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Del Val rookie Jess Williamson gets national recognition for 11-goal week

The Lititz, Pa. native leads all of NCAA soccer (both women’s and men’s) with 14 goals after a three hat trick week that earned her national player of the week honors

Seven games into her college career, Del Val rookie Jess Williamson has already scored a season worth of goals and is leading all of Division III with 14 goals after finding the back of the net 11 times in one week.

Yes, you read that right. Eleven goals in one week.

The offensive onslaught for the first-year player from Lititz, Pa. began with five goals on September 20 and continued with hat tricks against Penn State Abington on September 22 and against Brooklyn College on September 25. Williamson added two assists to her three goals against Brooklyn and has 14 goals and 5 assists on the season, which leads all three NCAA divisions on both the women’s and men’s side.

“We are working well on the field together and my teammates and I are using what we work on in practice in the games,” Williamson said. “My teammates are getting me the ball and I’m finishing those opportunities.”

That she was named the United Soccer Coaches DIII Player of the Week was hardly a surprise but it was a first national player of the week honor for the program, which already has more wins (six) than the 2019 and 2018 seasons combined.

“It’s a reflection obviously of the work of that player and the execution of that player, but I also think in lockstep with that it’s definitely a reflection of the team and what direction the program is going,” said head coach Joseph Nemzer, who is in his second season with the Aggies after the 2020 season was canceled due to Covid-19. “To get the national recognition like that what it means for us as a team, you know, it just means that the effort that these girls have put in over the last several months has been recognized, which as a coach you certainly appreciate.”

Williamson graduated in June from Warrick High School but a back surgery delayed her preparation for her first season at Del Val, where she is majoring in landscape architecture, until about a month before training camp opened.

“I took that month and was really motivated to come back ready to play,” she said. “I think everyone on the team did their part during the summer; we were all very prepared when we got here.”

That preparation has shown on both sides of the ball. As a team, Del Val has posted clean sheets in all six wins and outscored opponents 35-5. Thirteen different players have gotten on the score sheet, seven of those rookies. In fact, 23 of the 35 goals the team has scored have been scored by new arrivals.

“We have the chemistry, we work really well together up top and in the midfield creating chances for everyone to score, and we’re happy for whoever puts it in the back of the net,” Williamson said.

The attention and recognition that has come with all of the goals she’s scored so early in her career won’t make things any easier for Williamson moving forward but Nemzer said he’s not worried about the attention going to his budding star’s head.

“I’m not the one that’s going to have to tell her ‘hey, pick things up and don’t rest on your laurels,’” Nemzer said. “She’s such a humble player.”

While the goal-scoring pace Williamson is on now isn’t likely to continue, Nemzer sees her three hat trick week as a product of the work she’s put in since first stepping onto campus in Doylestown.

“She’s really just scratching the surface of how good she can be, which is really exciting,” Nemzer said.