Nov. 5, 2013
Southland Conference Teams/Accolades
FRISCO, Texas - Stephen F. Austin head soccer coach Wally Crittenden was named the Southland Conference Coach of the Year, in conjunction with the release of the all-conference soccer teams announced by league officials Tuesday.
"This award means a lot for several reasons, Crittenden said. "First, and foremost, this is a program award. The athletic department and support staff I am fortunate to work alongside are incredible. Both Kelly Tarrant and Dan Bassett have done a tremendous job and have made a great impact on the culture of the program. Josh Lammert and his training staff have done wonders this year to keep our kids healthy and that is so special. Andy Collins, Korbin Pate, and their staff have done an amazing job creating an atmosphere that is exciting for our athletes as they understand how precious few home games that our kids really have. Kyle Rogers has done a really good job stepping in and putting our program in the public's eye as often as possible. It is also special to me, as there are so many great coaches in this conference and many of them I view as mentors and great friends. This conference is coming off one of the most successful years for many of its programs and I am so proud that I can represent the Southland every chance I get.
"Without question though, this award is most special because of our players and what this represents to them. For me to receive this award means that they truly believe in themselves, and in the staff, and that they understand that our primary goal is to do whatever we can to create as many opportunities for them to be as successful as possible so as to help them have the longest season they can have."
In his first season in Nacogdoches, Crittenden led the SFA to its eighth Southland Conference title in program history and third in as many years. The championship marks the first time in program history that the Ladyjacks have won-back-to-back-to-back titles and delivers on a preseason selection in which SFA was picked first in both polls conducted by coaches and sports information directors entering the 2013 season.
Crittenden led the Ladyjacks (15-3-2, 10-1-1 SLC) to their second consecutive 15-win regular season, tying the school record. Along the way, SFA finished undefeated (8-0-2) on the road for the first time in program history and tied its own record for shutouts in a single-season with 13.
Under Crittenden, the Ladyjack defense led the nation in shutout percentage entering week nine and the Ladyjacks ranked as high as 42 in the RPI in week 10 of the regular season. SFA currently ranks 10th in the nation in shutout percentage (.650), 12th in goals-against average (.527) and 21st in save percentage (.851), while the Ladyjacks' 15-3-2 record currently also sits 19th in the nation in win-lost-tied percentage (.800).
The Coach of the Year award is the third for a SFA head coach as well during its three-year conference run. Former head coach Tony Amato won the honor in 2011 and 2012.
"What a great honor it is to be recognized by coaches from around the league for your play throughout the season," Crittenden said. "There are different awards a player can be recognized for, but without a doubt, an opposing coach's compliment means so much. To have nine players receive that praise illustrates the type of dedication, work ethic, and execution we are privileged to have here within our program. Each of the players named to the first, second, and honorable mention teams have had a great year and each of them has been able to make an impact in the identity of our team. With that being said, there are many other players on this team that have performed just as well and what excites me is that those players selected this year will be the first to pay compliments to their teammates and to the level at which our entire squad has competed this entire season. The future is very bright within our roster and I expect great things from this group as we move into postseason play."
The Ladyjacks were joined by Southeastern Louisiana with three players each on the first team. Junior forward Chelsea Raymond, a three-time first-team All-SLC selection, enjoyed a record-breaking year for SFA, becoming the all-time school goals leader with 39 in her career. The native of Irving, Texas, led the league with seven game-winning goals. Raymond led the team and ranked third in the conference goals (nine), fourth in shots (68), fifth in shots per game (3.40), sixth in goals per game (0.45), seventh in points (20) and 10th in points per game (1.00).
Joining Raymond on the first team was senior midfield Melissa Gaudet and junior defender Megan Dunnigan. The first-team honors are the second of Dunnigan's career and first for Gaudet. Senior midfield Brenda Salazar was the Ladyjacks' lone representative on the second team.
Gaudet, a Bayside, Nova Scotia, native, led the Ladyjacks and ranked fourth in the Southland in assists (six) and seventh in assists per game (0.30). Dunnigan, a two-time first-team selection from Round Rock, Texas, anchored the backline for one of the league's toughest defenses as SFA won 12 of its 15 games via the shutout. The Ladyjacks gave up the second-fewest goals in the conference with 11 and allowed 0.55 goals per game. Dunnigan also added two assists and one goal on the season.
The second-team selection was the first postseason honor for Salazar, who tied Gaudet with six assists and finished seventh in the conference in assists per game (0.30), while scoring two goals. In SLC play, Salazar finished fourth in assists (three) and seventh in assists per game (0.25).
SFA also had five Ladyjacks earn honorable mention, with senior Lacey Lee (goalkeeper), junior Zuri Prince (forward), and defenders Rachel Owens, Chantal Curry and Brooke Dunnigan all receiving recognition. Lee finished third in goals against average (0.60) and save percentage (.857). Prince finished second on the team in points (16) and goals (six), third in assists (four), while delivering three game-winning goals. Owens, Curry and Brooke Dunnigan joined Megan Dunnigan on the premier defense in the Southland. Owens also added two goals offensively.
The Ladyjacks enter the Southland Conference Tournament as the No. 1 seed and will enjoy a first-round bye before taking on the winner of No. 4 Nicholls State and No. 5 Sam Houston State on Friday Nov. 8. The match will take place at 7:00 p.m. at host McNeese State's Cowgirl Field in Lake Charles, La.
2013 All-Southland Conference Soccer Teams
Spencer Valdespino, F, NICH; Chelsea Raymond3, F, SFA; Andrea Carpenter, F, ACU; Jennifer Abernathy2, M, ORU; Melissa Gaudet. M, SFA; Kelsey Salcido2, M, SLU; Megan Dunnigan2, D, SFA; Kaily Cox, D, ORU; Chelsea Villaescusa, D, SLU; Hope Sabadash, GK, SLU; Adriana Lucar1, 2, F, UCA.
Megan Giles, F, ORU; Katie Miller, F, UIW; Jordan Parsons, F, ORU; Kayla Keller, M, ORU; Ashlee Savona, M, NWST; Mariah Titus, M, SHSU; Erin Christ, D, SLU; Shanyce Shaw, D, SLU; Brie Buschman, D, ACU; Maddie Rhodes, GK, ORU; Brenda Salazar1, M, SFA.
2Two-time first-team selection
3Three-time first-team selection
Zuri Prince, F, SFA; Brianna Singh, F, SLU; Yvette Fanco, F, AMCC; Kimmy Albeno, F, LU; Jannet Hernandez, MF, LU; Tricia Mallory, MF, SHSU; Molly Missimer, MF, HBU; Whitley Lindholm, MF, ACU; Melissa Pestalozzi, MF, NICH; Jess Coates, MF, NICH; Kate Koch, MF, UCA; Sydney Solomon, MF, UIW; Leah Bickers, D, ORU; Chantal Curry, D, SFA; Brooke Dunnigan, D, SFA; Megan Bennett, D, SHSU; Kelsie Roberts, D, ACU; Amber Thornhill, D, LU; Rachel Owens, D, SFA; Sarah Parker, D, UIW; Alexa Herbers, D, UCA; Kylie Hambleton, GK, SHSU; Lacey Lee, GK, SFA; Jessica Danku, NSU.
Player of the Year - Spencer Valdespino, NICH
Freshman of the Year - Hope Sabadash, SLU
Newcomer of the Year - Kaily Cox, ORU
Coach of the Year - Wally Crittenden, SFA