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NC Courage defender Abby Dahlkemper voted 2017 NWSL Defender of the Year

North Carolina Courage defender Abby Dahlkemper was named the 2017 NWSL Defender of the Year, the league announced Thursday.

Dahlkemper, 24, who just completed her third season in the NWSL (first with NC Courage) is the youngest player ever to win the award.

The UCLA and U.S. Women’s National Team product played every minute (2,340), one of only four field players to do so, for the Courage this season, who finished the regular season by winning the NWSL Shield with a 16-7-1 record before falling to the Portland Thorns in the NWSL Championship game.

[More from Excelle: North Carolina Courage forward Ashley Hatch wins Rookie of the Year]

Dahlkemper, who was drafted third overall in 2015 by the Western New York Flash, turned in two assists on the season and anchored a back line that helped the NC Courage post 12 shutouts (an NWSL record) while conceding only 22 goals for a 0.92 goals against average (fourth-best in league history).

Dahlkemper is the second consecutive UCLA Bruin to win the award, with Seattle Reign FC defender Lauren Barnes taking home the award in 2016.

The award also marks the third for the Courage thus far, as forward Ashley Hatch took home Rookie of the Year and head coach Paul Riley won Coach of the Year.

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