SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Mercer forward Nicole Icen has been named the Southern Conference Player of the Year. For the fifth straight year, a Samford defender has been named defensive player of the year, as Taylore Miller earned the honor in 2019. Mercer head coach Tony Economopoulos was named SoCon Coach of the Year after the Bears compiled an 7-2-0 conference record. Furman’s Jasmine Greene was tabbed freshman of the year.
The league coaches voted on a pair of all-conference teams, an all-freshman team and the four individual awards. They were not allowed to vote for themselves or their own players. The first and second teams include 11 players, voted on by position, while the all-freshman team also consists of 11 players but gives no regard to position.
Samford leads the way with six players on the all-conference teams, with Furman and Mercer closely behind with five and four, respectively. UNC Greensboro totaled three all-conference selections, while The Citadel, ETSU, Chattanooga and Western Carolina each had one all-conference selection.
Icen finished the regular season as the SoCon leader in points (23) and points per game (1.28) and tied for the conference lead in goals (10), and goals per game (0.56). The freshman from Marietta, Georgia, was named the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 3 after netting a hat trick in the Bears’ 6-1 win over Davidson. She is the first freshman to earn SoCon Player of the Year honors since Furman’s Stephanie DeVita in 2012.
Miller anchored the backline for Samford, leading the Bulldogs to a conference-best 10 shutouts so far this season, six of which came in conference play. The junior from Orlando, Florida, has played in all 19 games for the Bulldogs, starting 17, and helped Samford to a share of the SoCon regular-season title, marking the sixth consecutive season Samford has earned at least a share of the regular-season title.
Greene made a big impact in the Furman lineup, starting all 19 games for the Paladins and netting five goals for the squad that is 13-5-1 entering the SoCon semifinals. Her eight assists lead the Paladins and are third-most in the conference. The Hoover, Alabama, native is the SoCon-leading ninth freshman of the year for the Paladins but the first since 2013 when Carlie Couch was honored.
Economopoulos, who is in his eighth season as the leader of the Bears, was named Southern Conference Coach of the Year for the first time in his career. He’s also the first coach from Mercer, who joined the league in 2014, to be awarded the honor. Mercer was the lone team to beat regular-season co-champions Samford and Furman, handing each team its only loss in conference play.
Samford forward Taylor Yount, midfielder Alyssa Frazier, defender Lexi Orman and goalkeeper Morgan McAslan join Miller on the all-conference first team. Yount, a freshman, finished the regular season tied with Icen for the league lead in goals (10) and goals per game (0.56) and was second in points (22) and points per game (1.22). She was the SoCon Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 17 and was named the Offensive Player of the Month in September. Frazier’s nine assists lead the Bulldogs and rank second in the conference heading in to the semifinals. Orman started all 19 games and helped anchor the pesky Samford defense, providing support for McAslan, who led the league with 10 shutouts, including six solo shutouts. The sophomore has tallied 82 saves, 4.32 per contest. Forward Caroline Orman was the Bulldogs’ lone selection named to the second team.
Greene was honored as a first-team forward for Furman, while teammate Isabella Gutierrez was a first-team selection at midfield. The sophomore’s 16 points on the season are second on the Paladins’ squad. Forward Kyndal Anderson, defender Erin O’Hearn and goalkeeper Kellsey Weaver were named to the second team.
Icen was joined on the first team by teammate Abigail Zoeller, a midfielder. Zoeller’s 11 assists are a league best, while she also finished the regular season third in points (18) and points per game (1.06). Bears midfielder Ciara Whitely and defender Megan Delmonico were second-team selections.
UNCG’s Cienna Rideout, the 2018 SoCon Player of the Year, was named a first-team all-conference selection. The senior’s six goals led the Spartans, while her five assists tied for the team high. Midfielder Kaley Tucker and defender Kayla Campbell were second-team selections for UNCG.
ETSU defender Elena Pisani was ETSU’s lone selection, claiming a spot on the first team. The Citadel forward Suzuka Yosue was named to the second team, becoming the first Bulldog named to an all-conference team since Vanessa Aponte was a second-team selection in 2014. Midfielder Hollie Massey was a second-team all-conference selection for Chattanooga, while midfielder Julia Winter was named to the second team for Western Carolina.
Mercer and Samford each placed three student-athletes on the all-freshman team. Furman added a pair, while The Citadel, UNCG and Chattanooga each placed one.
No. 1 Samford, No. 2 Furman, No. 3 UNCG and No. 4 Mercer have advanced to the semifinals of the Southern Conference Women’s Soccer Championship, held at UNCG’s Soccer Stadium on the campus of UNC Greensboro. The matches, set for 4 and 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, will air on ESPN+. The championship match, set for Sunday, Nov. 10, at 2 p.m., will also air on ESPN+.
2019 Women’s Soccer All-Conference Team
Player of the Year – Nicole Icen, Fr., F, Mercer
Defensive Player of the Year – Taylore Miller, Jr., D, Samford
Coach of the Year – Tony Economopoulos, Mercer
Freshman of the Year – Jasmine Greene, F, Furman
F – Jasmine Greene, Furman
F – Nicole Icen, Mercer
F – Cienna Rideout, UNCG
F – Taylor Yount, Samford
M – Isabella Gutierrez, Furman
M – Abigail Zoeller, Mercer
M – Alyssa Frazier, Samford
D – Elena Pisani, ETSU
D – Lexi Orman, Samford
D – Taylore Miller, Samford
GK – Morgan McAslan, Samford
F – Suzuka Yosue, The Citadel
F – Kyndal Anderson, Furman
F – Caroline Orman, Samford
M – Ciara Whitely, Mercer
M – Kaley Tucker, UNCG
M – Hollie Massey, Chattanooga
M – Julia Winter, Western Carolina
D – Erin O’Hearn, Furman
D – Megan Delmonico, Mercer
D – Kayla Campbell, UNCG
GK – Kellsey Weaver, Furman
Suzuka Yosue, The Citadel
Kyndal Anderson, Furman
Jasmine Greene, Furman
Amaya Evans, Mercer
Nicole Icen, Mercer
Ciara Whitely, Mercer
Gabi Santora, UNCG
Nikki Bario, Samford
Kyla Reynolds, Samford
Taylor Yount, Samford
Mackenzie Smith, Chattanooga