Nov. 4, 2008
AUBURN, Ala. -
Katy Frierson's breakout season was properly rewarded on Wednesday as she was named the Southeastern Conference's Freshman of the Year, First Team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman Team. Teammate Allison Whitworth was also recognized for her play on the field and her work in the classroom as she was named First Team All-SEC and the Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Julie King was also named to the SEC All-Freshman Team, the conference office announced on Tuesday morning.
Frierson, from Birmingham, leads Auburn in goals (nine) and was third in assists (seven) to tally a team-leading 25 points. The midfielder was the offensive catalyst for an Auburn squad that won a share of its sixth SEC West Division crown and earned the No. 3 seed in this week's conference tournament in Orange Beach. All nine of her goals were scored in conference play, tying her for the most in league action, and all but two of her points were also recorded against SEC competition, placing her second in the league in that category with 23. In Auburn's seven conference wins, she scored the game-winning goal in four matches and assisted on the game-winner in a fifth. She was the only freshman named First-Team All-SEC this season and she joins Megan Rivera as Auburn's only SEC Freshmen of the Year selections.
"I am really excited to be named the Freshman of the Year and to the All-SEC First Team. We had good representation this year and it is great to be a part of that," Frierson said. "It took me a while to get used to playing with the team, and that's a big thing; knowing what other people are doing and the runs they are going to make, so it took me a while to get adjusted in that respect. Once I did get more comfortable with the team both on and off the field it made a huge difference."
"What Katy has done is remarkable. She is first or second in the league in every category and she has pointed in every conference win except for one. She has been great not just as a freshman but as one of the top players in the entire league," Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. "We knew Katy was going to be special. She is really talented. Once we hit conference she was healthy and comfortable with the team and that allowed her to step up to the next level and show what she is capable of doing."
Whitworth, from Birmingham, has put together one of the finest careers in Auburn history, capping it off with a spectacular senior season. Currently third in the SEC in saves, she has already established a school record for saves in a season with 116-and-counting and now owns the school mark for career saves with 340. Her seven shutouts this season gives her 21 for her career, which is tied for ninth in the league annals. With a 0.92 GAA in SEC matches, she has been named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week three times this season, including in each of the last two weeks. In the classroom, she has been even more impressive, graduating Summa Cum Laude in December of 2007 with a 3.89 GPA while majoring in psychology and now is focused on earning her Master's Degree in Health Promotion, currently owning a 4.0 GPA. She was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2007.
"After spending years watching Megan Rivera collect First Team and all-America awards, it is a great honor to be named to the First Team. It is something I have been working towards for the last four-to-five years. It is also a great testament to our team and our defense. I have a solid and experienced line in front of me and that makes it easier to make saves," Whitworth said.
"Being named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year was really unexpected and I feel honored to have both sides of being a scholar-athlete recognized. Graduating early and working on grad school is a different dynamic and a different kind of work. It's a new experience, learning how to attack a different kind of school atmosphere while also playing and it has been rewarding," Whitworth said.
"We are thrilled to see the conference recognize Whit this way. She works so hard in the classroom and on the field and you can see that on the field with her stats. What people don't see is what she has done in the classroom. She graduated early Summa Cum Laude and now she has a 4.0 working towards her Master's. She will finish her eligibility and her Master's at the same time, and that is really impressive," Hoppa said.
King, from St. Louis, Mo., has been a mainstay on Auburn's backline, starting all 20 matches this season. Second on the team in minutes played with 1638, she has one assist on the season, it coming in the first match of her collegiate career. An outside back, she has helped the back line allow just 20 goals in 20 games this season, only 10 of which have come in SEC matches.
"This was a big surprise and I am really excited to be named to the All-Freshman team," King said. "I came into this year as a midfield-forward and the coaches turned me into defender. A lot of the credit goes to Jenn (Johnson) and Sammy (Towne). I have never played defense in my life but with the help of the coaches and the other defenders, they have transitioned me to the point where I feel very comfortable back there."
"Julie has had a tremendous year. To be starting every game as a back is very impressive, especially since she never played defense before she came to Auburn," Hoppa said. "She is a great athlete and a smart soccer player. She is learning the position and athletically she has done a great job of becoming a back. Now she takes a lot of pride in her defending and she is starting to add to the offense as well."
This is the first time since the 2004 season that Auburn has had more than one player selected First Team All-SEC and the selections of Frierson and Whitworth gives Auburn 17 selections all-time to the First Team. Auburn has now had either a First- or Second-Team selection in nine straight seasons.
This is also the first season that Auburn has had two players voted to the All-Freshman Team in the same season and Auburn has now had at least one player voted to the All-Freshman team in five of the last six seasons.
Auburn opens the SEC Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 pm against Tennessee in first round action at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.