SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference announced its September athletes of the month for football, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer and volleyball Thursday, highlighting excellence among student-athletes during the month.
Tyrie Adams, Western Carolina, R-So., QB
Western Carolina quarterback Tyrie Adams accounted for 12 touchdowns for the Catamounts in September, throwing for 11 and running for one more. The redshirt sophomore from St. Petersburg, Florida, went 74-for-122 for 1,205 yards through the air, highlighted by a 312-yard effort in a win over No. 17 Samford on Sept. 23 that handed WCU its first win over a ranked FCS opponent since 2006. Adams, who threw for a touchdown in that game, also ran for a career-high 152 yards and a score in the upset. That effort was his second 100-yard rushing performance of the month, as he also ran for 107 against FBS Hawai'i to open the season on Sept. 2. Adams tossed five touchdown passes in a 63-17 over Davidson a week later and threw for 125 yards and ran for 44 in the Catamounts' 45-7 win over Chattanooga on Sept. 30, as Western Carolina beat the Mocs on the road for the first time since 2005. A two-time SoCon offensive player of the week in September, Adams helped the Catamounts, now No. 22 in the STATS FCS Top 25, jump into the national rankings for the first time since 2006.
Others nominated: Austin Herink (ETSU), P.J. Blazejowski (Furman), CJ Leggett (Mercer), Devlin Hodges (Samford), Bingo Morton (Chattanooga) and Blake Morgan (Wofford).
Marvin Tillman, Western Carolina, Jr., DB
Western Carolina defensive back Marvin Tillman helped the Catamounts to a 4-1 record in September, with their lone loss coming at FBS Hawai'i to open the season. Tillman recorded a team-best 45 tackles, an average of 9.0 per game, including 28 solo stops, a league high for the month. He had a season-best 14 tackles in Western Carolina's 38-34 upset of No. 17 Samford on Sept. 23 and opened the year with 12 tackles and a pass breakup against the Rainbow Warriors. The junior from Durham, North Carolina, came up with two takeaways, returning an interception 12 yards against Hawai'i before adding a 29-yard pick in a win at Gardner-Webb on Sept. 16. Tillman also recorded his first tackle for loss of the season against the Runnin' Bulldogs and added another one in the Catamounts' win over Samford the following week. Tillman had a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup against Davidson on Sept. 9 and had a QB hurry and six stops against Chattanooga to close out September. With Tillman helping Western Carolina to its best seasonal start since 1974, the Catamounts debuted at No. 22 in the STATS FCS Top 25 this week.
Others nominated: Myles Pierce (The Citadel), Dylan Weigel (ETSU), LeMarkus Bailey (Mercer), Ahmad Gooden (Samford), Lucas Webb (Chattanooga), and Devin Watson (Wofford).
MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Aaron Templeton, Furman, Jr.
Furman's Aaron Templeton, a junior, finished all three of his September races in the top 10 for the Paladins, claiming one individual title. Templeton started the 2017 season with a first-place finish at the Eye Opener Invitational, held at the Milliken Research Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina, stopping the clock at 25:04.3 to help the Paladins claim the team title, as well. The Knoxville, Tennessee, native then placed fourth with a time of 24:00.50 at the 5th Annual Furman Classic. Templeton and the host Paladins cruised to a first-place finish, with seven runners finishing in the top 10. Templeton rounded out the month with a seventh-place finish at the 16th Annual Louisville Sports Commission Cross Country Classic as Furman placed second out of 30 teams, with six teams ranked inside the USTFCCCA top 25. Templeton was named the SoCon runner of the week following the first week of competition.
WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Allie Buchalski, Furman, Sr.
Furman senior Allie Buchalski finished all three races in the month of September in the top five, winning two individual titles. In her first race of the year, Buchalski claimed first place at the Eye Opener Invitational with a time of 17:27.1 as the Paladins women's team claimed first place. The 5k race, hosted by USC Upstate, was held at the Milliken Research Center, the site of the 2017 SoCon Cross Country Championships. The Johns Creek, Georgia, native then helped Furman to another first-place finish at the 5th Annual Furman Classic. Buchalski won her second consecutive individual title with a time of 20:30.42 on the 6k course. Buchalski rounded out the month with a third-place finish at the 16th Annual Louisville Sports Commission Cross Country Classic at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park, the site of this year's NCAA Cross Country Championships. As a team, Furman finished third out of a field out of 32 teams, with six teams ranked inside the USTFCCCA top 25. Buchalski was one of two Furman runners to place in the top 10, clocking a time of 16:42.19 in the 5k. The senior was named SoCon runner of the week twice in September.
Jon Milligan, UNCG, Jr., GK
UNCG goalkeeper Jon Milligan posted five straight shutouts to end the month of September, helping the Spartans to a 4-3-1 record during the month. Milligan, a junior from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, was named the SoCon player of the week twice for his efforts during the month, first after a pair of 1-0 victories over Appalachian State and Campbell. Milligan then held ETSU scoreless in a 0-0 tie and led the Spartans to a 2-0 win over No. 18 Furman. Milligan posted a season-high seven saves against No. 4 North Carolina on Sept. 4 and boasted a SoCon-best 0.60 goals against average in September.
Others nominated: Bruno Andrade (ETSU), Laurence Wyke (Furman) and Will Bagrou (Mercer).
Anna Maddox, Samford, Sr., GK
Samford goalkeeper Anna Maddox went 7-0-1 during the month of September, recording six shutouts and posting a goals against average of 0.24. Samford, which has not lost a game since Sept. 3, ended the month on a seven-game unbeaten streak that started with a 1-1 draw against Georgia on Sept. 8 in which Maddox had six saves. The Bulldogs then reeled off six wins in a row, as Maddox went 632 minutes without allowing a goal. The senior from Warner Robins, Georgia, was named SoCon player of the week on Sept. 19 after a pair of 1-0 shutouts at UC Davis and Saint Mary's. Against Western Carolina on Sept. 22, Maddox earned an assist on her goal kick that set up Jermaine Seoposenwe's game-winning goal in double overtime for the 1-0 win.
Others nominated: Molly Dwyer (Furman), Emily Jensen (UNCG), Ally Fordham (Mercer) and Hayley Younginer (Wofford).
Jamila Johnson, Furman, Jr., OH
Furman's Jamila Johnson helped guide the Paladins to an 8-5 record in the month of September, including a 3-0 start in Southern Conference play. The junior racked up 205 kills in 48 sets, including a career-high 28 kills in a five-set loss at Tennessee on Sept. 16. Named to three all-tournament teams in September, Johnson recorded double-digit kills in all 13 matches and averaged 4.27 kills per set. Johnson ranks second in the conference with 4.22 kills per set and third with 270 kills. Defensively, the Greenville, South Carolina, native recorded 144 digs and 11 total blocks, averaging 3.00 digs per set.
Others nominated: Moriah Smith (The Citadel), Paige Alsten (Mercer), Ashley Muench (UNCG), Taylor Anderton (Samford), Ally Ford (Chattanooga), Abigail Veit (Western Carolina) and Catie Cronister (Wofford).
Megan Kaufman, Chattanooga, Fr., L/DS
Chattanooga's Megan Kaufman finished the month of September with 290 digs, averaging 5.80 digs per set in 50 total sets played. The freshman recorded double-digit digs in all 14 games and her 42 digs against Western Carolina are tied for the third-most in the NCAA for a five-set match this year. Kaufman, who was named to the Scenic City Showdown all-tournament team, currently ranks seventh in digs pet set (6.02) and seventh in total digs (379) in all of Division I. Offensively, the Liberty Township, Ohio, native chipped in 30 assists and 10 service aces. Kaufman leads the conference in digs and has been selected the SoCon defensive player of the week twice this season.
Others nominated: Caricia Rodriguez (The Citadel), Braedyn Tutton (ETSU), Meg DeMaar (Furman), Christina Gregory (UNCG), Grace Tiesman (Samford), Katie O'Connor (Western Carolina) and Taylor Gill (Wofford).
Southern Conference September Athletes of the Month
Football – offense Tyrie Adams, Western Carolina
Football – defense Marvin Tillman, Western Carolina
Men's cross country Aaron Templeton, Furman
Women's cross country Allie Buchalski, Furman
Men's soccer Jon Milligan, UNCG
Women's soccer Anna Maddox, Samford
Volleyball – offense Jamila Johnson, Furman
Volleyball – defense Megan Kaufman, Chattanooga