Nasello headlines conference honors for USF

Senior midfielder Sydny Nasello leads USF in goals, assists, shots, shots on goal and game-winners this season. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

Coming off yet another AAC regular-season championship, the USF women’s soccer team cleaned up in the conference’s year-end awards with six total honorees.

“I’m so proud of the entire team for how well they’ve performed,” coach Denise Schilte-Brown said in a statement. “They’ve given it their all which helped us capture another conference regular-season championship.”

Junior forward Sydny Nasello was named the AAC Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. She scored a career-high 10 goals, the most in the conference, and led the Bulls in assists with four. 

USF’s attack was also represented by freshman forward Madeleine Penman-Derstine on the AAC All-Rookie Team. The Toronto native found the back of the net twice in 14 appearances, both coming in crucial moments.

Her first collegiate goal came in her debut against Florida on Aug. 19, netting the game-winner in the 50th minute in front of a near-record crowd at Corbett Stadium. Her other goal was a double-overtime golden goal on the road against Tulsa on Sept. 24. 

Three Bulls were named to the All-Conference First Team. Nasello was voted in unanimously, joined by senior defender Chyanne Dennis and freshman defender Vivanne Bessette. This is the second straight season all three have received first-team honors.

Dennis and Bessette anchored the Bulls’ defensive line, starting all 15 regular-season games and holding opponents to less than one goal per game on average. Dennis, in her final year at USF, became the program’s all-time leader in games played with 83. 

Between the sticks, junior goalkeeper Sydney Martinez was named to the conference’s second team. She made 55 saves and kept six shutouts in 2021, including three straight to close out the season. 

Martinez is joined on the second team by senior midfielder Sabrina Wagner. She has played a number of positions throughout her USF career in both midfield and defense.

The Bulls will now turn their attention to the AAC conference tournament and a potential return to the NCAA tournament later this month.

“This is a special group,” Schilte-Brown said. “They’ve earned the recognition and all these individual accolades are a reflection on the whole group’s efforts.”

The Bulls’ postseason kicks off in the AAC tournament semifinals Thursday night against SMU at Corbett Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN+ and streamed on Bulls Unlimited.