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SoCon announces April athletes of the month
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 05/03/2019
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UNCG's Bryce Hendrix
Courtesy: Southern Conference
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference announced its April athletes of the month for baseball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, softball and men’s and women’s tennis Friday, highlighting excellence among student-athletes during the month.


BASEBALL

PLAYER
Brooks Carlson, Samford, So., DH
Sophomore Brooks Carlson hit .400 in April, going 30-for-75 with 11 walks, seven doubles, a triple and three home runs over the Bulldogs’ 19 games in April. He had nine multi-hit games, including six with at least three hits, during the month and had at least two RBIs in five of the contests. At Troy on April 16, he went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and four RBIs. He was 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs against UT Martin on April 5 and went 3-for-4 with three RBIs against Wofford on April 28. The Mobile, Alabama, native currently leads the league in hits (68).

Others nominated: Jackson Greer (ETSU), Tyler Corbitt (The Citadel), Kyle Dockus (Mercer), Zach Kuchmaner (UNCG), Matthew Koehler (Western Carolina), Hudson Byorick (Wofford) and Ryan Smoot (VMI).

PITCHER
Zach Hester, Samford, Jr., RHP
Samford junior Zach Hester posted a 3-1 record in April, fashioning a 0.67 ERA over 27 innings of work and allowing just two runs and four walks while striking out 24. After opening the month with a tough-luck loss to UT Martin in which he struck out seven and surrendered just one run on five hits in seven innings, Hester picked up wins over league foes The Citadel, UNCG and Wofford. Against the Bulldogs, the Vidor, Texas, native allowed just two hits and three walks in six innings, striking out six. He followed that with another scoreless outing, again allowing just two hits and striking out seven in seven innings against UNCG. Hester closed his month with another quality start against the Terriers, allowing one run on two hits and a walk in seven innings, striking out four.

Others nominated: Micah Kaczor (ETSU), Tanner Hall (Mercer), Chad Sykes (UNCG), Zak Kent (VMI) and Hayes Heinecke (Wofford).


MEN’S GOLF

Bryce Hendrix, UNCG, Sr.
UNCG senior Bryce Hendrix turned in a pair of top-10 finishes and helped the Spartans to two team wins in April. The Greenville, North Carolina, native had a record-setting win at the Irish Creek Intercollegiate, shooting rounds of 5-under-par 66, 6-under 65 and 9-under 62 to finish at 20-under 193 and set school records for 18-hole score, 54-hole score, birdies (21) and score against par. He earned his first collegiate win by 11 strokes and was named the SoCon Golfer of the Week for that effort. Hendrix turned in another top-10 finish at the SoCon Men’s Golf Championship at Pinehurst No. 9, tying for sixth with a 4-over 220 in helping the Spartans to their second straight league title. Hendrix and the rest of the UNCG squad will participate in the NCAA Stanford Regional from May 13-15.

Others nominated: Shiso Go (ETSU), Stanton Schorr (Mercer), Oliver Simonsen (Chattanooga), Tumi Kúld (Western Carolina) and Ryan Marter (Wofford).


WOMEN’S GOLF

Monica San Juan, Sr., Chattanooga
Chattanooga senior Monica San Juan had a standout month of April, finishing tied for 17th at the Brickyard Collegiate and then winning the Southern Conference Championship. The Pamplona, Spain, native shot a 3-over 147 at the Brickyard Collegiate. At the SoCon Championship, she set the league record at Moss Creek Golf Club, going 1-under-par 215 (71-70-74), beating out three top-100 ranked collegiate players. Her performance at the championship earned her a berth in the NCAA Regionals, making her the first Moc since 2016 to advance to NCAA Regional play. For the month, she averaged 72.4 strokes per round over five cards.

Others nominated: Haylee Harford (Furman), Karina Kukkonen (Mercer), Lexie Kershaw (UNCG) and Becca Earl (Wofford).


MEN’S LACROSSE

OFFENSE
Asher Nolting, High Point, So., A
High Point’s Asher Nolting scored 28 points in April, netting 15 goals and assisting on 13 others as the Panthers went 4-0 and locked up a share of the SoCon regular-season title. The sophomore from Greenwood Village, Colorado, who was recently named the SoCon Offensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, scored at least three goals in each game, including a five-goal output in a win at Mercer to match his career high. Nolting had three goals and a program-record six assists in a win over Air Force to open the month, matching the program record for points in a game and earning SoCon Player of the Week honors. Nolting had seven points each in wins over Bellarmine and Richmond to close the month, scoring the last of his four goals against the Spiders with 6.4 seconds left to break a 14-all tie and give the Panthers a share of the regular-season title and earning player of the week honors again. Nolting became the league’s first 40-goal, 40-assist man during the month and currently has a league-record 87 points to his credit this season on 43 goals and 44 assists.

Others nominated: Trent Harper (Air Force), Ian Miller (Bellarmine), Jarrett Birch (Furman), Evan Tyler (Jacksonville), Sean Goldsmith (Mercer) and Ryan Lanchbury (Richmond).

DEFENSE
Ashton Wood, Mercer, Fr., FO
Mercer faceoff specialist Ashton Wood averaged 14.5 ground balls per game in April, also going 96-for-124 (.774) in faceoffs in the month. The freshman from St. Augustine opened his month with a SoCon-record 19 ground balls at Furman on April 6, also going 29-for-33 in faceoffs to set a league record for faceoff wins and earn SoCon Defensive Player of the Week honors. After notching seven ground balls in a one-goal loss to No. 13 High Point on April 13, Wood had 18 ground balls, tied for the second-most in SoCon history, at Richmond the following week, earning his second weekly nod of the month and third of the season. Wood closed his month and his rookie campaign with 14 ground balls and a caused turnover against Jacksonville. For the month, Wood won at least 22 faceoffs in all four games, all of which are in the top five in league history, and scored four points on the offensive end, notching one goal and three assists.

Others nominated: Brandon Jones (Air Force), Josh Wehn (Bellarmine), Alec Van de Bovenkamp (Furman), Tim Troutner Jr. (High Point), Zack Deaken (Jacksonville) and Sean Menges (Richmond).


WOMEN’S LACROSSE

OFFENSE
Abby Shields, Furman, Sr., A
Junior Abby Shields had a standout month of April, helping the Paladins go 6-1 overall and 4-1 in conference play and earn a share of the SoCon regular-season title. She totaled 16 goals and 17 assists for the month, recording at least two goals in six of the Paladins’ seven games and at least three points in all seven. Shields had a pair of seven-point outings, notching two goals and five assists in a win over Howard and five goals and two assists in a win over Wofford. The Vero Beach, Florida, native recorded 10 groundballs and a .611 shot on goal percentage for the month. She is currently Furman’s record holder in goals scored.

Others nominated: Lexie Kinmond (Detroit Mercy), Hailey Rhatigan (Mercer) and Ally Furnari (Wofford).

DEFENSE
Allison McDonough, Detroit Mercy, Sr., GK
Senior goalkeeper Allison McDonough led the Titans to a 5-2 overall mark and a perfect 4-0 Southern Conference record in April to help them earn a share of the regular-season title. She recorded a .500 save percentage and a 9.32 goals against average, notching double-digit saves twice. She turned away 46 shots in seven games, including 11 against Coastal Carolina and 10 in a title-clinching win over Central Michigan, and broke the school record in ground balls (210), becoming the first player in school history to go over 200 career ground balls. McDonough ranks first in the conference in ground balls per game (3.17).

Others nominated: Audrey Robertson (Mercer) and Alexandra Foulke (Wofford).


MEN’S OUTDOOR TRACK AND FIELD

TRACK
Josiah Johnson, The Citadel, Sr.
The Citadel’s Josiah Johnson earned four podium finishes at the SoCon Outdoor Track and Field Championships, winning the 100-meter dash and the 4x100-meter relay and finishing second in the 200-meter dash and third in the 4x400-meter relay. Johnson, who ran 10.32 in the prelims, won the 100-meter in 10.50 seconds. The senior from Ladson, South Carolina, set a school record with his time of 21.08 in the 200-meter final. Johnson ran the second leg on The Citadel’s 4x100 relay, which ran 40.71 to break an 18-year-old school record and defend its event title from 2018, and led off the 4x400 relay, which turned in the sixth-fastest time in school history (3:16.34). Earlier in the month, Johnson won the 100-meter dash at the Bill Carson Invitational and finished fourth in the event at the USC Open and 10th at the Gamecock Invitational.

FIELD
Ben Johnson, ETSU, R-Sr.
ETSU’s Ben Johnson repeated as SoCon Track Athlete of the Month after an April that saw him earn Most Outstanding Athlete and Most Outstanding Field Performer honors after the SoCon Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The redshirt senior from Nashville, Tennessee, was the high scorer of the meet, earning wins in the hammer throw, discus and javelin and finishing second in the shot put by just 0.01 meter. His throw of 54.53 meters in the discus surpassed the previous meet record by more than two meters and was a new school record, as was his mark in the shot put. Johnson participated in two meets on the weekend of April 12-13, throwing the javelin and the hammer at the Tennessee Relays on April 12 before heading to the Catamount Relays for the following day’s action. There, he earned three podium finishes, winning the hammer and discus with conference-leading throws and finishing second in the shot put to earn SoCon weekly honors.


WOMEN’S OUTDOOR TRACK AND FIELD

TRACK
Hannah Steelman, Wofford, So.
Wofford’s Hannah Steelman was named the SoCon Championship’s Most Outstanding Track Performer after notching three podium finishes at the conference meet, defending her title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing second in the 5,000-meter run and taking third in the 1,500-meter run. Her time of 10:00.79 in the steeple lowered the SoCon Championship meet record by nearly seven seconds. Earlier in the month, the sophomore from Orono, Maine, set a school record in the steeplechase at the University of North Florida Invitational with a time of 9:52.71, which ranks fourth on the NCAA Division I performance list, earning SoCon Track Athlete of the Week honors. Steelman earned weekly honors again the following week after setting a school record in the 5,000-meter run at the Gamecock Invitational, winning in 15:52.68.

FIELD
Maggie Johnston, Samford, Jr.
Samford’s Maggie Johnston earned Most Outstanding Athlete and Most Outstanding Field Performer accolades after the SoCon Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The junior from Macon, Georgia, won the shot put and the discus at the conference meet, claiming the discus for the third straight season and adding more than three meters to her own meet record with a throw of 51.40 meters. She also took second in the hammer throw at the SoCon meet. At the Auburn Tiger Track Classic earlier in the month, Johnston finished second in the discus, fourth in the shot put and 10th in the hammer, earning SoCon Field Athlete of the Week honors. At the Bulldogs’ own Alabama Track Challenge, she finished second in the discus and hammer and fourth in the shot put.


SOFTBALL

PLAYER
Whitney Hinton, Samford, Jr., 2B
Samford second baseman Whitney Hinton hit .375 on the month and reached base safely in eight of 10 contests as the Bulldogs went 6-4 overall and 6-2 in SoCon play in April. The junior had four multi-hit and four multi-RBI games, totaling 12 hits, 12 runs and 14 RBIs in the span. She hit seven home runs and drew seven walks. In a series win at Western Carolina, Hinton was 4-for-12 with two home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored. The native of Theodore, Alabama, went 3-for-4 in the series opener against ETSU, hitting two home runs and driving in four. She was 2-for-2 with another homer and four RBIs in the second game of the day against the Bucs. She drew four walks in the series finale as the Bulldogs completed the three-game sweep. Hinton added a pair of hits, a pair of RBIs and a run scored in two games against Mercer and concluded the month going 1-for-3, hitting another homer, and drawing a walk against UAB.

Others nominated: Danielle Castleberry (Mercer), Delaney Cumbie (UNCG), Aly Walker (Chattanooga) and Hunter Gibbons (Western Carolina).

PITCHER
Celie Hudson, Chattanooga, Jr., RHP
Chattanooga junior Celie Hudson went 5-0 on the month and tallied a 0.76 ERA in 37 innings pitched. She allowed just four earned runs and walked just nine, while striking out 28 in the span. Hudson threw four complete games and finished the month with three consecutive shutouts. In the three shutouts, two against Western Carolina and one against ETSU, she pitched 20 innings and combined to allow just 10 hits while striking out 13. The native of Paris, Tennessee, also recorded a save against Western Carolina, inheriting the go-ahead runs in scoring position but working out of the jam to preserve the 6-5 win. She was the SoCon Pitcher of the Week on April 22 and April 29.

Others nominated: Stephanie Bryden (UNCG) and Taylor DeCelles (Samford).


MEN’S TENNIS

Olivier Stuart, Mercer, Jr.
Mercer junior Olivier Stuart went 6-0 in singles play and won five of six doubles matches at the top spot in the month of April. All of his singles matches were straight-set victories, and his lone doubles defeat was a 3-4 nonconference setback against Georgia Southern. The native of Bussy Saint Georges, France, picked up a 6-1, 6-0 win over ETSU’s top player, Frazier Rengifo, a five-time SoCon Player of the Week. Rengifo entered the match 12-1 on the season and 5-0 in conference play before Stuart handed him his first league loss. Stuart’s 6-2, 6-1 win over Chattanooga’s Niklas Gerdes in the SoCon quarterfinals helped No. 6 seed Mercer to a 4-1 win over No. 3 seed Chattanooga. Stuart was up 6-4, 4-3 against Furman’s Ivan Mitric in the semifinals when the Paladins clinched the match and ended the Bears’ season. He was named SoCon Player of the Week April 9 and April 15 before being voted the SoCon Player of the Year by the league’s coaches.

Others nominated: Jake Bhangdia (Furman), Miguel Este (ETSU) and Roger Rogowski (UNCG).


WOMEN’S TENNIS

Katty Weymouth, Furman, Sr.
Furman senior Katty Weymouth was 5-0 at No. 2 singles and 6-0 at No. 2 doubles in the month. She concluded the regular season with singles wins over Samford, Chattanooga and ETSU, clinching the winning point in the match against the Bucs. Furman earned the No. 1 seed in the Southern Conference Championship, downing Chattanooga and Samford, 4-0, in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, before taking down ETSU 4-2 in the championship match as the Paladins won their third consecutive and 19th overall title. In the SoCon Championship, the native of London, England, won 6-2, 6-1 against Chattanooga’s Polina Goloputova and her match against Samford’s Elsa Pool went unfinished. In the championship match, she defeated ETSU’s Alejandra Morales 7-6 (9-7), 7-5, to break a 2-2 tie and put Furman in front before teammate Carol Elizabeth Kerman won at No. 5 to clinch the match. The Paladins are 26-1 and are riding a 23-match win-streak entering their NCAA contest against No. 20 Tennessee on Saturday, May 4, at 1 p.m.

Others nominated: Raquel Amaro (ETSU), Celine Schepers (Mercer), Nancy Bridges (UNCG) and Jenna Vroman (Wofford).

Southern Conference April Athletes of the Month
Baseball – player                                         Brooks Carlson, Samford
Baseball – pitcher                                        Zach Hester, Samford
Men’s golf                                                    Bryce Hendrix, UNCG
Women’s golf                                               Monica San Juan, Chattanooga
Men’s lacrosse – offense                             Asher Nolting, High Point
Men’s lacrosse – defense                            Ashton Wood, Mercer
Women’s lacrosse – offense                       Abby Shields, Furman
Women’s lacrosse – defense                      Allison McDonough, Detroit Mercy
Men’s outdoor track and field – track          Josiah Johnson, The Citadel
Men’s outdoor track and field – field            Ben Johnson, ETSU
Women’s outdoor track and field – track     Hannah Steelman, Wofford
Women’s outdoor track and field – field      Maggie Johnston, Samford
Softball – player                                          Whitney Hinton, Samford
Softball – pitcher                                         Celie Hudson, Chattanooga
Men’s tennis                                                Olivier Stuart, Mercer
Women’s tennis                                           Katty Weymouth, Furman

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