KENNESAW, Ga. - After leading the Louisville women's soccer program to its best season in school history, head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes was named as the 2011 NSCAA/Mondo Regional Coach of the Year for the Northeast on Dec. 3 during the NCAA College Cup festivities Kennesaw, Ga.
Ferguson-Dayes, who was also selected as the 2011 BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year, led the Cardinals to a school record 14 wins, their first ever BIG EAST Conference National Division championship and the first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. Making its third NCAA Championship appearance ever, all under the guidance of Ferguson-Dayes, Louisville earned a first round win over Dayton and eliminated No. 4 seeded and previously unbeaten Memphis in the second round before falling to No. 1 seed Florida State in the Sweet 16.
Prior to their best NCAA Championship performance, the Cardinals were a No. 1 seed in the BIG EAST Championship and advanced to their first ever BIG EAST title game with tournament wins over Providence and Notre Dame. Louisville, which also earned a regular-season win at Notre Dame, became the first BIG EAST program to ever defeat the Fighting Irish twice in the same season.
Louisville clinched its first ever BIG EAST National Division title with a 1-0 victory at rival Cincinnati in the regular season finale on Oct. 22. The triumph was also career win No. 100 for Ferguson-Dayes, who completed her 12th season on the job in 2011. And with its 14 wins this season, the Cardinals surpassed the previous school record mark of 13 set in back-to-back NCAA seasons in 2006 and 2007.
Under the leadership of Ferguson-Dayes, the Cardinals also had their first ever BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year selection in 2011 with sophomore forward Christine Exeter (Pickering, Ont., Canada/Pickering HS) earning that honor. Exeter, who totaled 24 points and scored a league-leading 11 goals in conference action this season, also recorded at least one point in 10 of 11 league games and had 14 goals and 31 points overall. With 21 career goals in two seasons, Exeter became the first Louisville player to be named BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year only one season after she was the first Cardinal to be named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year (2010).