JONESBORO, Ark. (11/1/16) – Arkansas State women’s soccer sophomore Taylor Schneider has been named the Sun Belt Conference Newcomer of the Year, while sophomore goalkeeper Kelsey Ponder was named to All-Sun Belt Conference Second-Team the league office announced Tuesday.

Schneider is the first student-athlete in the history of the A-State women’s soccer program to win a postseason individual award from the conference and she did so with her outstanding play in the midfield and a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

The Ballwin, Mo., native led the team with four goals on the year, including three goals in as many games that helped the Red Wolves go on a three-game winning streak in the middle of the season. During the run, two of her goals were of the game-winning variety and she ended the year with three game-winning goals to rank among the SBC leaders in the category.

She scored the game-winning goal against UL Lafayette on Oct. 7 when she collected a free kick from Tayler Carter and headed the ball forward for the game’s only goal. Just two day later, she provided late game heroics when she scored in the 85th minute to send the Red Wolves to a victory over Texas State.

Schneider was also incredibly accurate with her shot selection on the year, landing .588 percent of her attempts on goal. She also proved to be an accurate passer and collected two assists on the year to lead the team with 10 points.

Ponder, the seventh player in the program’s history to earn all-conference status, was phenomenal in net throughout the year on her way to breaking the Arkansas State single-season record for saves with 110. She spent most of the year ranked among the nation’s top-3 in total saves and currently stands at 14th heading into the SBC Tournament. Her 6.88 saves per game average ranks as the seventh best among NCAA Division I goalkeepers, while her .866 saves percentage ranks 19th in the nation.

The St. Louis, Mo., native also started every game in goal and posted six victories with 1,484 minutes in net. She registered three shutouts in conference play, including two on the road against Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas State to help the Red Wolves start a three-match win streak near the end of the season.

A-State will open up play in the 2016 Sun Belt Conference Championship tournament Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 10 a.m. against No. 2 Coastal Carolina. The match will air on and on the WatchESPN App.

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