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Pali, Santa Clarita players up for awards

Pali Blues defender Christie Shaner is a finalist for W-League Defender of the Year, and Santa Clarita Blue Heat forward Cherelle Khassal is up for the Rookie of the Year honor.

Shaner, an all-league pick after anchoring Pali's backline, played last season for Sky Blue FC and the L.A. Sol in Women's Professional Soccer. Khassal is a 19-year-old Englishwoman who emerged from Arsenal's academy.

The award finalists:

MVP: Kelly Parker (Buffalo), Rashidah Sherman (New York), Melissa Tancredi (Vancouver).

Rookie of the Year: Morgan Kennedy (Colorado Rush), Cherelle Khassal (Santa Clarita Blue Heat), Rashidah Sherman (New York).

Defender of the Year: Christie Shaner (Pali Blues), Gabriela Toulouse (Washington), Sue Weber (Long Island).

Coach of the Year: Hubert Busby Jr. (Vancouver), Jesse Kolmel (Hudson Valley Quickstrike), Aaron Lines (Buffalo), Win Puffer (Washington).