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Lancer soccer stars named to Big South All-Decade Team

They were two of the best to ever play at Longwood University, and now they’re officially two of the best to ever come through the Big South Conference.

Former Longwood women’s soccer standouts Amanda Spencer and Sydney Wallace were named to the Big South Women’s Soccer All-Decade Team Wednesday, June 3, a fitting honor for two of Longwood’s most decorated student-athletes in any sport since joining the Big South in 2012-13.

Earning those appointments in the university’s first decade as a member of the Big South Conference, Spencer and Wallace made up part of a 14-player list of Big South elites that was selected by a 15-person selection committee of Big South administrators and a fan vote that comprised 20% of the overall total.

“It’s fitting and deserving that Amanda and Sydney have been named to the Big South All-Decade Team,” Longwood Women’s Head Coach and program founder Todd Dyer said, who in 2020 will embark on his 27th season leading the program.

“At a time when we were newcomers into the league, these two young ladies gave us instant credibility and put us on the map competitively. Their talents were obvious, but their character, spirit and drive really took them and our program to the next level.”

During their careers — Spencer from 2013-16 and Wallace from 2015- 18 — the two combined to amass seven All-Big South honors and three major conference awards while elevating Longwood women’s soccer into the top tier of the Big South.

Spencer, a midfielder, remains one of only 28 players in conference history to earn four consecutive All-Big South awards, while Wallace, a defender, became only the second Big South player to twice be named Big South Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Year.

Spencer and Wallace’s success transcended their individual accolades as well. In their six concurrent seasons with the program, including their overlapping seasons as teammates in 2015 and 2016, Longwood amassed a 33-17-9 Big South record and three third-place finishes in the conference standings. Longwood finished better than .500 in league play in five of those six seasons, including all four of Wallace’s tenure, and advanced to the Big South Championship game in 2017 for the first time in program history.

Spencer’s name remains peppered throughout the Longwood record books as Longwood’s all-time Division I-era leader in career goals, 26, No. 2 in game-winning goals, eight, and No. 3 in career points, 60, shots, 164, and shots on goal, 89. On the all-time program lists, which date back to Dyer’s founding of the program in 1994, Spencer sits third all-time in career goals, fifth in points and fifth in shots.

Spencer laid the groundwork for her historic four-year tenure early, putting together a freshman season in 2013 that remains one of the best debuts of any freshman women’s soccer player in conference history. She scored a team-high nine goals that year and finished among the Big South’s top three in points, with 21, and goals enroute to becoming the first Lancer to win a Big South Freshman of the Year honor. She was also named to the All-Big South Second Team that year and followed with another second-team award in 2014 and back-to-back first-team honors in 2015 and 2016.

Meanwhile, Wallace made her impact in the backfield and left Longwood as one of the most decorated athletes of the school’s Big South era. A four-year starter, she appeared in 78 games during her career to tie the school record and was the anchor of a Longwood backfield that surrendered the fewest goals and shots on goal of any Big South team in her four years in the league.

After receiving Big South All-Freshman Team honors in 2015, she enjoyed a breakout sophomore season that resulted in the first of her three consecutive All-Big South First-Team awards. Longwood surrendered just 18 goals in 20 games that year — fewest in the Big South — and went on to lead the league in goals against average in back-to-back years in 2017 and 2018.

As a junior in 2017, Wallace broke a Big South Conference trend by becoming only the second non-goalkeeper to win the Big South Defensive Player of the Year award. She repeated that achievement as a senior in 2018, winning the honor again to become the first non-keeper to win it twice.

The Big South is in the midst of selecting its 2010-19 All-Decade Teams for all sports in June 2020 and will unveil the remaining squads later this month. To be eligible for consideration to those teams, student-athletes must have received recognition as either a multi-time All-Big South honoree, a major conference award winner or an All-American.

Longwood, which is a member of the league in all sports except for its Mid-American Conference-affiliated field hockey program, has players on the all-decade ballots in baseball, women’s basketball, women’s golf, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, softball and men’s tennis.