QUINCY -- Quincy University women's soccer coach Dave Musso ran into senior defender Allison Birke on campus early this week and gave her a heads up to expect a call from him in the days to come.
"She looked at me kind of funny," Musso said. "I said, 'It's OK. It's good news."
Individually, there is no better news he could deliver.
Wednesday night, the United Soccer Coaches released the NCAA Division II All-American teams with Birke receiving first-team honors and QU senior forward Mackenzie Rief garnering second-team honors.
"That's my favorite phone call as a coach, those two calls I got to make," Musso said. "To tell them they forever will be All-Americans, that's my favorite call to make."
Birke, who transferred to Quincy as a sophomore and became a three-year starter, anchored one of the best defenses in program history.
The Hawks went 17-4-1 and reached the Midwest Region championship game, setting a school record with seven consecutive shutouts during an 11-game unbeaten streak. They finished with 13 shutouts, the fourth most in a single season.
Birke finished with two assists and played all but six minutes the entire season.
"She's about as steady a center back as there can be," Musso said. "I knew every day what I was going to get out of her."
The veteran coach came to expect the same thing from Rief.
Returning from a broken collarbone suffered during her junior season, Rief became a lethal scorer, finishing with 10 goals, three assists and eight game-winning goals. She tied for fourth nationally in game-winning goals.
"When you take a step back because of that injury and assess things, it really motivates you," Musso said. "She played with a purpose."
The reaction Musso got when he made the phone calls was priceless.
"There were 10 out of 10 happy," he said.
Birke and Rief became eligible for All-America consideration by being named first-team All-Midwest Region. They were among four Hawks to receive all-region honors.
Joining Birke and Rief on the first-team all-region were senior midfielder Katie Heiligenstein and senior defender Natalie Quisenberry. Heiligenstein had five goals and three game-winning goals, while Quisenberry had two goals and two assists and played a wing defensively.