Jonesboro, AR (A-State) – Arkansas State sophomores Kelsey Ponder and Taylor Schneider each earned Sun Belt Conference weekly soccer honors after they helped the Red Wolves to a pair of road victories over the weekend.
Ponder earned the league weekly Defensive Player of the Week award, while Schneider was named the Sun Belt’s Offensive Player of the Week. The award is the first for each student-athlete.
Ponder continued her dominant season by earning a pair of shut out victories on the road this weekend as her team defeated Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas State to vault itself into the middle of the race in the league standings.
Ponder made five saves in each contest for a total of 10 on the week. Against the Ragin’ Cajuns she faced a flurry of activity in front of the net after the Red Wolves took the lead in the 29th minute, but withstood and onslaught of shots to help her team earn three crucial points.
Against the Bobcats, Ponder was tested near the end of the first half and early in the second half with several dangerous attempts but was able to limit the rebound opportunities Texas State had. She also helped direct the defense during three corner kicks in the final four minutes of the match as her defenders were able to deflect the kicks out of a dangerous position before they could reach the goalkeeper.
The St. Louis, Mo., native is ranked second in the NCAA with 102 saves on the year, which puts her in third place all-time for most saves in a single in A-State history. The record of 108 was set by Susan Brown in the 2009 season.
She also recorded her third clean sheet of the season, which is tied for second most in a single campaign in school history.
Schneider scored two goals as the Red Wolves completed an undefeated weekend as they helped their position in the race to make the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
The transfer from Illinois State now leads the Red Wolves with four goals on the year and has scored each of the last three goals by her team. Her goal against Texas State on Sunday was of the heroic fashion as the Red Wolves and Bobcats were scoreless with five minutes to play when Bailey Reed sent in a corner kick that was intended to curl into the net.
The attempt missed its mark, but Schneider was able to track and timed her leap perfectly and headed the ball into the top corner of the net to help the Red Wolves win back-to-back road games in Sun Belt Conference for the first time in their history.
Against Louisiana-Lafayette she took a free kick from Tayler Carter and headed the ball forward to the net, but the shot deflected off a Ragin’ Cajuns defender and fell back to Schneider who chipped the ball into the top-right corner of the net for the goal in the 29th minute.
The Ballwin, Mo., native now leads Arkansas State with four goals on the year and is tied for the ninth most in the league. Her three game-winning goals on the year are also tied for the third most in school history.
The Red Wolves return to the pitch this Sunday for a home matchup against Georgia State. Kickoff is set for Noon at the A-State Soccer Park.