In her sophomore season with Nicholls State, former Bishop McLaughlin standout Spencer Valdespino was named as the Southland Conference Soccer Player of the Year on Tuesday.
Valdespino has been key in turning around a program that went from perennial doormats in the conference to a program-best 12 wins and six conference wins en route to its first winning season since the team began competition in 1998.
The forward also set team records for goals (16) and points (37) one season after making the all-conference team as an honorable mention during her freshman campaign. Her 108 shots this year are the second-most in the 17-year history of the conference, only eight shots behind the record.
She becomes the first Colonel to ever win the player of the year award, earning an individual Southland postseason honor for just the second time in team history after former Colonel Ashley Bock was named the 2003 Newcomer of the Year. Valdespino is only the third Nicholls State player to be named to the All-Southland Conference first team.
In her senior year at Bishop McLaughlin, Valdespino led the Hurricanes to a state playoff berth and signed with the Colonels. Her impact was immediate as she set four school records last year and bested those numbers in 2013. Nicholls State’s season is not over as the fourth seed in the 14-team Southland Conference.
The conference tournament begins Thursday as the Colonels (12-5-2) square off with Sam Houston State, a team Nicholls State defeated 3-2 in the regular-season finale. Nicholls State has never won a conference tournament match, going 0-2 all-time.