Catarina Macario removed any drama in this year's women's Hermann Trophy race long before Friday night, when she actually received college soccer's most prestigious award for the second season in a row.
The Stanford junior made Friday's announcement by the Missouri Athletic Club a foregone conclusion by putting together one of the most prolific individual seasons in NCAA history and capping it off with her second national championship. Macario totaled 32 goals and 23 assists in 25 games for the Cardinal. She led the nation in both statistical categories.
Clemson junior Robbie Robinson, who shared the Division I lead with 18 goals in 19 games for the Tigers and led the nation with 45 points, received the men's award, the third in program history.
Macario is the sixth woman to win the Hermann Trophy multiple times since the women's award was introduced in 1988. She is the fifth woman to win it in back-to-back seasons, joining Morgan Brian, Mia Hamm, Cindy Parlow Cone and Christine Sinclair in one of the sport's most exclusive clubs (Notre Dame's Kerri Hanks won the award in nonconsecutive seasons).
But Macario bests even that company in becoming the first woman to win the award multiple times before her senior season. After a junior season in which her only statistical peers were past all-time greats, she enters her final season as the favorite to win for a record third time.
Asked to play an unfamiliar role this season, shifting from forward her first two seasons to central midfield, Macario totaled 87 points. No other Division I player had more than 60 points. In the Power 5 conferences, only Stanford teammate Sophia Smith, USC's Penelope Hocking and Kansas' Katie McClure reached even 43 points.
The 87 points ranked third in NCAA Division I history for a single season, trailing only Hamm's 97 points for North Carolina in 1992 and Sinclair's 88 points for Portland in 2005.
Macario's 32 goals tied for the eighth-best single-season total in Division I history. Only Sinclair, the Canadian star who is on the verge of breaking Abby Wambach's record for career goals at the international level, scored more goals in a college season this century.
One of seven foreign-born Hermann winners, Macario nonetheless appears eager to follow in the footsteps of previous winners such as Brian, Hamm, Parlow Cone and Stanford standouts Kelley O'Hara and Christen Press, all of whom went on to win World Cup titles with the United States.
Born in Sao Luis, Brazil, Macario and her older brother moved to California when she was 12 years old in order to pursue better academic and life opportunities. Her father moved with the children, while Macario's mother, a physician, remained in Brazil. Macario has repeatedly expressed a desire to play internationally for the United States and is in the process of seeking U.S. citizenship. She has trained and played in friendlies with U.S. under-23 team.
This year's Hermann Trophy was the sixth awarded to a Stanford player, trailing only the nine earned by North Carolina players.
UCLA senior midfielder Jessie Fleming, who has already played in a World Cup and Olympics for Canada, and North Carolina junior defender and midfielder Emily Fox, the only current collegian to earn caps with the U.S. national team, were the other two women's finalists.
Virginia junior midfielder Joe Bell and Georgetown senior defender Dylan Nealis were the other finalists for the men's award.
Unlike Macario, Robinson will not have the opportunity to defend the Hermann Trophy. He recently announced he would forgo his final season of eligibility and enter the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 9.
His production this season helped Clemson win the ACC regular-season title and earn the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, where the Tigers were eventually eliminated by Stanford in a quarterfinal penalty shootout.