Kicks for a Cure is proud to sponsor the Liz Karnes Memorial Scholarship Award. This award honors the late Liz Karnes by recognition of a Creighton and University of Omaha player who embraces life with the same spirit Liz displayed. These same unique characteristics noted above made Liz a special person and touched so many lives.

This award began in 2008 with an initial grant from Kicks for a Cure to Creighton Women’s Soccer for an endowed scholarship fund. The selected player receives a $1000 scholarship award and a plaque with the inscription above. The award is presented each year during the Kicks for a Cure Kick-OFF Party by the Creighton Women’s Soccer Head Coach.

A player is also selected from the UNO team. This award is presented each year during the Kicks for a Cure Kick-OFF Party by the UNO Women’s Soccer Head Coach



2023 Award winner – Gabby Grimaldi

Gabby is a senior defender playing for Creighton University. She is from Kansas City, MO and went to Notre Dame de Sion High School. In high school, she earned four letters for soccer and she was the regional Co-Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and earned back-to-back First Team All-State honors in 2017 and 2018. As a freshman Gabby had 17 appearances, as a sophomore she started every match, and as a junior started 19 of the games for the Bluejays. She is the daughter of Gerald and Julie. At Creighton she is majoring in exercise science with hopes of becoming a Physician Assistant. She also plans to minor in Spanish and Hispanic studies. 

2023 Award winner – Cece Behrens

Cece graduated from Skutt Catholic high school in Omaha. She is a junior midfielder at the University of Nebraska – Omaha. In high school she was a 2-sport athlete in both soccer and basketball. She was a two-time River Cities all-conference selection and a two-time all-state honoree. Beyond that Cece was a five-time state cup champion and earned regional and national appearances while playing with Sporting Omaha FC. She is the daughter of Shaun and Corrine and has two sister. At UNO she is majoring in biology. As a freshman she made 17 starts and had 19 appearances.



2022 Award winner – Alyssa Judkins

Alyssa graduated from Burke High School in 2021, where she lettered in soccer for two years. She spent her first two years of high school playing for the U.S. Soccer Development Academy with Sporting Omaha. Her Sporting Omaha team was a National Finalist in 2018. Judkins was the 2021 Nebraska Soccer Marty Anderson Player of the Year. She was also a member of the Class A All-State First Team. During her freshman year at Creighton, Judkins came off the bench for the Bluejays in 11 games and scored her first goal on August 29 vs. Oral Roberts. Alyssa was born and raised in Omaha and is the daughter of Barb and Greg Judkins.

2022 Award winner – Regan Zimmers

Regan is a redshirt junior Midfielder from Millard North. She helped her team win the state championship as a sophomore and was a team captain and  first team all-state, as a senior.  Last season, as a sophomore at UNO, Regan made 18 starts. She was named to the All-Summit Newcomer team in 2020 and is a member of the Summit League Academic Honor Roll.

Regan is the daughter of Jenny and Chris Zimmers and has 1 sister. She is majoring in pre-food service and technology and bio-mechanics.


2021 Award winner – Peighton Steffen

Peighton is a Freshman defender from Waunakee, Wisconsin. She is the daughter of Richard and Amy Steffen. Prior to attending Creighton University, she played for FC Wisconsin. She was selected for the player development program from the midwest conference of the ECNL. Peighton is majoring in exercise science. 

2019 Award winner –Jaden Thiem

Jaden is a sophomore Midfielder from Elkhorn South and was a 2-sport athlete in high school where she played volleyball and led the Storms to the 2015 Class B Girls’ State Soccer Championship.  She was selected as All conference and All state in soccer.  She was born in Texas, is the daughter of Mike and Nancy Thiem and has 4 sisters and is an Elementary Education major.  As a freshman in 2017, Jaden appeared in 1 game for UNO and played an impressive 193 minutes this season – including a game high 58 minutes vs. Western Illinois where she also posted her lone shot-on-goal of the season.


2019 Award winner –Katie Sullivan

Katie is the daughter of Daniel and Jennifer Sullivan and was born in Chicago, Illinois.  She graduated from Wheaton North high School in Chicago, where she collected a combined four letters – 3 in soccer and 1 in swimming.  During her senior soccer season, she was an All-DuPage Valley Conference First Team selection and also earned a spot on the Sectional First Team.  Katie used her redshirt option during the 2017 season and is majoring in biology.  Coach Paule has this to say about Katie- “Katie came in a freshman goalkeeper with an awesome attitude.  She has ALL the tools and the ability!”

2018 Award winner – Mckenzie Meola

An ever-present in goal for the Bluejays, Meola played every minute of the 2017 campaign … She logged her season-high in saves in a match against Marquette on Oct. 22, recording 15 saves … McKenzie recorded 11 saves on two separate occasions, against Wisconsin (Aug. 24) and in a win against Kansas State (Sept. 10) … A nine save effort against Georgetown on Oct. 5 helped Meola earn BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week (Oct. 9) … She averaged 6.4 saves per game.

The daughter of Tom Meola and Staci Witkowski, McKenzie was born in Omaha, Nebraska … She has three siblings; Sydney, Maddie and Nathan … An undeclared major, McKenzie is the step-sister to former Bluejay great Brittney Neumann (2009-12). 


2017 Award winner – Jaylin Bosak

Jaylin quickly emerged as an impact defender as a Freshman for the Bluejays and was a starter for all 17 matches.

She graduated from Millard West High School where she helped the Wildcats claim the 2013 and 2015 Nebraska Class A state titles.  She earned eight varsity letters in soccer (4) and basketball (4).   She was selected for 2015 First Team Class A All-State team.  She played for Omaha FC 97/98 for six seasons (2010-16).

She is the daughter of Kevin and Jillian Bosak and was born in Lincoln, Nebraska.  She has three siblings; Adalin, Breklee and Kinslee.  She is pursuing a major in Health Science.

2017 Award winner – Kelsey Stithem

Kelsey played for UNO as a Freshman and Sophomore in 2015 and 2016. She received awards of Summit League Academic Honor Roll and Summit League Academic Distinguished Scholar in 2015 and 2016.

She earned four varsity letters in basketball and soccer at Kearney High School. She won several honors in soccer while in high school, one being GNAC All-Conference and Honorable Mention All-State Honors.

She is the daughter of Jerry and Carrie Stithem and has one sister, Megan. She was born in Kearney,Nebraska. She is majoring in Architectural Engineering.


2016 Award winner – Mary Novoa

Mary graduated from Westside High School, Omaha, Nebraska, where she was a two-time Player of the Year for Westside and a four-time Distinguished Scholar Athlete.  Her club soccer team as Omaha FC.

She is the daughter of Jose and Laura Novoa.  She has four siblings, Hannah, Maddy, Molly and Peter.  She is working toward a Marketing Major.


2016 Award winner – Lauren Lawler

Lauren has played for UNO for three seasons and in 2015 logged the second most minutes on the team with 1601 minutes.

Lauren played three years of soccer at Cretin Derham Hall, MN during her high school years.  She earned all-conference honors and all-state honorable mention playing defense in her senior season in the fall of 2012.  She played club soccer for Minnesota Thunder Academy.

She is the daughter of Greg and Mary Jo Lawler and has one sister, Leah, and two brothers, T.J. and Brady.  She has not declared a major.

2015 Award winner – Jessica Mutters

Jessica used her redshirt option last season. She graduated from Hinsdale South HS in Darien, Ill, where she played one season of high school soccer as a freshman.

During her lone season, Jessica delivered three goals and two assists (eight points), leading her team to a regional championship in 2013.

A four-year member of the Dean’s List, Jessica twice (2012 & 2013) earned a spot in the National Honor Society and earned all sectional honors as a senior. Mutters played for the Eclipse North Select Soccer teams.

She was a two-time member of the ODP Illinois State team (2008 & 2009).


2014 Award winner – Kyla Salazar

The 2014 Liz Karnes Memorial Scholarship Award winner was Kyla Salazar. Kyla is a Goalkeeper from Las Vegas, Nevada

Kyla graduated from Arbor View High School, Nevada in 2012. She also played club soccer for the Las Vegas Players Soccer Club. She wears jersey number 00 and plays goal keeper for the Blue Jays

She is majoring in marketing. She was born on September 5, 1994 in Albuquerque, NM.
Kyla is the daughter of Robert and Shauna Salazar and has one sibling – Jordan.

2013 Award winner – Angela Benson

The 2013 Liz Karnes Memorial Scholarship Award winner was Angela Benson.

In her first season at Creighton, Benson appeared in 18 games. She earned the start in 11 matches, playing as a defensive midfielder. Angela closed the season with seven shots, including a season-best two against Oral Roberts (Sept. 23) and at Northern Iowa (Oct. 25). Benson set a career-high in minutes played of 86 minutes on Sept. 23

Angela graduated from Campbell County HS in 2011 and was a four-year letter-winner for the Camels, Benson earned all-conference honors in each of her final three seasons.

The daughter of Mark and Cheryl Benson, Angela was born on December 12, 1992 in Gillette, Wyoming. She has two siblings, Brandi (29) and Mary (24). Angela is pursuing a nursing major.


2012 Award winner – Katie Murphy

The 2012 Liz Karnes Memorial Scholarship Award winner was junior Katie Murphy. Katie is a Defensive player from Stilwell, Kansas.

She started as a Freshman rookie in three of thirteen matches. As a Sophomore, she played in four matches, including a season high 29 minutes against UMKC. She took her only shot of the season in the 5-0 win over Evansville. The Bluejays were 9-3-1 when Murphy played.

Katie is the daughter of Daniel and Deborah Murphy and has two brothers and a sister. She is a Nursing major.

2011 Award winner – Alicia Montgomery

The 2011 Liz Karnes Memorial Scholarship Award winner was junior Alicia Montgomery. Alicia is a Goalkeeper from Walnut Creek, California.

She started as a Freshman against North Dakota with a shutout and appeared in four other matches. As a Sophomore, she posted 12 wins and eight shutouts and was named to All-Missouri Valley Conference Second Team. As a Junior, she posted eleven wins and just four losses. She received the first ever Missouri Valley Conference Elite 18 Award for women’s soccer, named first team MVC Scholar-Athlete and first-team Academic All-District VII by CoSIDA.

Alicia is the daughter of Robert Montgomery and Janice Becker-Montgomery and youngest of two children; Ashleigh (24). She is a math and secondary education major. Her sister Ashleigh ran cross country and track at UC San Diego.


2010 Award winner – Macy Mauer

The 2010 Liz Karnes Memorial Scholarship Award winner was junior Macy Mauer. Macy is a Forward from Woodbury, Minnesota.

She started 10 of the 14 matches in which she appeared as well as started in all six Missouri Valley Conference matches played. She was named to the MVC All-Freshman Team. She started 17 of the 19 matches in which she appeared and also started the first 10 matches of her career, then came off the bench for two contests before starting the final seven matches. Her first career goal served as the overtime game-winner in her home debut, giving the Jays a 3-2 win over South Dakota State (Aug. 24).

Macy is the daughter of Mark and Jennifer Mauer and youngest of three children; Mia (23) and Marlo (21). She intends to become a Marketing major. Her father played football at the University of Nebraska and is the head football coach at Concordia- St. Paul University. Relative of Minnesota Twins allstar and MVP catcher Joe Mauer.

2009 Award winner – Annemarie Hengel

The 2009 Liz Karnes Memorial Scholarship Award winner was freshman Annemarie Hengel. Annmarie is a Forward from Brookfield, Wisconsin.

As senior at Divine Savior Holy Angels, Annmarie helped lead the Dashers to a Wisconsin State Championship and 24-1-1 record as a senior. Annmarie led the team in game winning goals her last 2 years. DSHA was ranked 11th nationally by Annemarie also played club soccer for FC Milwaukee, the Wisconsin state champion from 2002 – 2007.

Annmarie is the daughter of John and Julie Hengel and one of three children, John (20) and Ashlynn (13). Brother John plays soccer at Washington University in St. Louis. Annemarie intends to become a nursing major.


2008 Award winner – Claire Zach

The 2008 Liz Karnes Memorial Scholarship Award winner was sophomore Claire Zach. Claire is a Midfielder/Defender from Omaha, Nebraska.

As a Freshman in 2007, Claire appeared in five matches as a rookie, including a season-high 32 minutes in the regular-season finale against Northern Iowa (Oct. 28). She is a 2006 graduate of Marian High School where she was a four-year letter winner and earned all-state honors from the Omaha World-Herald three times.

Claire is the daughter of Dr. Terry and Mary Zach and the youngest of four children, Katie (25), Kelly (23) and Patrick (21). Claire intends to become a pre-med major. Her grandfather John Sova played baseball at Creighton.