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CMU Blazer Athletics

Naomi Klassen: October’s Lionheart Sports Female Athlete Of The Month

Congratulations to Naomi Klassen of Women's Soccer on being selected the CMU Lionheart Sports Female Athlete of the Month for October. The fourth-year midfielder was much of an unsung hero in her team's starting eleven this season. Making key distribution decisions in the attack as she linked play from the defenders to the attackers and also upsetting the central transition areas for their opponents to limit the counter-attacks.

"Naomi has been the engine of our team for fourt years now," said co-head coach Cara Isaak. "She consistently and diligently does her job at holding midfield, winning tackles and intelligently distributing the ball well."

During October, Klassen's defensive contribution can be highlighted by her team's stingy number of goals allowed. Over 5 regular season matches this month, as six competitive programs competed for the final four playoff positions, the Blazers gave up just 3 goals, locking down the second-seed in their final game of the season; a 3-1 defeat of the Red River Rebels.

Klassen was central in two very important plays in October 27th MCAC Championship Semifinal and the October 28th Women's Soccer Championship win. Trailing by a goal to the Providence Pilots, Klassen's header from a CMU corner-kick tied the match early in the second half, sending the match first to extra-time and then to penalty kicks. CMU would win the shootout 5-4 to advance to Sunday's Final.

After being unable to participate in her team's MCAC Women's Futsal Championship win last winter due to injury, Klassen was not willing to let her opportunity to impact the 2018 Women's Soccer Championship go to waste. With a 1-0 lead on the two-time defending Champions, a through-pass sent Brandon Bobcats striker Sarah Suchan in alone on Lydia Balsillie. After the CMU Goalkeeper was able to get a fingertip on Suchan shot at goal, the ball bounced off the inside of the post and rolled temptingly along the goal-line. In what appeared to be an easy tap-in for Suchan to tie the match, the tracking midfielder Klassen was relentless in her effort to keep the ball out, winning the foot-race to the loose ball and clearing the ball from danger. Minutes later, Camille Plett would convert to make it 2-0 off Marijka Yaschyshyn's free-kick to complete the scoring, allowing Klassen and her teammates to bring home their first MCAC Women's Soccer Championship banner since 2009.

"During the playoffs we required Naomi to play a few different positions based on the game situation, which she did admirably and unquestioningly," added Isaak. "Her clearance in the Final really highlighted the kind of player she is; showing her awareness of the trailing player, sprinting past several players on both teams without giving up, and then sacrificing her body to make the play."





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