RUSTON, La. – Five Utah State soccer players were named all-Western Athletic Conference as voted on by the league’s nine coaches; it was announced Tuesday in Ruston, La., the site of the WAC Soccer Tournament. Forward Shantel Flanary, defender Natalie Norris and midfielder Chandra Salmon earned first-team honors for the Aggies, while defender Summer Tillotson and senior forward Lauren Hansen were named to the second team.Norris, who earned her first career all-WAC honor, was also named the WAC’s Defensive Player of the Year. She is the second-straight Aggie to earn a postseason award as Flanary earned Offensive Player of the Years honors last season.”I am thrilled for Natalie’s honors,” USU head coach Heather Cairns said. “Our backline has been very effective at limiting our opponents opportunities in the box and limiting our opponents abilities to play through and behind our backline and over the top. Norris is a big part of that. She is a great 1-v-1 defender. She closes down seams incredibly well. She is a big reason that our backline is a strong as they are.”This is the third-straight season that the Aggies have placed at least three players on the first team. Since joining the WAC in 2005, Utah State has earned 25 all-WAC honors. The five honored was the most since seven were named all-WAC in 2008.The all-WAC honor was Flanary’s third of her career after earning first-team accolades last season and second-team honors in 2008. She ended WAC play with four goals and four assists for 12 points. She is in the top 10 in the WAC in points, goals and assists.”Shantel is a warrior. Whether or not she is having a great day, you can always count on her work rate. She has been fighting some hamstring injuries this season, but she is a warrior and she battles through it. Flanary is so dangerous because not only is she a goal-scoring threat, but also a threat to be a play maker for us to set up the people around her,” Cairns said.Junior midfielder Chandra Salmon earned first-team all-WAC honors for the third-straight season. She is the first Aggie to earn first-team honors her first three seasons. The defensive midfielder has started every match this season. She has played over 1,800 minutes this season.”I call her a destroyer all the time. Our system works because she sits back there and destroys what our opponents throw at us. She is a rock back there for us. Again, one thing that these players that have made the all conference team have in common is their work rate,” Cairns said.Senior forward Lauren Hansen earned all-WAC honors for the third time in four seasons, also earning second-team honors in 2007 and 2008. Hansen is first on the Aggies in points scored in league matches with six goals and one assist for 13 points. Overall, she became the all-time leader in points scored in USU history with 84.”The life of a forward is a little bit fickle in that sometimes your opponents can figure you out. Lauren does what she does really well. Through her career here, she has added enough diversity to add on to the strengths that she has,” said Cairns. “I have said this before that I think that Shantel and Lauren work really well together.”Junior defender Summer Tillotson earned her first all-WAC honor when she was named to the second team. She has started all 20 matches this season and is a part of the Aggie defense that allowed only six goals in conference matches.”She is a solid defender. She is quick; she can run anybody down. You can find kids that can defend, but it is hard to find a player that can defend and attack as well as she does. She is so confident going forward. Summer has gone forward so much this season and that has added a lot to our attack that I was really happy to see her recognized,” Cairns said.Idaho sophomore Chelsea Small earned Offensive Player of the Year honors, while San Jose State’s Kayla Santacruz was named Freshman of the Year. Idaho head coach Pete Showler, who led his squad to five wins in league play, was named Coach of the Year.The second-seeded Aggies will begin play at the WAC Tournament in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 5 at 11:30 a.m. (MT). USU will take on the winner of Thursday’s quarterfinal match between No. 3 Idaho and No. 6 Fresno State.Fans can follow USU soccer at http://twitter.com/USUsoccer and Utah State athletics at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics.First Team all-WACShantel Flanary, F, Jr., Utah StateKelsey Lord, F, So., San Jose StateShannon Saxton, F, Sr., Boise StateChelsea Small, F, So., IdahoJill Flockhart, MF, Sr., IdahoCheyenne Jones, MF, Sr., Boise StateChandra Salmon, MF, Jr., Utah StateScotti Culton, D, Jr., Louisiana TechJessica Ingram, D, Jr., San Jose StateNatalie Norris, D, So., Utah StateKaitlyn Revel, GK, Sr., Fresno StateSecond Team all-WACKiva Gresham, F, Sr., Louisiana TechLauren Hansen, F, Sr., Utah StateRachel King, F, Jr., Louisiana TechCrystal Burns, MF, So., New Mexico StateCristen Drummond, MF, Sr., NevadaNicole Duff, MF, Sr., Fresno StateLauren Sanchez, MF, Jr., San Jose StateMalia Hendrix, D, Sr., Boise StateLauren Layton, D, So., IdahoSummer Tillotson, D, Jr., Utah StateLiz Boyden, GK, Jr., IdahoOffensive Player of the Year: Chelsea Small, So., F, IdahoDefensive Player of the Year: Natalie Norris, So., D, Utah StateFreshman of the Year: Kayla Santacruz, Fr., F, San Jose StateCoach of the Year: Pete Showler, Idaho-USU-
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