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Michigan State Women’s Soccer earns 11 postseason awards, four individual accolades

Marvin Hall/The Only Colors

Michigan State women’s soccer had a storybook season in 2022, finishing 14-1-3 while earning the first Big Ten regular season title since 1994, and just the second in program history.

Unsurprisingly after a season like that, the program earned 11 different Big Ten Yearly Accolades, with four different players earning individual accolades and head coach Jeff Hosler earning conference Coach of the Year honors.

Senior goalkeeper Lauren Kozal was the unanimous selection for Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year, her second-straight year winning the award and the first Spartan to be a unanimous pick.

Kozal earned All-Big Ten first-team honors as a result, allowing a goals-against average of 0.41, leading the Big Ten in shutouts (10), shutouts per game (0.56), and save percentage (0.877). Standing watch over the best defensive unit in NCAA Division I resulted in her becoming the third two-time recipient of Goalkeeper of the Year and just the second player to earn the award in consecutive seasons.

Senior forward Lauren DeBeau is the first Spartan to ever be named Forward of the Year, a league accolade dating to 2011. She finished the regular season with 10 goals, good enough to finish tied atop the leaderboard in goals scored.

DeBeau also ranks second in goals per game (0.59), points (23), and points per game (1.35). She earned unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten first-team while helping the team by scoring both of the goals in 1-0 defeats over Ohio State and Rutgers last week en route to the Big Ten regular season title.

Graduate defender Ruby Diodati became the first player at Michigan State to earn the Defender of the Year award. As the anchor in the back line, the Spartans allowed just seven goals in 18 games played, averaging out to just 0.4 goals per game.

The Spartans finished the season with a Big Ten-best 12 shutouts. That includes seven of the 10 matches against Big Ten squads. Diodati finished the regular season tied for third in the Big Ten with seven assists, earning All-Big Ten first-team honors.

Jeff Hosler oversaw the best regular-season finish in Michigan State women’s soccer history in just his second season as head coach. He earned Big Ten Coach of the Year, the first time since 2000 that a MSU coach earned the honors.

Tom Saxton was the previous Michigan State head coach to win the award, doing so twice. The first time was in the first season ever for Big Ten women’s soccer in 1994 (the last time MSU won a league regular-season title), and then again in 2000. Hosler’s 9-0-1 undefeated finish in Big Ten play and 14-1-3 overall record is the best in program history.

In addition to the individual honors, a number of other Spartans earned distinctions as well. Junior midfielder Justina Gaynor earned All-Big Ten first-team honors, senior defender Raegan Cox was named to the All-Big Ten second-team, and freshman midfielder Emerson Sargeant earned Big Ten All-Freshman Team recognition, the first Spartan to do so since 2019.

Fifth-year defender Abby Gardiner was also named as the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree for MSU — one of 14 players total, with one player named from each team. She started in all 18 games and touts the highest GPA on the MSU squad.

Michigan State returns to the pitch on Sunday in East Lansing as the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, playing host to No. 8 Minnesota. The game at DeMartin Stadium starts at 4 p.m. Eastern Time and will be broadcast on the Big Ten network.