Oct. 29, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -Tennessee sophomore forward Hannah Wilkinson and senior defender Ali Hall have been tabbed for 2012 Southeastern Conference women's soccer awards, as announced by the conference office on Monday.
Wilkinson received first team All-SEC honors in her debut season with Tennessee (14-4-2, 9-3-1 SEC) and Hall garnered second team All-SEC accolades. Wilkinson and Hall become the 22nd and 23rd Lady Vols to receive All-SEC recognition (first or second team) in program history. Wilkinson is also the 14th UT player to be named first team All-SEC. Tennessee has 39 all-time first or second team All-SEC selections.
"Both Hannah and Ali are very well-deserving of this recognition," Tennessee head coach Brian Pensky said. "They've both had terrific seasons, and we are of course extremely happy for them. Hannah's goal scoring has proven vital to our team's season; and Ali's leadership and determination in the back has been instrumental in our team giving up just 13 goals in 20 games. And I'll tell you what - in addition to these two, we have a number of players who our coaching staff feels are worthy of SEC recognition, as we've had so many huge contributions from different people this fall."
Florida players Erika Tymrak and Holly King took Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively. Gators coach Becky Burleigh won Coach of the Year. Alabama's Merel van Dongen won Freshman of the year. Ole Miss' Rafaelle Souza and Missouri's Allison Hu were named Co-Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
Wilkinson enjoyed a terrific regular season, leading the SEC with eight goals and 17 points in conference play. Wilkinson joined the team five matches into the season. She had a busy summer, representing her home country of New Zealand in the 2012 London Olympics and the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan. Despite her late arrival, Wilkinson leads Tennessee in goals (eight), points (17), shots (48), shot percentage (.167) and match-winners (four). The Whangarei, New Zealand, native had a dominant weekend at Texas A&M (Oct. 19) and Ole Miss (Oct. 21), scoring the match-winners for Tennessee in both contests. For her heroics against the Aggies and the Rebels, she received the SEC Offensive Player of the Week, Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week, Soccer America Team of the Week and TSWA Women's Soccer Player of the Week accolades.
Hall has been the anchor of what is arguably one of the best defensive units in Tennessee soccer history. The senior center back has played the full match in 15 of UT's 20 contests, including the last nine, and has been the central figure in neutralizing the best scorer on opposing teams. Hall's physicality and defensive prowess on the back line have made Tennessee's defense one of the best in the nation. UT's season goals-against average of 0.63 ranks among the lowest in the country and second-best in the SEC. The Lady Vols have allowed just 13 goals the season and have a chance to beat the program record of 18 set back in 2003 and tied in 2004. Earlier this season, Hall and the UT defense set a new program mark for longest shutout streak, holding opponents without a goal for 533:22, a stretch that ran from Aug. 19 to Sept. 9 and included parts of six games. Hall was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 8 after playing the full 180 minutes of Tennessee's shutout road wins over 2011 SEC regular season champ South Carolina and defending SEC Tournament champ Auburn.
Third-seed Tennessee heads to Orange Beach, Ala., on Tuesday to prepare for its Wednesday afternoon match against sixth-seeded Auburn (11-9-0, 7-6-0 SEC). The match will be streamed live online at SECDigitalNetwork.com at 3:30 p.m. ET. The winner of that match plays the winner of Texas A&M vs. South Carolina or Arkansas on Friday at 5 p.m. ET and that contest will be broadcasted on ESPN3. The SEC Championship is on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.