Tigers Earn Top Honors From Conference USA

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COLORADO SPRING, Colo. – Jessie Ayers was named Midfielder of the Year by Conference USA for the second year in a row and was one of five Tigers to earn all-conference accolades in a ballot of the head coaches.

Geoff Bennett, who guided Colorado College to a share of the program’s first regular-season championship and the top seed in this week’s C-USA Tournament, was chosen Coach of the Year by his peers.
Ayers and senior forward Brittney Lyman were first-team selections. Junior midfielder Madison Whitehead was named to the second team, while junior defender Kecia Morway earned third-team honors.

Midfielder Alexis Long earned a spot on the All-Freshman Team.

“We are very excited to have our players recognized by our coaching peers for their accomplishments during conference play,” Bennett said. “We all know these awards are won by the team doing well and that everyone can take credit for our season so far.

“Individual awards are great, but I know this group wants team awards and honors first and foremost and that we will do everything in our power to win the C-USA Tournament.”

Ayers, who started all 20 games, led the Tigers with seven goals and was second with 17 points. She scored game winners in conference games against Marshall and Southern Miss, and set up the deciding score in victories over Denver, Robert Morris and Tulsa. Ayers also notched the game-tying goal against both Utah and SMU. CC was 3-0-3 when she scored a goal and 4-0-4 when she had a point.

Lyman closed out the regular season with a six-game point streak, scoring a pair of game winners while setting up two others. She leads the team with 18 points and a career-high eight assists, and is third with five goals. Lyman now ranks eighth in career goals (24), ninth in points (61) and tied for 16th in assists (13). The Tigers were 4-0-1 when she scored a goal and 10-0-2 when she recorded at least one point.

Whitehead, who started all 20 games, set career highs with six goals and 13 points. She tied for the team lead with three game-winning goals, including one in the regular-season finale at UTEP that clinched a share of the conference crown. Whitehead was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week after she struck for back-to-back game winners against Pacific and Colgate. Colorado College was 5-1-0 when she found the net.

In her first season at CC, Morway became an anchor of the defense that recorded 10 shutouts and tied for second in the conference with a 0.71 goals-against average. She led the Tigers with 1,832 minutes played and was on the field for every second in 17 of 20 games. Morway also set up Lyman’s game-winning goal in the 2-1 overtime victory against UCF.

Long played in seven of 11 conference games and led the first-year players with 399 minutes. Her first collegiate goal also was the game winner in a 1-0 victory over UAB, and the Tigers were 8-1-1 during games in which she played.

Now in his ninth season at Colorado College, Bennett was honored by Conference USA for the first time. He has guided the Tigers to the league playoffs in six of seven seasons as an affiliate member of the conference. Colorado College’s 13 victories ties the team's most since a 15-6-1 record in 2006.

CC, which tied its best-ever conference finish with an 8-2-1 mark, begins postseason play on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 11 a.m. MT against the University of Houston in the opening quarterfinal of the C-USA Tournament in El Paso, Texas.