After playing soccer for ten years, Orange centerback Natalie Chandler has earned her highest honor: Big 8 Player of the Year.
Chandler, who committed to play for Richmond last month, earned the honor in an announcement from the Orange County Athletic Office on Wednesday night. Chandler, who will graduate next week, plays with Triangle United during the summer.
Chandler’s leadership on the backline helped Orange to an 11-8-1 season, including an 8-3-1 record in the Big 8, 2nd to Chapel Hill. Though her leadership can’t be measured in statistics, Chandler finished the season with three assists. Orange posted nine clean sheets this season.
Speaking of defense, Cedar Ridge’s Taylin Jean was named Big 8 Goalkeeper of the Year. Jean had ten shutouts as the Red Wolves finished 9-7-3. The Red Wolves made the 3A state playoffs, losing to West Brunswick 2-1 in the opening round.
Four other Orange players earned All-Big 8 honors. Senior Becca Shinnick was honored after scoring nine goals and two assists. Shinnick scored a penalty against Cedar Ridge’s in the Panthers 1-0 victory over their crosstown rivals on April 28. Junior Kayla Hodges led Orange with 13 goals and 30 points. She also tied for the team lead with four assists. Hodges had two hat tricks during the season. She scored four goals against Northern Vance on April 19. She also tallied four goals against J.F. Webb on May 3.
Orange junior forward Arianna DeBona also made All-Big 8. She had seven goals during the season. Also making the All-Conference team was junior Jordan Rogers, who logged over 300 minutes as a centerback.
In addition to Jean, Cedar Ridge had two other players named to the All-Big 8 team. Sophomore Alana Lutz and Senior Brittany Daley. The two were co-captains of the team.
Southern Durham’s Foster Kyei was named Big 8 Coach of the Year. Northern Vance earned the Sportsmanship Award.