ROCK HILL, S.C. – Five players from Carson-Newman women's soccer were awarded All-South Atlantic Conference honors, the league office announced Wednesday.
Junior forward Emilee Futrell (Wilson, N.C.), junior midfielder Kristina Markfort (Munster, Germany), junior defense Jente Kuper (Ottersberg, Germany) and sophomore defense Beatrice Gards (Stockholm, Sweden) all earned All-SAC Second Team selections for their play on the pitch this season.
Freshman midfielder Addie Henry (Chattanooga, Tenn.) earned an All-SAC Honorable Mention to round out the group of five.
"Immensely proud that we got some recognition and that we have five players named All-Conference," head coach Simon Duffy said. "It's a very good honor. I wish we could have gone further and done some more in the conference (tournament), but delighted anyway regardless that these players were honored."
For Futrell, this is the second year in a row that she has earned a nod to the All-SAC Second Team. She has netted nine goals in all three years as an Eagle – a 27-goal mark overall – that currently ranks ninth in program history.
This season, Futrell led the team in goals, points (20), shots (70), shots on goal (35) and game-winning goals (3). She played in 16 of the team's 17 contests, recording 974 minutes.
With former players such as Magda Mosengo and Lauren Wade leaving the program in Futrell's time as an Eagle, the junior forward has been able to be an understudy and learn from those around her. This season, senior transfer Delaney Griffin (Franklin, Tenn.) and freshman forward Makayla Garner (Fort Mill, S.C.) served as complements alongside Futrell, who stepped into the lead role in creating offensive production.
"With Delaney being a transfer coming in from a Division I (East Tennessee State), it was nice to play with someone with a bit of a different style coming from a D1 program," Futrell said. "And Makayla, she's just a unit. It's been really fun growing and playing with two different players."
Transitioning to a new role for the Eagles, the sure-footed midfielder Markfort scored three goals and added four assists on the campaign – setting new career highs in both categories, respectively. With the move to the middle of the pitch, she became a mainstay in the starting lineup. Markfort was one of only three Eagles to earn the starting nod in all 17 games this season, a leap from the six games she started in 2018.
"This season has been better for me than my previous seasons," Markfort said. "I used to play in the midfield before I came here. I played as a center back (in previous seasons at C-N) but then I just started to play in the midfield.
"I'm really happy to be awarded and I'm always trying to help my team like scoring goals or assisting, I'm just glad it worked out."
Duffy alluded to the use of her intangibles as reasons for her success in the move up to the middle of the pitch.
"She probably does have the best feet on the team," Duffy said. "And for such a tall player, she's so calm on the ball, very, very tricky and at times impossible to take the ball off. But she's just got a good soccer brain as well.
"She's intelligent, but not only that, she has the ability to play those passes and put the ball in areas that she sees. Not all midfielders can do that."
Fellow midfielder Henry's honorable mention comes off of her first career goal as an Eagle – a bright spot in the 2-1 loss to Queens in the SAC quarterfinals. Henry's rocket shot from approximately 30 yards out found the back-right corner of the net to give C-N a fighting chance.
Henry added three assists on the season for a total of five points and earned 16 starts for the Eagles. She ranked second on the team in minutes played with 1,409.
"Addie did a tremendous job, the two of them (Markfort and Henry) with the balance that they had," Duffy said. "Addie was able to win so many balls in the air. Coming in as a freshman, to have that much influence and play as much as she did has been fantastic as well.
In the defensive third, defenders Kuper and Gards made a large impact in only allowing 19 goals on the season. Kuper received 14 starts in 16 games this season, scoring one goal and one assist in 1,274 minutes tracked on the pitch.
While Gards did not record any offensive points, her 1,506 minutes on the field led the team by 97 minutes – more than the length of a full regulation contest. Gards was only substituted out of three contests and played 97 percent of the team's total minutes in 2019.
With the departure of Averi Williams and Alex Brandan from last season, it was up to Gards and Kuper to assume the roles of maintaining a strong defensive threat that C-N has posed under Duffy's reign. They made the most of their opportunity according to coach.
"It took a couple of games for them to get to know each other," Duffy said. "With Beatrice being a new player here, it was important for us to get them into a good partnership as early on as we could. Within a couple of games you could tell that they had a very good connection there and that they were going to be stalwarts back there in helping us win games."
C-N will hope to earn more awards later this year from the United Soccer Coaches to be determined at a later date.