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Women's soccer earns third straight trip to regionals

By Mike Byker

The Lady Defender soccer season came to an end on a chilly November afternoon at the Dordt College Soccer complex in a NAIA Region IV final loss to Park University. The runner-up finish was Dordtís best finish as a Region IV member and closed a season that saw the Lady Defenders set a record for the most wins in a season with 16.

The seasonís win total was also notable in that it pushed the programís win total past 100 in only its ninth year of existence. Along the way the Lady Defenders finished with an 8-3 record in conference play, securing their third straight trip to the regional tournament.

The Lady Defenders were well represented on the All-Conference teams with Suzanne Clark earning first-team honors with a goal and six assists. Clark, a sophomore from Elm Grove, Wisconsin, was a mainstay on a defense that allowed an average of less than a goal a game. Clark was also named a first-team All-Region IV member and was an NAIA All-American honorable mention pick.

Larissa Brown, a senior from Highland, Indiana, was named a second-team All-Region IV member. Brown posted eight shutouts in goal and shared three shutouts this season while also being named an NAIA scholar-athlete.

Bethany Nishimoto, Nicki De Blaey, Heather Otten and Angie Katsma all earned honorable mention honors. Nishimoto was the leader for Dordt offensively with nine goals and nine assists. The senior from Aiea, Hawaii, was also a first-team All-Region IV pick and an honorable mention All-American selection.

De Blaey, a junior from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, scored 12 goals and had two assists while Otten, a Brookfield, Wisconsin, native scored five goals and Katsma assisted on two while also earning NAIA scholar-athlete accolades.

Two other Lady Defender performers were also named scholar-athletes: Beth De Jong, a Hudsonville, Michigan, native and Steph Schippers, a senior from West Olive, Michigan.