AUBURN, Ala. – The annual Auburn Soccer team banquet wrapped up Tigers’ 2021 season after the team finished as a top-16 seed in the NCAA Tournament and fifth overall in the conference, including a semifinal finish in the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2016.
Auburn’s staunch defense held opponents to a nine-year low in shot percentage and turned in seven shutouts on the season, a tally good for second best in the SEC. The Tigers got themselves back into both the United Soccer Coaches Poll and the Top Drawer Soccer top 25 rankings for the first time since 2018 after snagging a 2-1 win against No. 12 BYU early in the season. Auburn ended the 2021 season ranked at No. 22 in the NCAA RPI, the third highest SEC team to be ranked.
Along with the team accolades, a list of individual award winners is included below.
Most Valuable Offensive Player: Anna Haddock
Most Valuable Defensive Player: Alyssa Malonson
Rookie of the Year: Kylie Bechard
Most Improved Player: Marissa Arias
Barbara Camp Unsung Hero: Hannah Waesch and M.E. Craven – presented to the player who was crucial to the performance of the team and went under the radar.
Coaches’ Award: Olivia Dedels – voted on by the coaching staff and based on a players’ attitude and dedication.
Spirit Award: Maddy Bondon – awarded to the player who best represents Auburn soccer both on and off the field.
Captain Award: M.E. Craven, Olivia Dedels and Hailey Whitaker
Academic Captain Award: Hannah Waesch
Anna Haddock finished the 2021 season as a member of the United Soccer Coaches All-Southeast Region First Team while also being the only sophomore named to the All-SEC First Team. Her nine goals scored and 26 points tallied were the most by any Auburn player since the 2016 season. Haddock’s work off the pitch also proved fruitful as well, as she became the first Auburn underclassmen to earn the distinction of CoSIDA Academic All-America, and one of just three sophomores in D1 women’s and men’s soccer to be recognized for the honor. She notched four game-winning goals throughout the regular season and scored both of Auburn’s goals in the team’s 2-1 win over No. 12 BYU.
Alyssa Malonson broke a program record with 97 consecutive games started in her fifth season on the Plains. The 2021 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and United Soccer Coaches Second Team All-American was the anchor for the Tigers’ impactful back line. Malonson was also a United Soccer Coaches All-Southeast Region First Team honoree, marking the second straight season she earned all-region distinction, as she tallied 1,747 minutes played at both outside and center back. She matched a career best with eight points on two goals and four assists while also leading Auburn to seven shutouts, including three straight at one point in the season.
Rebounding from injuries in 2019 and 2020, Kylie Bechard made her first start as a Tiger this season and recorded two goals and two assists on just 13 games played. She made her debut in an Auburn uniform at Samford, following that performance up with her first-career point and assist on the go-ahead goal against No. 12 BYU. Bechard notched her first goal scored and her first brace of her career against UAB this season, knocking in two goals to set the Tigers apart in a 4-1 win over the Blazers. She earned her first career start in a SEC showdown at Tennessee, but ultimately had her season cut short due to injury.
A Second Team All-SEC performer, Marissa Arias made the most of her redshirt sophomore season as she ultimately ranked second on the team in points (17) and tied for second in goals (seven). Arias’ three game winners and .538 shot on goal percentage were also good for second on the team as she put 17 of her 26 total shots on target. After coming off the bench in the first five contests, Arias started in 13 of the remaining 15 games and ultimately led the way with five goals in league play. She tallied the game-winning assist against South Carolina in the SEC Tournament as she flicked the ball up and over her defender, setting up Sydney Richards on the wing with the go-ahead goal.
The following statistical records and awards were also presented.
97 Consecutive Matches Played: Alyssa Malonson
97 Consecutive Matches Started: Alyssa Malonson
97 Matches Played: Alyssa Malonson
97 Matches Started: Alyssa Malonson
Golden Glove: Maddie Prohaska (56 saves)
Golden Boot: Anna Haddock (nine goals)
Leading Scorer: Anna Haddock (26 points)
Assist Leader: Anna Haddock and Olivia Candelino (eight assists)
Iron Woman: Hannah Waesch (1,792 minutes played)
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