December 12, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.—The National Soccer Coaches Association of American released the All-America teams earlier today. William Smith College senior goalie Leah Cornwell (Wheatland-Chili/Scottsville, N.Y.) highlights the first-team as the Division III Women’s Soccer Player of the Year. She is the second goalie to win this award and the first Heron soccer player to do so.
“I really can’t believe it myself,” Cornwell said. “In my mind any award like this represents the accomplishments of the team, and how hard you are pushed to excel by your teammates.”
A three-time first-team All-UCAA honoree and the 2001 UCAA Player of the Year, the Scottsville native departs William Smith as one of the most decorated soccer players in the program’s 23-year history. A two-time first-team All-American and three-time first-team All-Region player, Cornwell started all four years in goal, racking up a career record of 62-15-5. Possessing an intimidating presence in the box, she has many dimensions to her game. Her physical size combined with her shot-stopping ability and skill with the ball at her feet made the William Smith defense difficult to get past.
Leading the Herons through two penalty kick shootouts all the way to the NCAA Semifinals in 2002, Cornwell was a rock in the goal allowing just 12 goals prior to the NCAA Tournament and one score in the first three tournament games, including a shutout of a talented Wheaton College offense that scored 84 goals before meeting William Smith. She was a two-way player in both shootouts, stepping up and knocking home both her scoring chances, while stopping two opponents’ shots.
Her play in 2002 earned her numerous awards including first-team All-America, first-team All-Region, first-team All-UCAA, All-State, and NYSWCAA Defensive Player of the Year. Her selection to the All-Region, All-UCAA, and All-State teams were her third consecutive honors.
Sporting a 16-4-3 record in 2002, she registered 71 saves while giving up just 16 goals for an .816 save percentage. For her career Cornwell boasts an .849 save percentage, giving up only 56 goals while making 315 stops, including 36.5 shutouts.
In all, William Smith has placed 15 players on the NSCAA Division III All-America first-team since the program began in 1986, five more than any other Division III school.