The Western Connecticut State University women’s soccer team won its fourth straight Little East Conference championship this season behind a stout defense that surrendered just seven goals on only 36 shots in conference play.
One of the key contributors on the Colonials’ defense is junior back Jasmine Grey, a Naugatuck High grad. Grey’s play this season earned her LEC Defensive Player of the Year and All-LEC honors.
“To be recognized by the whole league as a solid defender is something very special to me,” Grey said. “I got the defensive player of the year award, but I wouldn’t have received that without my teammates, so this is really a reflection of our team effort.”
The former All-NVL Naugatuck defender has made her mark on the pitch since the day she stepped foot on Western’s campus. Grey has started every game in her three years at Western, helping to lead the Colonials to the NCAA Division III tournament in three straight seasons.
“Since my freshman year I feel I have gained confidence that has allowed me to improve my game each season,” Grey said. “Our defense this year has a lot more experience with three juniors. We know how each other plays and we are there to back each other up. We work well together and that has been one of the keys to our success.”
Grey is also accomplished in the classroom, carrying a 3.72 GPA while studying biology and chemistry. She has won the most promising Biology Major award, and in her sophomore year earned the Isabelle T. Farrington Scholarship.
“Not only is Jasmine a very good soccer player, she is an amazing student as well,” Western Connecticut head coach Alex Harrison said. “She is a great influence to the younger girls on the team and sets the example both on the field and in the classroom.
“She was one of only two students who were selected to do research work for our biology department. She is such a great person and very mature beyond her years. We love her here at Western Connecticut and are very fortunate to have a student and player like that in our program, and we are very proud of her.”
The Colonials, who finished the year 14-9, have made the NCAA Division III tournament all three years with Grey in the backfield and are still looking for their first win in the tournament.
“The goal for my senior year is to not only win a fourth straight LEC championship but to win a game in the NCAA tournament,” Grey said. “We have a very good chance of accomplishing that with the experience we have coming back.”
“My experience playing for Naugatuck really helped me to succeed at the college level,” she added. “I like playing defense and the tackling aspect of protecting the goal. Academically, I was taught to pursue your excellence. I work really hard in school and it helped to mold me into the player and student that I am.”