WOMEN'S SOCCER: Sophomore defender Natalie Norris was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) all-West Region third team on Monday as voted on by the region's coaches.
Norris is the second Aggie to earn second-team honors and only the third USU player to earn the award. Junior forward Shantel Flanary was named to the second team in 2009. Melissa Baggaley was named to the all-West Region third team in 2003.
There were four other Western Athletic Conference players who earned all-Region honors. San Jose State defender Jessica Ingram and Idaho forward Chelsea Small were both named to the second team. San Jose State forward Kelse Lord and Idaho midfielder Jill Flockhart joined Norris on the third team.
Norris, who earned her first career all-WAC honor, was also named the WAC's Defensive Player of the Year. She is the second-straight Aggie to earn a postseason award as Flanary earned WAC Offensive Player of the Year honors last season. Norris also earned her first WAC all-tournament team honor along with junior midfielder Chandra Salmon.
The sophomore was the anchor of the Aggie defense that allowed only 21 goals in 21 matches. Norris and the USU defense had nine total shutouts this season. Norris also set a career high with two goals and two assists for six points. She ended the season tied for fourth on the team in total points with senior midfielder Stefani Shiozaki.
Utah State ended the season with a 9-7-5 record. The Aggies captured their second WAC regular-season title in three years with a 5-2-1 conference record.
FOOTBALL: Two Utah State football players earned all-Western Athletic Conference honors as the conference awards were announced Monday by the league office after a vote by the conference's nine head coaches. Junior linebacker Bobby Wagner was named to the first-team list, while senior cornerback Curtis Marsh was a second-team selection.
"For Bobby and Curtis, it is a very well deserving honor for both of them in my opinion," USU head coach Gary Andersen said.
Wagner is a repeat first-team selection from last year, while Marsh earned his first all-conference honor. Wagner becomes USU's first multiple first-team selection since Kevin Robinson earned all-Sun Belt honors in 2004 and all-WAC accolades in 2007, both as a kick returner. Wagner is the first back-to-back first-team honoree since Kevin Curtis earned first-team all-Independent honors in 2001 and 2002. Overall, Wagner becomes the 39th player in USU history to be a two-time first-team all-conference honoree.
It is the third time in the last four seasons that USU has had one first-team all-WAC selection, as Wagner was the lone Aggie first-teamer last year, after none in 2008 and Robinson in 2007. Jarrett Bush and John Chick were both first-team selections in 2005, USU's first season in the WAC.
Wagner, a native of Ontario, Calif. (Colony HS), led the WAC ranks eighth in the NCAA FBS with 11.1 tackles per game, ranking second in the league overall with 133 total tackles, leading the league with 72 tackle assists and ranking second with 61 solo stops.
"For Bobby, it is his second year in a row he has led the conference in tackles. He is a tremendous player. We need to take full advantage of his athletic ability in the future," Andersen said.
Wagner had a career-high 17 tackles twice this season, in the Fresno State and New Mexico State games. On the year, Wagner had seven games with double-digit tackles.
"It's an honor. It shows that all the hard work and dedication pays off," Wagner said. "It feels really great to earn all-WAC two years in a row, and it is an honor that the coaches in the league acknowledge my playing abilities."
Wagner's 133 tackles are just shy of the WAC's single-season top 10 list and are the most by a USU defender since 2002 when Jesse Busta logged 135 stops. Wagner is No. 12 on USU's single-season tackles list.
For his career, Wagner now has 299 tackles, needing just 19 more to crack the WAC's career tackles list as well as 28 more to reach Utah State's career list. Last season, Wagner led the WAC with 115 tackles, for a 9.6 tackles per game average.
Marsh, a Simi Valley, Calif. (Royal HS/Naval Academy Prep) native, ranks second in the WAC and sixth in FBS in passes defended with 1.25 per game, with 15 total on 13 pass break-ups and two interceptions. He had three pass break-ups in two different games, against BYU and Boise State, while logging two in the Idaho game.
"With Curtis, it is tough deal when a coach asks you to move positions. It is not easy, especially when he had the success he did at the position he was playing. It worked out the best for him. He is one of the best corners in our league and the coaches obviously feel the same way," Andersen said.
In only his second season as a defensive back after playing running back for the first two years of his USU career, Marsh's 13 pass break-ups this season are a career-high, nearly tripling last year's total of five.
"I believe he is a next level defender. Curtis could get himself into a post-season bowl game, I think he should get that opportunity and I hope he does. He should get himself into the combine and he will test there very well. Time will tell, but he did a tremendous job of adjusting," Andersen said.Comment on this story
Additionally, Marsh had 45 tackles (37 solo, eight assists) with one tackle for loss this season.
"Being all-WAC is a tremendous honor, I am very grateful to everyone who voted for me," Marsh said. "There are a lot of great players in the conference and it is an honor for me to be on the list with those players."
Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore were the WAC's Co-Offensive Players of the Year, while Fresno State defensive lineman Chris Carter was the WAC Defensive Player of the Year. San Jose State linebacker Keith Smith was the WAC Freshman of the Year, and Nevada head coach Chris Ault was the WAC Coach of the Year.
Utah State concluded the season with a 4-8 overall record and 2-6 WAC mark.