By Kemmler Chapple
Written for the LSWA
HAMMOND, La. – Nicholls State sophomore forward Spencer Valdespino was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Player of the Year, as the LSWA announced its 2013 All-Louisiana Collegiate Women’s Soccer Teams.
Valdespino led a young group of honorees, as seven of the first team selections were freshmen. LSU midfielder Emma Fletcher highlighted that group as the state’s Freshman of the Year. Louisiana College junior midfielder Pamela Usry (Newcomer of the Year) and Southeastern Louisiana head coach Blake Hornbuckle (Coach of the Year) also earned individual honors.
Hornbuckle’s Southland Conference Tournament champion squad led the state with four first team selections. Louisiana-Lafayette followed with three first team picks, followed by LSU with two representatives. Nicholls and Louisiana-Monroe each had one first team choice each.
Valdespino, a sophomore from Spring Hill, Fla., earned her second player of the year award, as she was previously named the Southland Conference Player of the Year. She led the Colonels with 16 goals, five assists and 37 points to lead Nicholls to the Southland Conference Tournament.
Fletcher, who hails from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, was tabbed the state’s top freshman. The Tiger midfielder set a freshman record with 12 assists on the season and was a Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team choice. Fletcher was joined on the first team by teammate Summer Clarke, who lead LSU with 10 goals scored in 2013.
Usry, an honorable mention All-Louisiana choice, was voted the top newcomer in the state. The second team all-conference selection finished with five goals for LC in her first season out of Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Hornbuckle was named the state’s top coach for the sixth time in his career. The Atlanta native led the Lady Lions to a league tournament title and their second NCAA Tournament appearance in school history.
Representing Hornbuckle’s squad on the first team were four first team selections. Top scorers Kelsey Salcido (eight goals, 10 points) and freshman Brianna Singh (nine goals) earned All-Louisiana honors. Lady Lion freshman Hope Sabadash (0.67 GAA, nine shutouts) was named the state’s top goalkeeper, while junior defender Chelsea Villaescusa (five assists) rounded out Southeastern’s first team selections.
Louisiana-Lafayette had three first team selections. The prolific freshman scoring tandem of Yazmin Montoya (13 goals, five assists) and Annika Schmidt (10 goals) were part of the Ragin’ Cajun trio. Rounded out Louisiana-Lafayette’s honorees was junior defender Grace Howell-Harries, the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-Sun Belt selection.
Rounding out the first team All-Louisiana honorees was ULM freshman forward Jenna Pillon. The Long Beach, Calif. native was named first team All-Sun Belt by College Sports Madness after ranking among the league leaders with eight goals and four assists.
The All-Louisiana teams were selected by the state’s sports information directors.
2013 LSWA All-Louisiana Women’s Soccer Collegiate Teams
Spencer Valdespino, Nicholls, So., F, Spring Hill, Fla.
Kelsey Salcido, Southeastern La., Sr., MF, Lakewood, Calif.
Emma Fletcher, LSU, Fr., MF, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Yazmin Montoya, Louisiana-Lafayette, Fr., MF, West Covina, Calif.
Grace Howell-Harries, Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr., D, London, Ontario, Canada
Summer Clarke, LSU, Fr., F, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Chelsea Villaescusa, Southeastern La., Jr., D, Cypress, Calif.
Jenna Pillon, ULM, Fr., F, Long Beach, Calif.
Brianna Singh, Southeastern La., Fr., F, Lancaster, Calif.
Annika Schmidt, Louisiana-Lafayette, Fr., F, Nufringen, Germany
Hope Sabadash, Southeastern La., Fr., GK, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Honorable Mention: Pamela Usry, Louisiana College; Erin Christ, Southeastern La.; Megan Lee, LSU; Shanyce Shaw, Southeastern La.
Player of the Year: Spencer Valdespino, Nicholls
Freshman of the Year: Emma Fletcher, LSU
Newcomer of the Year: Pamela Usry, Louisiana College
Coach of the Year: Blake Hornbuckle, Southeastern La.