Andy Summerlin, Samford, Sr., QB
Samford quarterback Andy Summerlin threw for 1,259 yards and 11 touchdowns, both league bests, in the Bulldogs’ first five games of the season. The sixth-year senior from Apopka, Fla., went 101-for-159 over that span in helping Samford to a 3-2 start. Summerlin threw for a then-school record 478 yards and three touchdowns against Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 21 and followed that up with 327 yards and four touchdowns on 16-for-22 passing in a win over Western Carolina a week later to earn SoCon Offensive Player of the Week honors. Summerlin passed for at least 100 yards and a touchdown in each of Samford’s contests in the opening month of the season, including throwing for 119 yards and two scores against FBS Arkansas on Sept. 7.
Other nominees: Marcus Cox (Appalachian State), Ben Dupree (The Citadel), Mike Quinn (Elon), Jerick McKinnon (Georgia Southern), Jacob Huesman (Chattanooga), Troy Mitchell (Western Carolina) and Donovan Johnson (Wofford).
John Law, Appalachian State, Fr., LB
Appalachian State freshman linebacker John Law posted a SoCon-best 12.5 tackles per game in the first month of the season and 50 total tackles to rank fourth in the conference despite playing one game fewer than half the league. Law came up with three takeaways in the month, with all of them coming against Elon on Sept. 21. After making 15 tackles, recovering a fumble and coming up with a pair of interceptions against the Phoenix, Law was named the SoCon Defensive Player of the Week. Law led the Mountaineers in tackles in each of their first three games, making 12 in a season-opening loss at No. 20 Montana on Aug. 31 that led to his being named the SoCon Freshman of the Week. Law added 14 tackles against North Carolina A&T before breaking out against Elon two weeks later.
Other nominees: Brandon McCladdie (The Citadel), Jonathan Spain (Elon), Kyle Oehlbeck (Georgia Southern), Justin Shade (Samford), Kadeem Wise (Chattanooga), Courtland Carson (Western Carolina) and Kevin Thomas (Wofford).
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Luis Vargas, Elon, Jr.
Elon junior Luis Vargas won each of his two events in the opening month of the season. Vargas teamed with Ben Perron to win the title at the Wake Forest Relays on Aug. 30, helping Elon to a second-place team showing. He and Perron clocked a time of 36:00 on the 12K course, topping the next-closest duo by 1:38. At the Elon Invitational two weeks later, Vargas claimed the 8K title in 24:19, more than a minute ahead of runner-up Perron, to lead the Phoenix to the team title. Vargas was named the SoCon Runner of the Week after that performance.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY
Teghan Henderson, Chattanooga, So.
Chattanooga sophomore Teghan Henderson won a pair of individual titles in September, earning SoCon Runner of the Week honors on Sept. 11 and Sept. 25. At the Mocs’ season-opening PowerAde Invitational on Sept. 6, Henderson turned in a time of 10:58.10 to win the two-mile race and help Chattanooga to the team title. At the Georgia State Invitational on Sept. 20, Henderson paced the field with a time of 14:07.61 on the 4K course as the Mocs claimed second as a team. The wins were the first two of Henderson’s collegiate career.
Sven Lissek, Furman, So., GK
Furman sophomore goalkeeper Sven Lissek turned in a dominant first month of the season to help the Paladins to a 7-1-1 start to the year and a spot in the national rankings. Including a 4-3, double-overtime win over No. 25 Xavier to open the season on Aug. 30, Lissek posted a 0.54 goals against average and 18 saves in picking up each decision in the net. Lissek helped Furman to six straight shutouts in September, including a streak of four straight solo shutouts and five overall. Furman was involved in five 1-0 games in the month, with the Sewau, Germany, native picking up wins in all but a loss to No. 8 Akron on Sept. 1. In addition to notching a save in working the first 57 minutes of the Paladins’ 8-0 win over Presbyterian on Sept. 13, Lissek picked up a pair of assists in the contest. Late in the month, Furman moved into the national rankings in the Top Drawer Soccer and College Soccer News polls.
Other nominees: Stanley Broaden (Appalachian State), Valeriy Sviderskiy (Davidson), Nathan Dean (Elon), Witt Carlisle (Georgia Southern), David Reittinger (UNCG) and Connor Davis (Wofford).
Nicole Dennion, Elon, So., F
Elon forward Nicole Dennion paced the Phoenix with 14 points on six goals and two assists in September, helping the squad to a 5-1-2 mark and a 1-0-1 start to SoCon play. The Ewing, N.J., sophomore got her month started with a pair of goals, including the game-winner, in Elon’s 3-0 victory over Greensboro College on Sept. 5. That started a streak of four straight games in which Dennion scored, as she would add single goals in games against High Point, Longwood and Texas A&M Corpus Christi. In the 5-0 win over High Point on Sept. 8, she picked up her first assist of the month, while she added her second against Liberty on Sept. 20. Dennion capped her month with the game-winner in Elon’s 2-0 victory over Western Carolina to open league play on Sept. 26.
Other nominees: Samantha Childress (Appalachian State), Mariana Garcia (The Citadel), Becca Fisher (Davidson), India Robinson (Furman), Jennifer Wittick (Georgia Southern), Jamie Simmons (UNCG), Amanda Abbott (Samford), Crystal Mackezyk (Chattanooga), Kelly Pannell (Western Carolina) and Kimberly Cohn (Wofford).
Jamie DeRatt, Georgia Southern, Jr., OH
Georgia Southern outside hitter Jamie DeRatt averaged 3.73 kills per set in helping the Eagles to a 14-2 record to open the season. The junior from Wilson, N.C., reached double digits in kills 12 times in the month, notching at least 20 twice. DeRatt, a two-time SoCon Offensive Player of the Week in September (Sept. 2 and 30), notched career highs of 23 kills and 19 digs in a 3-1 win over Elon on Sept. 27 and had 20 kills and a .395 hitting percentage in a sweep of Charleston Southern on Sept. 21. DeRatt was named the MVP of the season-opening Jaguar Invitational after leading GSU to a 3-0 mark and capping her performance that weekend with 14 kills and 15 digs against tournament host South Alabama. DeRatt also earned a spot on the all-tournament team at Georgia Southern’s Bash in the Boro, which the Eagles won for their fourth tournament title of the season.
Other nominees: Lauren Gray (Appalachian State), Bailey Kernodle (The Citadel), Caroline Brown (Davidson), Kris Harris (Elon), Christina Dorismond (Furman), Katie Murphy (Samford), Jordan Timmermann (Western Carolina) and Amanda Liguori (Wofford).
Morgan Cochran, Western Carolina, Sr., L
Senior Western Carolina libero Morgan Cochran averaged 6.25 digs per set during the first month of the season, tops in the SoCon and good for second in NCAA Division I. Cochran had four of the SoCon’s seven 30-dig matches in the month, including notching 31 against North Carolina A&T and 30 against UNCW in consecutive contests on Sept. 14, leading her to earn SoCon Defensive Player of the Week honors. Cochran also had 30 against Memphis on Sept. 6 and a career-high 38 against Appalachian State on Sept. 26. She reached double figures in digs in all but one of the Catamounts’ first 16 matches of the season, with at least 20 in nine of them, in helping WCU to a 12-4 record.
Other nominees: Meghan Mahoney (Appalachian State), Lauren Hurt (The Citadel), Anastasia Owen (Davidson), Kris Harris (Elon), Elle Ross (Furman), Crysten Curry (Georgia Southern) Chelsi Carter (Samford) and Jessica Graham (Wofford).
Southern Conference September Athletes of the Month
Football – Offense Andy Summerlin, Samford
Football – Defense John Law, Appalachian State
Men’s Cross Country Luis Vargas, Elon
Women’s Cross Country Teghan Henderson, Chattanooga
Men’s Soccer Sven Lissek, Furman
Women’s Soccer Nicole Dennion, Elon
Volleyball – Offense Jamie DeRatt, Georgia Southern
Volleyball – Defense Morgan Cochran, Western Carolina