's first since 2006 - when they helped the Rebels capture the Mountain West regular season and tournament titles in the same season for the first time.