Alex Morgan, Naomi Girma, and Taylor Kornieck earn Team of the Month honors.
What a solid start to the San Diego Wave’s inaugural season they are having. After the first month of the season, the Wave (4-2-2) is in first place with 14 points. San Diego is the only team with four wins on the year as they won their first three matches of the season. The last three matches haven’t resulted in three points, or else the Wave could potentially have a huge lead already.
The Wave is coming off a come-from-behind draw against the Portland Thorns Wednesday night. Kornieck scored two late goals to secure the comeback and one point at home.
As a result of their success this season, the NWSL recognized three crucial players for the Wave. The one who stands out the most is Alex Morgan. The forward is off to a phenomenal start to the first season in her home state. Morgan has eight goals in as many matches and leads the NSWL in goals by four. The Wave as a team have 12 goals on the season, which also leads the league.
Morgan’s outstanding play has given her the honor of Player of the Month. She also is one of the starting XI for the Team of the Month. Her value is showing to this organization, and the fans of San Diego are in love with Morgan. The move to bring her to Southern California was a big one, and it is certainly paying off so far in 2022.
✨ Alex’s Mesmerizing May ✨
— National Women’s Soccer League (@NWSL) June 9, 2022
Morgan was not alone in leading this team to the top seed. Her teammates, Girma and Kornieck, are vital to this team’s success. The NWSL awarded Girma the Rookie of the Month, as well as placing her on the Team of the Month. Korneick earned Team of the Month honors as well as a midfielder. The Wave had a forward, midfielder, and defender make the squad.
The Wave selected Girma No. 1 overall in the 2022 NWSL Draft out of Stanford. The former Cardinal was the top defender in the country and, as a resulted, was the top selection. She has defended very well this season with a 65% success rate on tackles, 77% on duels, and an 85% pass rate. She has 34 clearances and 12 interceptions as has not been a primary defender on a goal this season.
Girma is about to turn 22-years-old on June 14. The value at such a young age is showing right in front of everyone’s eyes.
“Full credit to Naomi, she’s extremely coachable and she came in like that,” Head coach Casey Stoney said following 2-2 tie with Kansas City Current on June 4th. “She’s just been getting better and better every week. She’s a very mature player in her approach, game understanding is excellent so that’s credit to her hard work, her coachability, and how much attention she pays to the details. So we’re very lucky that we have her.”
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Kornieck was crucial in the last match, which helped the Wave escape without a loss. On the season, she is playing well on both sides. Offensively, she has the two goals from last match, as well as 11 shots on target on the season. Kornieck is passing the ball well also, with over a 60% pass rate and one assist on the season. The 23-year-old from Las Vegas has proven to be one of the top midfielders during the first month of the season.
“She’s performing well. I think in 18 weeks the progress she’s made is credit to her,” Stoney said following 2-2 tie with Portland Thorns on June 8th. “She works extremely hard, she’s coachable, she’s taken in all the information she can and she was outstanding tonight. People just think she’s in there for her height, look at her feet and how she used the ball to dictate the game.”
It’s great to see the Wave get recognition this early in their existence. Their neighbors, the San Diego Loyal, have played very well in their three years as a club and have gotten a lot of deserved credit as well. San Diego is becoming a soccer city, and the talent proves it.
Chris is a graduate of the University of San Diego. He is the former Sports Editor for the USDVista newspaper. Chris is also an athlete and is huge fan of San Diego sports. Chris has covered the San Diego Loyal, and contributes regularly about the Padres.