Five Defenders Earn GPAC Notice

Five Defenders Earn GPAC Notice

(Monday, November 13; Sioux Center, Iowa)  Five Dordt College Defender women’s soccer players earned post-season honors from the Great Plains Athletic Conference in voting done at the conclusion of the regular season.

Natalie Sakuma (Senior; Bow, Washington) and Anisa Patterson (Senior, El Cajon, California) were named to the first-team while Tori Mann (Senior; Colorado Springs, Colorado) earned second-team accolades.

Sarah Krysl (Freshman; Cheyenne, Wyoming) and Alaina Van Zalen (Freshman; Jenison, Michigan) both claimed honorable mention accolades.

Sakuma capped her career with a team leading nine goals and seven assists for a team high 25 points. She had 51 career goals and 23 assists which rank 2nd and 5th all-time at Dordt and her 125 points rank 2nd all-time.  This is the second time she’s been named to the first-team and the third time she’s received post-season honors.

“Natalie is highly deserving of first team honors for a second time.  She has had a brilliant career here with technical skills that have given opponents fits.  Although her goal total this season is not as high as the past, this is because opponents know her and double team her often.   As a result her assists became significant as she set up unmarked players who then were able to find the back of the net,” said Dordt College coach Bill Elgersma.

Patterson claims the honor after scoring three goals with two assists while playing defense for a team that allowed less than one goal per game.  Patterson was a honorable mention pick in 2015.

“Anisa was out last season recovering from knee surgery so I thought she would have been at least second team.  The fact that the coaches selected her as a first team back from a pool of extremely talented back is testament to her tenacity in defending and her willingness to join the attack out of the back.  In most games, opponents started the game attacking her flank because of her height and found they needed to switch to the other side because she was extremely difficult to beat,” said Elgersma.

Mann was a second-team pick after scoring six goals and assisting on five.  During her career she had 16 goals and ten assists and was a strong midfield presence in helping the defense surrender less than a goal per game.

“Tori as a second team selection is long overdue.  Other teams don’t recognize her skill or talent until they watch video after games and realize what she did to them.  While most teams came to realize she had a wicked outside shot that could be laid up under the bar, few realized her involvement in both offensive and defensive play around the field.  Our offense runs through our midfielders and Tori was a central component of that.  Our first line of defense was often our center mids and again, I called on Tori to make the first touch,” said Elgersma.

Krysl and Van Zalen both earned the honor in their first season with the Defenders. Krysl played defense and help Dordt to a 0.8 goals allowed average in GPAC games and a 0.95 goals allowed average in all 19 games. Van Zalen scored four goals and assisted on four as Dordt outscored teams 23-10 during the GPAC season.

“Sarah Krysl as an honorable mention is highly commendable.  She probably played more minutes than 90 percent of our team and her position was critical.  To come in as a freshman and control the center of the back line is an incredible amount of pressure and Sarah rose to the challenge.  She contained the opponents’ best attackers and she made their ability to release shots very difficult,” said Elgersma. “Alaina VanZalen had a great year. As a freshman stepping onto the field as an outside mid, Alaina was a threat every time she had the ball.  Her speed caught opponents by surprise and her technical ability on the ball allowed her to join the attack for both goals and assists.  Again, she probably played more minutes than 90 % of our team in one of the most draining positions on this team.  As an outside mid, she had to be up front and returning to back pressure and she did it all well.”

Dordt College recently completed a 12-7 season in which it claimed fourth place in the GPAC standings with a 7-3 mark.