All-Conference TeamsSouthland Tournament Central

HUNTSVILLE – Beryl Smith and Carlota Suarez Crespo have been key pieces in Sam Houston State’s resurgent season and offensive output. On Monday, they were recognized for those efforts.

The duo were each named Second Team All-Southland Conference as part of the 11-member team after ranking in the top-10 in the league for goals scored and points. Suarez Crespo, a sophomore forward who was in contention for newcomer of the year, was tied for second in the league in goals (8) while Smith, a senior midfielder, collected 0.41 goals per match, ranking eighth.

“I think both of them have had a good year,” head coach Tom Brown said. “They are deserving of the all-conference team. They have both led us in goals scored and overall how they’ve performed with games and training. We are excited and proud of them to receive these accolades.”

Meanwhile, Whitney Woodward was recognized as honorable mention for her efforts defensively. The junior has played 1,278 minutes and appeared in 16 games. Her performance on the back line lifted Sam Houston to a 3-1-2 record in the last six matches, permitting just one goal per match in that span.

“I think she’s been a steady player for us in the back,” Brown said of Woodward. “She’s just such a good versatile defender. I think she has gotten stronger every year. We’re are happy the conference has recognized her contributions here.”

Southland Conference champion Lamar led the league with four first-team all-conference players and six overall on the top-two teams. Cardinals head coach Steve Holeman earned coach of the year. McNeese’s Savannah LaRicci was named Southland Player of the Year.

Sam Houston opens the Southland Conference Tournament on Wednesday as the league’s seven-seed. The Kats take on two-seed Stephen F. Austin at 11 a.m. in the opening match. It will mark the second meeting between the teams in five days with the Ladyjacks grabbing the regular-season finale, 2-1 in double-overtime.

“I think after Friday night’s game we had some recovery on Saturday and we were off Sunday,” Brown said. “We spent some time on different aspects with things we can be better at against Stephen F. Austin. I thought there was a good spirited training. We are excited to have another shot to play Wednesday.”