ATLANTA, Ga. - A trio of FGCU recipients highlighted the ASUN Conference Women's Soccer Postseason Awards, announced Thursday night at the league's virtual banquet. The Eagles' Evdokia Popadinova was named Player of the Year, while teammate Lindsey Patton earned Defensive Player of the Year honors and Head Coach Jim Blankenship was voted Coach of the Year. Liberty's Melody Jayroe earned Goalkeeper of the Year status and Becky Contreras of Kennesaw State took home the Freshman of the Year award.
Popadinova becomes the fifth FGCU student-athlete to be named Player of the Year in program history. The senior from Bulgaria recorded 10 goals this season, six of those against ASUN foes which was tied for the conference best. She has also added two assists for 22 total points after leading the Eagles to a share of the ASUN Regular Season title, its ninth all-time, and top seed in the upcoming ASUN Championship.
Patton earns her first career Defensive Player of the Year honor and fourth All-Conference selection after anchoring an FGCU defensive unit which registered a conference low GAA of 0.86 on the year and registered a 0.60 mark vs. league squads. The Eagles' defense allowed only 14 goals in 15 matches this season en route to claiming a share of the Regular Season title and No. 1 seed. The senior started all 16 games and took 10 shots on the year.
Jayroe earns Liberty's first superlative award as the junior was tabbed Goalkeeper of the Year. The native Texan was the last line of defense for a Liberty squad which did not allow a goal during regulation against ASUN opponents. In league matches, Jayroe produced a 0.25 GAA and led the conference with 93 total saves on the year. She was named the Sept. 16 Defensive Player of the Week while her .823 save percentage was third-best in the league.
Contreras, the first Freshman of the Year recipient in Kennesaw State history, has scored five goals from her midfield position while adding an assist for 11 points. She also started all 17 matches in her inaugural season for the Owls and added 59 shots. The Dacula, Ga., native's five goals led the KSU program while she finished second on the team in points.
Head Coach Jim Blankenship collects his fifth career Coach of the Year award after guiding his FGCU squad to a share of its ninth Regular Season title and the top seed in the upcoming ASUN Championship. The Eagles enter the tournament with an 11-4-1 overall record, 6-1-1 in the league, and are ranked No. 77 in the most recent NCAA RPI.
The First Round of the 2019 ASUN Women's Soccer Championship kicks off Nov. 1 with a pair of matches. No. 4 North Florida faces No. 5 Kennesaw State in Fort Myers, Fla., at 5 PM ET, followed by No. 3 Liberty battling No. 6 NJIT in Nashville at 6 PM CT. Both matches can be seen live on YouTube.
Player of the Year: Evdokia Popadinova, FGCU
Defensive Player of the Year: Lindsey Patton, FGCU
Goalkeeper of the Year: Melody Jayroe, Liberty
Freshman of the Year: Becky Contreras, Kennesaw State
Coach of the Year: Jim Blankenship, FGCU
ASUN First Team All-Conference
GK - Melody Jayroe, Liberty
D - Lindsey Patton, FGCU
D - Hollyn Knight, North Florida
D - Cora Duininck, Liberty
*MF - Thais Reiss, North Florida
MF - Marjorie Boilesen, FGCU
MF - Isabella Contreras, Kennesaw State
MF - Maycie McKay, Lipscomb
*F - Evdokia Popadinova, FGCU
F - Gabrielle Farrell, Liberty
F - Olivia Doak, Lipscomb
F - Shelby Wall, North Alabama
* - denotes unanimous selection to the first team
ASUN Second Team All-Conference
GK - Melissa Weck, FGCU
D - Zoey Spitzer, FGCU
D - Kelsey Hahn, Kennesaw State
D - Katia Hanger, Lipscomb
D - Siani Magruder, NJIT
MF - Leah Cernicky, Lipscomb
MF - Kate Wiseman, North Alabama
MF - Kendra Hoffman, North Florida
F - Becky Contreras, Kennesaw State
F - Erin Harris, Kennesaw State
F - Leah Ferlin, North Florida
ASUN All-Freshmen Team
*MF - Becky Contreras, Kennesaw State
*F - Olivia Abdallah, Jacksonville
*MF - Grace Spade, Liberty
*F - Molly Grant, Lipscomb
*D - Katia Hanger, Lipscomb
F - Louise Lillback, FGCU
MF - Hayley Dekker, Kennesaw State
MF - Camryn Simmons, Kennesaw State
GK - Molly Saylor, NJIT
MF - Devyn Encalada, North Florida
F - Maggie Struble, Stetson
* - denotes unanimous selection to the all-freshmen team
ABOUT THE ASUN
The ASUN Conference is an NCAA Division I league with nine member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The ASUN meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement through a true balance between student and athlete. Six ASUN schools reside in Nielsen Top 50 national media markets, and all nine are in top 80 markets. The ASUN includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Liberty University, Lipscomb University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of North Alabama, University of North Florida and Stetson University. Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., joins the ASUN for the 2020-21 academic year.
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