GULFPORT, Miss. - Faulkner's Jessica Monarch has been named the Southern States Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. The announcement was made at the league's annual soccer banquet at the Gulfport Yacht Club Wednesday evening.
The senior defender out of Orlando, Fla., anchored a Faulkner back line that became virtually impenetrable in the closing events of the season. The Lady Eagles allowed only four shots on goal in their final two regular season conference battles that proved the deciding factors in earning a shot at the post season.
Faulkner took on cross-town and conference rival Auburn Montgomery in the opening round of the league tournament at AUM's soccer complex on Saturday and secured the 2-1 win to punch its ticket to the semifinals here in Gulfport. Monarch scored the first goal of that showdown with a penalty kick in the 25th minute.
Monarch was a two-time conference defensive Player of the Week selection this season. Her powerful leg and accuracy make her a go-to candidate on free kicks and penalty strikes and she leads the team with nine goals. Monarch is also a team captain.
In addition to her Player of the Year award, Monarch was selected to the all-conference team and was an all-academic selection along with seven of her teammates.
Sophomore goalkeeper Caitlin Sebert was voted second team all-conference and Kayla Ernst was named to the all-freshman team.
Fellow academic award winners were Sebert, Jennifer Parrott, Lecia Foster, Lisa Gallea, Melanie Stewart, Cassie Wilcox and Mackensie Jordan.
The Lady Eagles take on No. 2 Lee in an SSAC semifinal matchup Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m.