UTM duo earns consecutive OVC honors

UTM duo earns consecutive OVC honors
UTM duo earns consecutive OVC honors

MacKenzie
Nilica named OVC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week
MARTIN, Tenn. – For the second consecutive week, a University of Tennessee at Martin soccer player has been recognized for their efforts by the Ohio Valley Conference, as senior Stephanie Nilica was named the league’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. Nilica shared the award with Austin Peay’s Samantha Northrup.
Seeing her first action of the season since a head-to-head collision sidelined her on Aug. 22 at Arkansas State, Nilica earned an assist on Rosaelia Loza’s game-winning goal to cap off Sunday’s 3-2 overtime win at SIU Edwardsville. Overall, the St. Louis native logged 70 minutes and helped shut the Cougar offense down over the game’s last 66 minutes.
“What a great weekend for Stephanie,” Skyhawk head coach Phil McNamara said. “Playing in her first game back in her own backyard of St. Louis and serving the assist to win a very good contest in dramatic fashion. It was just great to see a senior player return to the field with such a good performance following a scary injury. Hopefully, her return will give the team a little extra confidence for the upcoming OVC contests.”
Nilica, who also won the award on Oct. 13, 2009, is just the sixth Skyhawk in program history to win multiple OVC weekly awards, and just the third defender to accomplish that feat. In addition, this is the fourth time in program history that the Skyhawks produced back-to-back weekly winners, as junior goalkeeper Lauren MacKenzie was named Goalkeeper of the Week last Tuesday. Overall, this marks the 27th time a UT Martin player has earned a weekly soccer award.  
UT Martin opens conference play this weekend, when they will hit the road for match-ups at Morehead State on Friday and against Eastern Kentucky on Sunday.

MacKenzie wins OVC’s weekly goalkeeper honor
MARTIN, Tenn. – Two days after securing her second shutout of the weekend, The University of Tennessee at Martin junior Lauren MacKenzie was named as the Ohio Valley Conference Goalkeeper of the Week on Sept. 13.
The Barrie, Ontario native collected five saves in Skyhawk home wins over Evansville on Friday and IPFW on Sunday, securing her first two shutouts in a UT Martin uniform. In the process, MacKenzie lowered her season goals against average to 1.19.
Mackenzie has been a stalwart in goal for Skyhawk head coach Phil McNamara this season, as she has tallied 58 saves through the season’s first eight matches. That total is already 11 more than the entire UT Martin team made last season.
Standing at 5-8, MacKenzie has made at least four stops in each and every match this season, including two double-figure matches. On Aug. 22 at Arkansas State, she made 10 saves and she accumulated a career-best 13 saves at CSU Bakersfield on Sept. 3.
MacKenzie finds herself atop of three goalkeeping categories in the latest OVC statistical rankings. Her 63 saves lead the league, as well as her .851 save percentage and 7.00 saves per match average.
“I personally think that Lauren has been outstanding,” McNamara said. “She has been up there as one of the best players on our team and I think she will prove to be a major force in the OVC. Her play has without question given our team a lot of confidence.”
MacKenzie is just the fourth Skyhawk goalkeeper to be named OVC Goalkeeper of the Week.

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