June 16, 2005
Evanston, Ill. -
Northwestern University lacrosse player Courtney Koester (Richmond, Ind./Richmond) was the top selection on the 2004-05 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America University Division Women's At-Large Team, and as a result named the At-Large Academic All-America of the Year. The team is voted on and presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
The at-large category is arguably the toughest of the different Academic All-America programs, as it combines all the NCAA-sponsored women's sports that do not have their own Academic All-America program. The women's sports that do have such programs are volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball and cross country/track & field.
ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Women's At-Large Teams in PDF Format
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Koester is the third Wildcat athlete to be honored at the national level this year; the others were Jeff Backes and Luis Castillo in football. This is Koester's second year making the Academic All-America Team in the women's at-large category; she was a third-team honoree in 2004.
Koester was a catalyst for the Wildcat lacrosse team this season, helping the fourth-year program stun the lacrosse-playing nation by going 21-0 and winning the NCAA championship. She was recently named first-team All-America by the IWLCA and Inside Lacrosse, and also was the IWLCA National Defender of the Year as well as the Inside Lacrosse National Defensive Midfielder of the Year. In addition, Koester was a semifinalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy which is given to the nation's top lacrosse player.
Koester, a three-time first-team All-American Lacrosse Conference (ALC) selection, led the 'Cats and finished eighth nationally in draw controls (73). She was also among the team leaders with 44 ground balls and 29 caused turnovers. Koester was one of the anchors of a defensive unit -- along with twin sister Ashley Koester, Lindsay Finocchiaro, Emily Lovett, and goalkeeper Ashley Gersuk -- that led the nation in goals-against average (5.90). All this from a woman who had never played lacrosse before being recruited to try out in the fall of 2001.
Koester -- who is Northwestern's nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year -- is a computer engineering major. Among her academic awards at Northwestern, she was this year's recipient for the IWLCA's prestigious Scholar Athlete Award, and she is a four-time Academic All-Big Ten and ALC Academic Honor Roll honoree. Koester also has earned a spot on the IWLCA Academic Honor Roll two times.