SAU’s Balcer Named CL’s Top Female Student-Athlete for Third-Straight Year


AVON, Ohio – The Crossroads League named Spring Arbor women’s soccer standout, Bethany Balcer, as its 2017-2018 Female Student-Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, honoring the three-time NAIA All-American with the prestigious award for the third time in as many years.


Balcer is the only student-athlete to win the honor more than once and earned the recognition for the third time on the heels of leading Spring Arbor to the 2017 NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship, for SAU’s second national title in the past three seasons and third-straight appearance in the title match.


In addition to being named the NAIA National Player of the Year and earning a third NAIA All-American honor, Balcer claimed a third-straight Crossroads League Player-of-the-Year award and took First-Team All-Crossroads League honors while leading the Cougars to the CL and NAIA Championships.


Balcer also excelled in the classroom, repeating as a CoSIDA Google Cloud Academic All-American and taking home CoSIDA Google Cloud College Division Academic All-America of the Year honors for women’s soccer. The midfielder from Hudsonville, Michigan also earned NAIA Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Crossroads League nods.


“Bethany has been consistently the top women’s soccer player in the NAIA in her first three years here at Spring Arbor University,” commented SAU head coach Jason Crist. “She has already left her mark all over not only the SAU record books, but also now owns several NAIA and NAIA National Tournament marks. What makes Beth special is her humble nature and Christ-like heart and demeanor. She is a great teammate and consistently puts others in front of herself. She is the first to credit teammates with accomplishments and is a servant and friend to all in our locker room. Bethany is also an amazing student and has a vibrant and contagious Christian walk. I am proud that she is such a great ambassador for our program, our university and the Crossroads League.”

While leading SAU to the NAIA National Championship in 2017, Balcer found the net for a career-best 37 goals, added 12 assists and finished with 86 points, while helping Spring Arbor to a 24-1-1 clip. Balcer finished No. 1 in the NAIA with 11 game-winning goals, No. 4 in total points and No. 4 in total goals.


Throughout her three seasons at Spring Arbor, Balcer has piled up 98 goals, 37 assists and 233 points in 76 matches. Balcer has started each of those outings, helping SAU to an overall record of 69-4-3 during that span.


The Crossroads League Female Student-Athlete of the Year award is nominated and voted on by the 10 Athletic Directors from the Crossroads League and announced each summer.



Crossroads League Female Student-Athlete of the Year Recipients
2017-2018 – Bethany Balcer, Spring Arbor (soccer)
2016-2017 – Bethany Balcer, Spring Arbor (soccer)
2015-2016 – Bethany Balcer, Spring Arbor (soccer)
2014-2015 – Alex Berends, Taylor (cross country/track and field)
2013-2014 – Geandra Almeida, Bethel (golf)
2012-2013 – Paige Smith, Indiana Wesleyan (basketball)
2011-2012 – Kelsey Pritchard, Taylor (volleyball)