LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – In exclusive voting by the head women's soccer coaches of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC), Trinity University reaped the awards of an undefeated regular season as a representative from the conference champion Tigers won every major award selected for the 2017 season. Complete Release
Trinity's Chelsea Cole was voted SCAC Offensive Player-of-the-Year and her teammate Julia Kelly was selected Defensive Player-of-the-Year.
In the same balloting, the Tigers' Lilah Bevins was tabbed the league's Newcomer-of-the-Year and her head coach, Dylan Harrison, was voted SCAC Women's Coach-of-the-Year.
A junior midfielder from Texarkana, Texas, Chelsea Cole led the SCAC in goals scored (19), points (47), shots (89) and game-winning goals (6) and was fourth in assists (9). An Honorable Mention All-SCAC selection a year ago, Cole took her game to the next level this season as the junior scored a goal in 11 of the Tigers' 19 games which included a stretch from Sept. 11 to Oct. 1 where she found the net in six straight games. She had multiple-goal performances in four of those contests, and her seven-point effort against the University of Dallas on Sept. 15 (3 goals, 1 assist) was the highest point total posted in the SCAC during the 2017 regular season. Cole's selection as SCAC Offensive Player-of-the-Year represents the 12th time a Trinity has won the award and the eighth time in the last nine years.
Cole received five votes in the balloting for Offensive Player-of-the-Year honors while junior forward Cailee Morgan of Schreiner University received the remaining two first-place votes.
Julia Kelly, a senior midfielder from Grand Island, N.Y., helped lead a Trinity defensive effort that gave up just three goals throughout the regular season and conference tournament for a 0.16 goals-against-average – the third-lowest in the nation. After giving up goals in the first two contests of the 2017 season, the Tigers allowed just one goal in the next 17 games and posted 10 consecutive shutouts. Kelly's ability to win the first ball allows the nation's top-ranked offense to get into the attack quickly, and the senior is also a weapon on that side of the pitch. Including NCAA postseason play, Kelly finished third in the conference in goals scored (13) and sixth in points (28). She is the seventh Trinity player to earn SCAC Defensive Player-of-the-Year honors and the first since Kirby Peddicord was honored in 2014.
Kelly received five votes from the coaches in the Defensive Player-of-the-Year balloting while last year's winner, sophomore goalkeeper Mary Cardone of Southwestern University, and junior defender Lindsey Fitz of Schreiner each received one first-place vote.
Lilah Bevins, a first-year defender from Austin, Texas, found her starting position the second game of the year and has been solid all season. In addition to contributing on the backend of the nation's third-ranked defense, Bevins posted four assists from her left back position which tied for the seventh-most in the SCAC this season. She was named the SCAC Defensive Player-of-the-Week in Week 7 when she helped lead the Tigers to a pair of shutout conference wins and recorded an assist in a victory over Texas Lutheran. Bevins is the eighth Trinity player to be selected Newcomer-of-the-Year and the first since former Tiger Endaisia Love earned a share of the award in 2013. The player Love shared the award with was Lilah's older sister Sarah who played at Southwestern from 2013 to 2016.
Bevins received six votes in the Newcomer-of-the-Year voting, and first-year midfielder April Sulaica of Texas Lutheran University received the remaining first-place vote.
In his second season at the helm of the Trinity program, Dylan Harrison led the Tigers to their ninth straight SCAC women's soccer championship after defeating Texas Lutheran in a thrilling 1-0 final. The win represented the program's 22nd SCAC title – tying with Trinity men's tennis for the most team titles for a single program in league history. Trinity is 24-0 in regular season conference play under Harrison and the program extended its NCAA Division III record for most consecutive conference wins (including conference tournaments) to 110. Heading into the NCAA tournament, this year's edition of the Tigers had posted the highest-scoring offense in the nation, averaging 5.47 goals and 4.63 assists per game. The team's 108 goals scored represents the fourth-most for a single-season in conference history. The award is the first for Harrison but the 15th time a Trinity head coach has been named SCAC Women's Coach-of-the-Year.
To view the entire 2017 All-SCAC Women's Soccer Team, click here.