Armstrong wins SLC Player of the Year, leads seven players honored on All-Conference teams

Another year, another season in which the Northwestern State soccer team raked in the All-Southland Conference awards. 

For the second straight year, NSU earned the SLC Player of the Year, as Gracie Armstrong took home the award. Armstrong leads a group of seven players to earn selections on the All-Conference teams, the conference announced Wednesday. 

In addition to Armstrong earning player of the year, the graduate student also took home newcomer of the year and was named to the first team. 

Armstrong, who was named player of the year after Olivia Draguicevich won it last season, has made the most of her year at NSU. 

In league play, she finished tied for second in points, which was tied with Draguicevich. She scored 16 points, scoring five goals and dishing out a conference-best six assists. 

She scored two of those goals in a monster win at Lamar, handing the Cardinals to their only loss of the season so far. Armstrong followed that up with two more goals in a victory over Nicholls to earn the SLC Offensive Player of the Week. 

The graduate student becomes the sixth NSU player to win player of the year and second since 2008 (Draguicevich being the other). 

Armstrong was one of five Lady Demons to earn a spot on the first team, as she was joined by Draguicevich, Nicole Henry, Natalee Henry and Delaney Wells. 

Hallie Field and Chloe DeShazer were named to the second team, rounding out the NSU honorees. 

The five members on the first team are the second most of any teams, only trailing Lamar’s six. The two schools combined for 11 of the 13 slots on the first team. The two schools tied for the most total on the two teams with seven. 

Draguicevich also earned SLC Forward of the Year for the second straight season and earned her third nod onto the all-conference teams. 

The senior is fresh off an SLC Offensive Player of the Week honor, her second of the season. This past weekend, she tallied a hat trick to lead NSU to a 3-0 win against Southeastern Louisiana and move herself to the top of the school’s all-time goal scoring list, a record which had stood since 2000. 

The hat trick against SLU to close out the regular season was her second such performance of the season, also accomplishing the feat in a shutout victory over Jackson State in September. 

She scored 12 goals during the regular season and registered 26 points, both leading the conference for all games. In league play, she found the back of the net seven times and recorded 16 points, both were second in the SLC. 

Nicole Henry is one of two players honored who have been named to the all-conference teams for a fourth time, joining teammate Hallie Field. 

The graduate student, who won the defensive player of the year three times, is the first player in NSU history to be named to the first team four times. 

Her twin sister Natalee Henry was named to an all-conference for the third time with this being the first time on the first team. 

Each player was named SLC Defensive Player of the Week once this season, including Natalee Henry this past week when NSU shut out SLU in the regular season finale. 

The duo helped Northwestern State surrender just seven goals in conference play, just one behind Lamar, which was first in the league in that category. 

NSU’s defense only allowed more than five shots in a conference game just once. 

Not only is Natalee Henry stellar on defense, but she is also outstanding on the offensive end as well, as she was third on the team in points with 11 (three goals, five assists). She finished the season with an assist in each of NSU’s final two regular season contests. 

Also a part of that stellar defense is Delaney Wells, who was named all-conference for a second consecutive season and first time on the first team. 

Wells, a junior from Flower Mound, Texas, scored two goals on the season as a defensive midfielder for NSU. One of her goals came in the big victory at Texas A&M-Commerce on a corner kick to begin the scoring. 

On the defensive end, she was named the conference defensive player of the week once, helping lead NSU to a triumph at Grambling. In the win, she also scored her first goal of the season, putting the finishing touches on a 5-1 victory. 

Field, who was named to the all-conference team all four years, made it to the second team as a senior. She was a big part of that back line that has held down opponent’s shot attempts. She has also become more of an offensive threat, scoring four goals, which is third on the team. 

She scored in three consecutive games down the stretch, including the game-winning goal in two of them. The goal streak helped earn her offensive player of the week in the conference. 

DeShazer rounds out the All-Conference selections for NSU, fresh off her third goalkeeper of the week honor. She has a 0.58 goals against average in league play and has allowed just two goals during NSU’s current six-game winning streak. 

Her seven shutouts in the season are tied for the third most in school history for a single season, trailing just a pair of seasons by Acelya Aydogmus, who won the goalkeeper of the year award in the conference the last two seasons. 

Second-seeded NSU hosts the conference tournament, which begins Wednesday at the Lady Demon Soccer Complex. The hosts play seventh-seeded McNeese at 7 p.m. to begin its quest for a repeat tournament championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament. 

Player of the Year:  Gracie Armstrong, Northwestern State 

Freshman of the Year: Mya Mitchell, Texas A&M-Commerce
Newcomer of the Year: Gracie Armstrong, Northwestern State 

Defender of the Year: Arely Alaniz, Lamar
Midfielder of the Year: Mya Guillory, Southeastern
Forward of the Year:  Olivia Draguicevich, Northwestern State
Goalkeeper of the Year: Nicole Panis, Lamar
Coach of the Year: Nathan Kogut, Lamar