Dec. 2, 2011
KENNESAW, Ga. - Memphis defender Lizzy Simonin, who helped lead the Tigers to an undefeated regular season, has been selected as the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winner in NCAA Division I women's soccer. The announcement and trophy presentation were made today by Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, during the 2011 Women's College Cup in Kennesaw, Ga.
The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I women's soccer coaches, national soccer media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I women's soccer. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
"This award speaks volumes of what this program, university, and city are about. I could not have won this award without past and present teammates, friends, alumni, classmates, teachers, fans, mentors and my coaches. Winning the Senior CLASS Award is a huge honor in itself, but the belief from everyone around me has surpassed the importance of this award," Simonin said. "Last but not least, I want to thank my family, especially my parents. I could not have done the things I have achieved if it weren't for them. They have driven me from day one to work hard every single day."
The Lee's Summit, Mo., native has a cumulative grade point average of 3.81 and has appeared on the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll three years. She is one of the Tiger athletic department's strongest student-athletes as a Dean's List and Tiger 3.0 Club member every semester. She will graduate with a degree in physical education teacher education.
"This honor speaks volumes of the character of Lizzy. She absolutely represents what this award is about and this could not have happened to a better kid. What she has brought to this program day in and day out, on and off the field, is second to none," head coach Brooks Monaghan said. "In regards to the program, it means the world to us to have one of our student-athletes to be recognized with this award, and what it stands for is tremendous. Anytime you get a national award, it's great for the university. I can't think of a student-athlete who is more deserving of this prestigious honor."
Simonin has worked as a volunteer at the National Civil Rights Museum and the Children's Museum of Memphis. She also participated in the Americacorps Trick-or-Treat event where she and the Lady Tigers dressed up in Halloween costumes and collected donations for the city's underprivileged youth.
"Lizzy has shown by her actions on and off the field that she is a leader for Memphis," said David Geren, Lowe's vice president of marketing. "Her willingness to change from a scorer to a defender midway through her career is a testament to a true team player, and she models that character in the classroom and through her community service as well."
Memphis finished with a record of 22-1-1 - the best in school history - and for the second consecutive year, Simonin was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year. A team captain, Simonin anchored a defense that posted 14 shutouts and allowed 0.53 goals per game.
"Author Bob Proctor once said, `A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than you see in yourself and helps bring it out of you.' I think Lizzy is the best example of this because she is not only supportive of you, but trusts and believes in a person wholeheartedly to where only your best could be brought out," freshman defender Carly Cassady said. "Lizzy is why this team was so successful and unified this year."
For more information on the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
Lowe's Senior CLASS Award First Team All-Americans
Katy Frierson, Midfielder, Auburn
Laura Heyboer, Forward, Michigan State
Natalie Kulla, Goalkeeper, Marquette
Aline Reis, Goalkeeper, UCF
Lizzy Simonin, Defender, Memphis
Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Second Team All-Americans
Kathleen Beljan, Defender, Dayton
Danielle Foxhoven, Forward, Portland
Mo Isom, Goalkeeper, LSU
Krista Lopez, Forward, Oklahoma State
Teresa Noyola, Midfielder, Stanford