Six Aggies earn Mountain West soccer honors – Cache Valley Daily

Utah State women’s soccer. Photo by Tina Lerohl

LOGAN, Utah – The Mountain West Conference announced its individual awards for the 2023 season Sunday morning, a list which included six Aggies. Four Utah State players earned spots on All-Mountain West teams, tying the program’s best all-time mark.

Highlighting the honors for Utah State are senior defender Kelsey Kaufusi, who was named the MW Defensive Player of the Year, and third-year head coach Manny Martins, who earned MW Coach of the Year accolades.

Additionally, Kaufusi and sophomore midfielder Kaylie Chambers earned spots on the all-conference first team, while senior defender Kylie Olsen and graduate goalkeeper Diera Walton were each named to the all-conference second team. Freshman midfielder Summer Diamond was the final Aggie honored, securing a spot on the all-newcomer team.

Kaufusi becomes just the third USU player to earn conference defensive player of the year honors, joining Natalie Norris (2010, 2011, 2012 WAC) and Taryn Rose (2014 MW). This is also her third All-Mountain West selection, after being named to the league’s second team in both 2020 and 2022. Kaufusi was the team’s defensive anchor this year as USU boasted the league’s top defense, holding opponents to a conference-best 0.5 goals per game in MW play. This season, Kaufusi has started all 20 matches and played every single minute of the season, 1,800 total.

Martins is the second Utah State coach to earn conference coach of the year honors, joining Heather Cairns (2008, 2012 WAC). He has led the team to a 12-7-1 overall mark this year and a program-record nine wins in conference play in his third season at the helm. He’s also helped USU earn a 2-seed in the upcoming Mountain West Championship, its best seeding since joining the league. Martins coached the team to its highest-ranked win in program history, when the Aggies defeated No. 1 BYU on Sept. 16.

Chambers earned her second-straight all-Mountain West selection, after landing on the league’s second team last year. This year, the sophomore led the Aggies and ranked tied for sixth in the conference with 11 points in league play. Chambers led all USU players with four goals and tied the team lead with three assists during 11 conference matches. She also scored a conference-best four game-winners, with deciding goals against Wyoming, Fresno State, New Mexico and UNLV.

Olsen and Walton each earned spots on the all-conference second team after playing pivotal roles on the league’s top defense. As a team, USU led the MW with six shutouts in 11 conference games and held opponents to just 10.2 shots per contest. Along with her defensive duties, Olsen scored a pair of goals this year including a 90th-minute game-winner against Colorado State. While playing all but 23 minutes of conference play, Walton boasts the league’s top GAA at just 0.56, and ranks second in save percentage at .860. This is Walton’s second appearance on the all-MW second team, after landing a spot in 2021 as well.

Diamond earned a spot on the MW all-newcomer team after an outstanding freshman campaign. She has four goals on the year, tying Chambers with the team lead, along with an assist for nine total points. Diamond scored the game-winner in USU’s win over No. 1 BYU, and ranks second on the squad with 30 shots. She’s appeared in 19 games this season, making 17 starts.

Utah State (12-7-1, 9-2 MW) will play the winner of Boise State and Nevada in the MW Championship semifinals in Laramie, Wyoming, on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 11 a.m. (MT). The match will be available to stream through the Mountain West Network and the MW App.

Fans can follow the Aggie soccer program on Twitter, @USUSoccer, on Facebook at /USUSoccer and on Instagram, @USUSoccer. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter, @USUAthletics, Facebook at /USUAthletics and on Instagram, @USUAthletics.

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