Five Lady Toppers receive Sun Belt Conference honors

MEGAN TAN/HERALD Sydney Sisler and Ali Stahlke play defense as they jump up to the re-route the ball during the WKU soccer game verses UALR on Friday Sep. 23, 2012. WKU won 5-0.

Natalie Hayden

The Lady Toppers took home an array of Sun Belt Conference honors at the annual soccer awards banquet Tuesday.

The team had five players receive honors.

Senior Ali Stahlke was named Defensive Player of the Year, as well as receiving honors as first team All-Conference.

“Ali is so well deserving of this recognition,” coach Jason Neidell said in a statement. “She takes such a humble approach to everything she does. I am so proud of her and the accomplishment. It is an enormous credit to her and what she has done for our team.”

Stahlke led the defense, which allowed the just five goals in conference play. She also scored three goals during the season.

Junior Chrissy Tchoula was also named first team All-Conference. Seniors Amanda Buechel and Courtney Rymer were named second team All-Conference, as well as freshman goalkeeper Nikki Hall.

“We always talk about this, but they are team awards, not individual awards,” Neidell said. “These kids accomplished what they accomplished because of their teammates. The proving ground is the product on we put on the field on Wednesday afternoon.”

The Lady Toppers will play Arkansas State Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Mobile, Ala., in their tournament opener. WKU defeated ASU earlier this season 2-0.

Buechel is among the league’s top scorers, with nine goals and four assists this season and has won Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week twice.

Hall allowed only five goals this season and only allowed multiple goals twice, both times coming against SEC teams.

“We are really excited to have this type of respect garnered from the other league coaches,” Neidell said. “Our kids have to feel good about ourselves and take a lot of pride in these awards. We are excited about the conference tournament and the chance to compete for a championship and prove our worth.”