Off at college: Benet grad Abello earns Academic All-American of the Year

  • Benet and Penn State grad Kerry Abello was recently named Academic All-American of the Year.

    Benet and Penn State grad Kerry Abello was recently named Academic All-American of the Year. Courtesy of Penn State Athletics

Updated 7/9/2021 12:00 PM

Penn State women's soccer captain Kerry Abello headlined the list of 2020-21 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans as the senior defender was named the CoSIDA Women's Soccer Academic All-American of the Year by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on July 5.

Abello possesses a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average with majors in science and Spanish. She is the first Nittany Lion from the women's soccer program named an Academic All-American of the Year, the fifth woman from Penn State to earn the honor and 10th overall individual.


From Batavia and Benet Academy, Abello is the second Nittany Lion to earn first-team Academic All-America accolades in multiple years.

Abello helped lead Penn State to a 2020-21 Big Ten regular-season championship, marking the third league titles for Abello in her career as a Nittany Lion. Penn State posted a 10-match unbeaten streak in Big Ten regular-season action and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 26th straight year.

Penn State's female Medal of Honor recipient for 2020-21, Abello was also chosen the institution's Outstanding Sportsmanship Award winner and was named a Senior CLASS second-team All-American. She is a Schreyer Honors College Scholar and a member of the Penn State Presidential Leadership Academy.

Lewis swimmers honored:

Lewis University's men's and women's swimming programs had five swimmers named to the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America teams including Stephanie Palczynski from Wheaton Warrenville South High School.

Palczynski earned first team honors.

First team selections were handed out to student-athletes with a GPA of 3.50 or higher and also received an invitation to participate in the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships.

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Waubonsee awards:

Olivia McPherson (West Aurora) and Lindsay Ferris (Geneva) headlined a large contingent of Waubonsee Community College women's soccer players netting postseason honors.

McPherson was named an NJCAA Division II first team All-American, while Ferris was selected an honorable mention All-American. Of the seven Chiefs who have been honored as junior college All-Americans in the program's 20-year history, McPherson is the first one to be chosen to the first team.

In addition, McPherson and Ferris, along with midfielder Eliana Zagoren (Batavia), were each named to the All-Region first team. Sophomore defender Rachel Polignone (Batavia), goalkeeper Daisy Quinonez (East Aurora) and defender Kiara McPherson (West Aurora) were all selected to the Region IV second team.

After earning NJCAA All-American honors on the volleyball court, the 5-foot-5 Olivia McPherson stepped onto the soccer pitch and achieved even more success. McPherson was selected as the ISCC Player of the Year after leading Waubonsee to the league title.


The Chiefs then captured the Region IV title and a berth in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, where McPherson was tabbed to the All-Tournament team. The freshman forward finished tied for the most goals scored in the country among all junior college players, at all levels. McPherson netted 26 goals in just 13 matches.

Ferris, a freshman defender, anchored a defense that posted eight shutouts.

Four members of Waubonsee's men's soccer team were also recognized. Lincoln Lillwitz and Axel Sanchez were both named to the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) first team, while teammates Edgar Esquivel and Alejandro Arevalo were each chosen All-ISCC second team. Lillwitz, Sanchez and Esquivel were all selected to the All-Region IV team. Waubonsee's soccer teams normally compete in the Fall, but played this past spring due to the pandemic.

Lillwitz, a freshman forward from Aurora Central Catholic High School, led Waubonsee with 5 goals and 4 assists in 8 matches. A sophomore midfielder from West Aurora, Sanchez tallied 3 goals and 4 assists. Esquivel, a sophomore forward from East Aurora, was second on the team with 12 points. Also from East Aurora, Arevalo scored 4 goals.

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