MARTIN, Tenn. – A total of eight University of Tennessee at Martin soccer players along with head coach Phil McNamara have been recognized as All-Ohio Valley Conference preseason selections, College Sports Madness announced today.
The Skyhawks boast Saphyra Coombs-James, Alyssa Curtis, Mariah Klenke, Hannah McGowen and Ashley Reveiz on the preseason first team, while Dominika Conc and Amy Maksimowicz earned second team accolades. Madness also projects Phil McNamara as OVC Coach of the Year and Aoife Lennon as Freshman of the Year.
Coombs-James made an immediate impact for the Skyhawks last fall, earning numerous OVC honors. The Brampton, Ontario native was named the program’s first OVC Freshman of the Year while being listed on the All-OVC first team and All-Newcomer team. The freshman led the team in goals with 10, points with 24 and game-winners with three. She ranked in the top-10 of the OVC in six categories: goals (10, second), goals per game (0.50, second), points (24, second), points per game (1.20, second), game-winning goals (three, third) and assists (four, seventh) last season.
An All-OVC second team member, Curtis registered five goals for the Skyhawks and totaling 12 points. She struck for game-winners against Morehead State (Oct. 12) and Southeast Missouri (Nov. 2) in the OVC Tournament. She ranked in the top-10 of the OVC in shots with 45.
A junior goalkeeper out of Breese, Ill., Klenke picked up where her freshman campaign left off, setting a new UT Martin single-season record with 12 victories, passing her previous record of 10 set in 2011. Her performance on the pitch in the OVC Tournament earned her Most Valuable Player honors along with being tabbed to the All-OVC first team and All-Tournament lists. She ranked in the top-10 in the OVC in five categories: goals against average (0.96, third), shutouts (6.0, third), saves (95, fourth), shutouts per game (0.29, fourth) and save percentage (.826, fifth).
One of four Skyhawk seniors, McGowen is no rookie to the pitch, earning All-OVC first team honors last fall. McGowen played in all 22 matches, scoring three goals with six assists to give her a total of 12 points on the season. The Murfreesboro native tallied a career high against Murray State on Sept. 30 with two goals, four points and seven shots along with the game-winner.
Reveiz made an immediate impact for the Skyhawk defensive front, seeing action in all 22 matches while starting in 19 en route to being named to the All-OVC first team and All-Newcomer lists. She anchored the Skyhawk defense which registered eight shutouts, including three consecutive clean slates on two occasions. She scored her lone goal of the season against Lipscomb on Sept. 9. The Knoxville native played the entirety of the final 13 games, two of which went into overtime.
Beginning her third season with the Skyhawks, Conc has been nothing but dependable, seeing action in 22 matches while earning the starting nod in 15 last fall. She matched her career high with two points on four occasions: Lipscomb (Sept. 9), Georgia State (Sept. 14), Eastern Illinois (Oct. 5) and Tennessee Tech (Oct. 28). She ranked in the OVC top-10 in two categories: assists (five, sixth) and assists per game (0.23, eighth).
Maksimowicz, a junior defender, proved to be a defensive power in the backfield for the Skyhawks, earning a spot on the OVC All-Tournament team and recording shutouts against both tournament opponents. She played and started in all 22 matches, clocking 90 minutes or more 10 times, including three games which went 100 minutes. The Skyhawk defense registered eight shutouts, including two spans of three consecutive clean slates.
Lennon joins the Skyhawks from Armagh, Northern Ireland where she will challenge for a spot at midfielder. During the club season, Lennon played for the accomplished Newry City Ladies squad, who were the Division 4 League champions. She was selected to play for the Northern Ireland Senior International team in the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 qualifier. She was named Player of the Match in international friendlies against Germany and Malta in the 2012 U19 qualifiers.
One year after McNamara took the Skyhawks to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, he posted arguably the best season in school history in 2012. UT Martin captured its first outright OVC regular season championship on its way to a new program record for single-season winning percentage (.659, 13-6-3). In the NCAA Tournament, the Skyhawks pushed Southeastern Conference power Kentucky to the limit before a narrow 1-0 loss in overtime. McNamara garnered 2012 OVC Coach of the Year honors and presided over five players who were All-OVC performers. All in all, eight of McNamara's players earned All-OVC or All-OVC Tournament accolades in 2012.
For the second year, CollegeSportsMadness.com is featuring full soccer coverage. The website covers all aspects of college sports, from recruiting right up through the draft. The service has unveiled in-depth previews and rankings over the last few weeks. During the season, College Sports Madness will feature a weekly Bracketology projection, Player of the Week honors on a national and conference basis, and rank incoming recruits.