The Southern Athletic Association (SAA) released its 2016 all-conference teams on Tuesday afternoon, with the 14th-ranked Centre women’s soccer team garnering 11 all-league accolades highlighted by senior forward Destinie Graves (Lexington, Ky.) repeating as Offensive Player of the Year and Jay Hoffman garnering Coach of the Year honors.

Graves collects her second straight SAA Offensive Player of the Year award after leading the conference in points (56), goals (23), assists (10) and game-winning goals (7). She ranks fifth in Division III in goals and sixth in points.

She has posted five multi-goal matches on the year, highlighted by a career-high four-goal performance in the Colonels’ 7-0 win over Millsaps on Oct. 9.

The NSCAA First Team All-American recorded a goal in 15 matches this year.

Hoffman led Centre its fifth consecutive SAA Tournament crown, helping the Colonels earn their sixth straight NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament appearance and seventh trip overall.

Hoffman and the Colonels have now won nine of a possible 10 SAA championships after capturing both the tournament and regular season titles this year for the second straight season.

Rhodes’ Ellie Valega was named the SAA Defensive Player of the Year while Hagan Griffith of Hendrix earned SAA Newcomer of the Year honors.

Joining Graves on the All-SAA First Team were senior defender Tori Dillard (Bowling Green, Ky.) and freshman midfielder Meghan Paynter (Danville, Ky.).

Senior goalkeeper Olivia Alford (Louisville, Ky.) and freshman defender Jessie Turner (Versailles, Ky.) earned Second Team All-SAA recognition, while junior defender Mackenzie Kern (Cincinnati, Ohio), senior defender Shannon Murray (Harrodsburg, Ky.), sophomore midfielder Maddy Coleman (Georgetown, Ky.) and senior midfielder Katie Downing (Dayton, Ohio) each collected Honorable Mention All-SAA accolades.

Dillard earns a spot on the First Team for the third straight season, leading a defense that has allowed just 10 goals on the season, including just four goals during the Colonels’ current 10-match winning streak. The Bowling Green, Ky. native has four points on the season with a goal and a pair of assists.
Paynter picks up her first All-SAA nod in her debut season, starting 20 of 21 matches and tallying three goals and three assists on the year, including game-winning goals in a pair of 1-0 wins over Bridgewater (Va.) and Hendrix.

Alford is now a three-time All-SAA performer, earning Second Team accolades for the second consecutive year. She has helped the Colonels record 14 shutouts on the season, posting a goals against average of 0.50, good for second in the league. She has 76 saves on the season and has recorded a save percentage of .884, also a figure good for second in the SAA. Alford ranks 20th in the nation in goalie minutes played with 1799:25.

Turner earns her first All-SAA award as a freshman, starting 20 matches and playing a key role in the Centre back line along with Kern and Murray which allowed just 10 goals in 21 matches this season. Kern collects her first All-SAA honor while Murray repeats as an all-conference performer. Kern and Murray each dished out a pair of assists on the season for the Colonels.

Downing is now a two-time All-SAA honoree as a senior, recording nine points on the year, scoring four goals to go with an assist. She tallied a season-high two goals in Centre’s SAA quarterfinal win over Millsaps.

Coleman garners her first All-SAA award following her first year with the program. The Chattanooga transfer started 13 games for the Colonels, recording a goal and a pair of assists. She played a pivotal role in Centre’s regional win at Washington and Lee, finishing with a goal and an assist against the Generals.

The Colonels host Piedmont in the first round of the upcoming NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Tournament this Saturday, Nov. 12 at 11 a.m.

2016 SAA Women’s Soccer All-Conference Teams

Offensive Player of the Year: Destinie Graves of Centre
Defensive Player of the Year: Ellie Valega of Rhodes
Newcomer of the Year: Hagan Griffith of Hendrix
Coach of the Year: Jay Hoffman of Centre

First Team
GK: Jordan Rausch (Hendrix)

D: Michala Bibbins (Berry)
D: Tori Dillard (Centre)
D: Kelsey Sweeney (Rhodes)
D: Elizabeth Eidson (Sewanee)

MF: Meghan Paynter (Centre)
MF: Emma Selner (Rhodes)
MF: Mary Frank (Sewanee)

F: Maggie Midkiff (Berry)
F: Destinie Graves (Centre)
F: Sydnie Schindler (Rhodes)

Second Team
GK: Olivia Alford (Centre)

D: Bethany Kuerten (BSC)
D: Jessie Turner (Centre)
D: Ellie Valega (Rhodes)

MF: Joanna Logan (Berry)
MF: Samantha Schoppy (Berry)
MF: Nicolette Glidden (Rhodes)
F: Taylor Andrews (Birmingham-Southern)
F: Hagan Griffith (Hendrix)
F: Elise Grisoni (Rhodes)
F: Erin Gill (Sewanee)

Honorable Mention
GK: Olivia Gattuso (Millsaps), Anna Maldonado (Rhodes), Samantha Bourgeois (Sewanee)

D: Emily Nixon (Berry), Mackenzie Kern (Centre), Shannon Murray (Centre)

MF: Megan Moser (Birmingham-Southern), Maddy Coleman (Centre), Katie Downing (Centre), Evie Cannon (Hendrix), Lucy Moore (Hendrix), Brenna Katz (Rhodes)

F: Addy Cronan (Berry), Ansley Rushing (Berry), Nicole Newton (Birmingham-Southern), Kayla Trice (Oglethorpe), Savannah Williams (Sewanee)

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by Liam P. Halferty