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Trio of Ladies, Pair of Gents Receive All-Conference Recognition
From top to bottom, left to right: senior Erica Coker, sophomore Kati-Jayde Cunningham, sophomore Nick Hammond, senior Marissa Hughes, and senior Rylan Whan.
Trio of Ladies, Pair of Gents Receive All-Conference Recognition
Tuesday, November 15, 2016

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – In a vote by both the men’s and woman’s soccer coaches of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, three Ladies and two Gents soccer players were named to the 2016 All-Conference squad.

For the Ladies, senior goalie Erica Coker, senior forward Marissa Hughes, and sophomore forward Kati-Jayde Cunningham gathered Second Team accolades. For the Gents, senior goalie Rylan Whan was named to the Second Team, while sophomore midfielder/forward Nick Hammond grabbed Honorable Mention honors.

Coker finished her career with 446 saves and eight shutouts the past four seasons, ranking first and sixth in the career annals, respectively. She finished her senior campaign second in the conference with 120 saves, which ranks second in the Maroon and White season record book. Four times she has been named SCAC Defender of the Week during her career, including the first honor of the season on September 7.

“Erica has been a staple for us in goal for her entire Ladies career,” said head coach David Orr. She has been deserving of recognition by our conference since she was a freshman, so it was good to see her get that recognition. She is one of the best shot-blockers in our conference. She faces more shots than pretty much every other keeper in the SCAC. That might be why she doesn’t always get the credit she deserves, so I am so happy for her.”

Hughes has appeared on the All-Conference Second Team List each of the past two seasons. In her final collegiate season, she led the team and finished ninth in the conference with four assists. She also finished second on the team with five goals and 14 points.

Named Offensive Player of the Week after a hat trick to start the 2015 season, she also grabbed SCAC All-Tournament accolades her freshman season.

“It was good to see Marissa recognized last year; it is even more impressive in 2016 season because of her slow start to the season. She came on about halfway through,” explained Coach Orr. “Marissa is a tireless workhorse. She battles every game.

“I congratulate both Erica and Marissa for their excellent four-year careers at Centenary,” added Coach Orr.

Cunningham rounds out the Ladies All-Conference honorees. She made an immediate impact for the Maroon and White, scoring the first goal of the 2016 season when she dribbled and spun around a defender and went far post against Belhaven. In 2016, she led the team and finished third in both goals scored (11) and points (26).

In her first three home games of her Centenary career, she found the back of the net six times and added two assists in her first three games, recording the game-winning goal each time. Her four game-winning goals for the season ranks second in the conference this season.

The initial SCAC Offensive Player of the Week in women’s soccer this season, Cunningham also grabbed two votes for Conference Newcomer of the Year.

“I was hoping for First Team honors, but she is definitely deserving of Second Team recognition,” said Orr. “Being a returner, let’s see if she can one-up this year and make First Team next season. She is a heck of a player and a great finisher.”

For Whan, the five stops against the ‘Roos on Senior night pushed him to 112 saves for the season – good for the top spot in the SCAC this season. His 404 career saves bests former Gent goalie Scott Wright (1988-91) by 32 for the top spot in the record book. With four shutouts in 2016, the ninth-most in a single-season, Whan finishes his collegiate career fifth in scoreless games at nine. His career 2.16 goals-against average is also the fifth-best in Centenary history.

Whan’s 1.68 goals-against average for the 2016 season was the best season mark of his collegiate career.

He finished top-50 in the country in saves his final three seasons in a Maroon and White uniform, including finishing first in the SCAC and 23rd in the nation in 2015 with 115 saves. Whan’s 7.67 saves per game average in 2015 ranked 19th in the country.

Whan holds the second, fourth, and fifth spots in the Gents soccer record book for saves in a season, stopping more than 100 shots in his final three years.

“I am so happy that Rylan is able to cap his career with an All-Conference selection,” said Coach Symczak. “In my three years coaching him, I have had the pleasure to watch him grow as both a goalie and as a person. In a great collegiate career, he had a phenomenal senior season. I am so proud of Rylan and thrilled that the rest of the conference recognized him for his great play this season.”

Finally, Shreveport-native Nick Hammond rounds out the Centenary soccer honorees. Hammond, the initial SCAC Offensive Player of the Week in 2016, led the team and finished 10th in the conference with five goals. He also tallied the first and final goals of the season, scoring the game-winning goal in the first and last game of the season at Mayo Field.

“Nick had an awesome season in 2016,” said Coach Symczak. “He helped us build momentum in the first few games, and added the game-winner in a great final game of the season. I am so proud of him; and I look forward to what Nick will bring to this team the next two seasons.”

It was the first time since 2010 for two All-Conference award winners for the Gents and the first time since 2004 for three All-Conference selections for the Ladies.