SPARTANBURG, S.C. – UNCG forward Cienna Rideout has been named the Southern Conference Player of the Year. For the fourth straight year, a Samford defender has been named defensive player of the year, as Korrie Sauder earned the honor in 2018. Regular-season champion Samford’s Todd Yelton was named SoCon Coach of the Year after the Bulldogs compiled an 8-0-1 conference record and didn’t have a loss in league play for the second straight season. UNCG’s Nicole Souply was tabbed freshman of the year.
The league coaches voted on a pair of all-conference teams, an all-freshman team and the four individual awards. They were not allowed to vote for themselves or their own players. Due to a tie in the voting, the 2018 edition of the all-conference first team includes 12 players. The second team includes 11 players, voted on by position, while the all-freshman team, which gives no regard to position, consists of 11 players.
Samford leads the way with seven players on the all-conference teams, with UNCG right behind with six. ETSU totaled four all-conference selections, while Furman and Chattanooga each have two. Mercer and Wofford both had one all-conference selection.
Rideout finished the regular season as the SoCon leader in points (29), points per game (1.93), goals (12), and goals per game (0.80). She was second in shots per game (4.0) and tied for third in both assists (5) and assists per game (0.33). She added assists on two of UNCG’s three goals in the Spartans’ 3-2 win over VMU in the quarterfinal round of the SoCon Women’s Soccer Championship on Saturday. Rideout was named the Southern Conference Player of the Week on Oct. 9 after scoring two goals and adding an assist in the Spartans’ wins over Furman and Wofford. The native of Las Vegas, Nevada, has a league-best five game-winners on the season.
Sauder anchored the backline for Samford, leading the Bulldogs to nine shutouts so far this season, seven of which came in conference play. The Franklin, Tennessee, native has started in all 18 games for the Bulldogs, helping Samford to the SoCon regular-season title for the fifth consecutive year. Samford has earned the defensive player of the year honor for the second straight year after Allie Lourie was honored in 2017.
Souply made a big impact in the UNCG lineup, starting 18 games for the Spartans and netting seven goals, the second-most on the squad that is 13-4-1 entering the SoCon semifinals. The Puyallup, Washington, native was the SoCon Player of the Week on Sept. 11 after scoring the game-winner in UNCG wins over High Point and Davidson. She is UNCG’s eighth women’s soccer freshman of the year but the first since 2015, when Caylin Prillaman was honored.
Yelton was named Southern Conference Coach of the Year for the fifth time and fourth time in the last five seasons after guiding the Bulldogs to a 12-5-1 record (8-0-1 SoCon) and earning the No. 1 seed in the SoCon Championship. Yelton’s squad hasn’t dropped a conference contest since 2016 as part of its run of five straight regular-season titles.
Samford midfielders Lourie and Caroline Orman and goalkeeper Stephanie Westaway join Sauder on the all-conference first team. Lourie has started 18 games for Samford, scoring one goal and dishing out two assists. Orman has also earned the start in all 18 games and scored four goals, second-most on the Bulldog squad. Ella Baggett, a forward, and defenders Taylor Meneide and Taylore Miller were second-team selections for Samford. All three earned the start in all 18 contests as Meneide and Miller helped anchor the pesky Samford defense and Baggett scored two goals on the year.
UNCG also placed four on the first-team as midfielder Heida Ragney Vidarsdottir and defenders Marissa Ferrantino and Emily Jensen joined Rideout. Jensen has scored four goals on the year, while Ferrantino started all 18 games to help Jensen on the backline. Midfielder Grace Kennedy and goalkeeper Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper were second-team selections for the Spartans. Tyler-Cooper was the week one SoCon Player of the Week and is second in the league in goals against average (0.85) and save percentage (.828).
ETSU, Furman, Mercer and Chattanooga each placed one on the first team. Eleonora Goldoni, a forward, was honored for ETSU while midfielder Caitlyn Reilly (Furman) and forwards Abigail Zoeller (Mercer) and Chloe Arnold (Chattanooga) joined her to round out the 12- member squad. Goldoni is third in the conference in points per game (1.43) and goals per game (0.57) and fourth in total points (20), and total goals (8). Reilly and Zoeller lead conference players in assists, as each tallied eight on the year, while Zoeller’s 78 shots in 20 games played is a league-high. Zoeller, a sophomore, averaged 1.40 points per contest and trailed only Rideout.
ETSU forward Sarah Connolly, who netted the game-winner over No. 6 seed Mercer in the Bucs’ quarterfinal tournament win, was a second-team selection. She was joined by teammates Fiona Dodge and Rachel Harbin, both midfielders. Wofford placed forward Hayley Younginer on the second-team squad.
Furman defender Virginia Poe and Chattanooga defender Jordan Mueller rounded out the 11-member second-team.
Chattanooga and UNCG each placed three student-athletes on the all-freshman team. Furman and Mercer each added a pair and Kessy Bradshaw represented The Citadel.
No. 1 Samford, No. 2 UNCG, No. 3 ETSU and No. 5 Furman have advanced to the semifinals of the Southern Conference Women’s Soccer Championship, held at Mercer’s Betts Stadium. The matches, set for 4 and 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, will air on the SoCon Digital Network. The championship match on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2 p.m. will air on ESPN+.
2018 Women’s Soccer All-Conference Team
Player of the Year – Cienna Rideout, Jr., F, UNCG
Defensive Player of the Year – Korrie Sauder, Sr., D, Samford
Coach of the Year – Todd Yelton, Samford
Freshman of the Year – Nicole Souply, F, UNCG
F - Eleonora Goldoni, ETSU
F - Abigail Zoeller, Mercer
F – Cienna Rideout, UNCG
F – Chloe Arnold, Chattanooga
M – Caitlyn Reilly, Furman
M – Heida Ragney Vidarsdottir, UNCG
M – Allie Lourie, Samford
M – Caroline Orman, Samford
D – Marissa Ferrantino, UNCG
D – Emily Jensen, UNCG
D – Korrie Sauder, Samford
GK – Stephanie Westaway, Samford
F – Sarah Connolly, ETSU
F – Ella Baggett, Samford
F – Hayley Younginer, Wofford
M – Fiona Dodge, ETSU
M – Rachel Harbin, ETSU
M – Grace Kennedy, UNCG
D – Virginia Poe, Furman
D – Taylor Meneide, Samford
D – Taylore Miller, Samford
D – Jordan Mueller, Chattanooga
GK – Aiyanah Tyler-Cooper, UNCG
Kessy Bradshaw, The Citadel
Grace Baghdady, Furman
Erin Houlihan, Furman
Kylie Buchanan, Mercer
Payton Schurr, Mercer
Kayla Campbell, UNCG
Nicole Souply, UNCG
Gracie Timbario, UNCG
Hollie Massey, Chattanooga
Maggie Shaw, Chattanooga
Ashton Shields, Chattanooga