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Women’s soccer earns trip to nationals

By Mike Byker

Suzanne Clark

Suzanne Clark

The Dordt College Lady Defender soccer team posted a 9-9-2 mark this past fall under the direction of Bill Elgersma. The Lady Defenders started slowly, but an ultra-competitive non-conference schedule served the Lady Defenders well as they posted an 8-2-1 Great Plains Athletic Conference mark, earning them a second place finish.

The post-season saw the Lady Defenders advance to the GPAC finals and also the NAIA Region III semifinals before being eliminated in the four-team tournament played in Duluth, Minnesota.

Elgersma was named the conference coach of the year for the second time in his four-year tenure as head coach and three Lady Defenders earned All-GPAC notice with Suzanne Clark and Nicki De Blaey earning first-team honors and Callie Christensen taking second-team honors. De Blaey was also named to the second team all-region and ends her career with 34 goals—which is fourth all-time at Dordt—and 79 total points—also fourth all-time.

Also at the regional level, Clark was accorded player-of-the-year honors and Christensen was named to the first team. Clark went on to be named 3rd-team All-American by the NAIA after helping the Lady Defenders limit their opponents to less than 1.5 goals per game; she assisted on nine goals. Clark is the first Lady Defender soccer player to be named to an all-American team.

Heather Otten, Karissa Phelps and Abbie Soodsma were all named NAIA scholar-athletes at the conclusion of the season. Otten is a theology-youth ministries major. Phelps and Soodsma are both physical education majors. Scholar athletes must hold at least a cumulative 3.5 grade point average, must make significant contributions to their team, and must be nominated by their coach.