Malonson named SEC Defender of the Year, Haddock and Arias tabbed All-SEC

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Fifth-year defender Alyssa Malonson was named the Southeastern Conference Defender of the Year and First Team All-SEC, while teammate Anna Haddock joined her among first-team honorees and Marissa Arias earned second-team accolades.

Auburn was one of three teams with multiple first-team performers, marking its first year with two or more first-team honorees since 2017.

“We are thrilled to have three players recognized by the conference,” head coach Karen Hoppa said. “Anna and Marissa have been dominant offensively in our league, and there’s been no better defender in the SEC than Alyssa. We look forward to seeing what they will do in the postseason.”

Malonson becomes the first Tiger to earn Player of the Year honors since Julie King was also named the Defender of the Year in 2011 and is the fourth player in program history to earn the distinction.

“Being named the SEC Defender of the Year, Alyssa has cemented her legacy at Auburn by joining some of the very best to ever play here,” Hoppa added. “She has been a difference maker every game so far this year, and we look forward to seeing what she will accomplish as a pro next year.”

Malonson, who has previously been named Second Team All-SEC on a pair of occasions and to the SEC All-Freshman Team, recently broke the program records for games played, games started and consecutive games started with her 94th career start at Alabama last Thursday.

Despite making a position change midway through the season, the Spring, Texas native has been instrumental in leading the Tigers to seven shutouts, including a league-best five in SEC play. The 20th overall pick in last year’s NWSL Draft, Malonson has also pitched in by matching a career high with eight points on two goals and four assists, and she is now tied for eighth in program history with 23 career assists. Malonson was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week following the first weekend of the season and has been recognized by Top Drawer Soccer on three occasions this year.

After tying for the team lead in points and earning SEC All-Freshman Team honors a season ago, Haddock enters the postseason leading Auburn and ranking top 10 in the SEC in goals (nine), assists (seven) and points (25). The Bowling Green, Kentucky native finished the conference season three points shy of the league lead with 12 points on four goals and four assists against SEC competition.

Haddock scored eight of her nine goals in the first 10 games of the season, becoming the first Auburn player to accomplish the feat since 2000, and has gotten on the scoresheet in 12 of 17 contests. She scored the game winner in three of the first five games and has tallied four game winners this year, tied for the eighth most in single-season history. Haddock was twice named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week and was recognized by Top Drawer Soccer three times to go along with being tabbed the No. 48 player in the publication’s midseason top 100.

Leading the offensive attack alongside Haddock, Arias ranks second on the team in points (16), goals (seven) and game winners (three) and has added a pair of assists. The San Antonio, Texas native finished the SEC slate tied for the league lead with five goals in conference play, including a pair of game winners in back-to-back wins against LSU on Oct. 10 and Florida Oct. 17.

Arias made her first career start against Alabama A&M on Sept. 9 and tallied a career best five points on two goals and an assist, starting a streak of seven goals and 15 points in a span of nine games. Thirteen of Arias’ 24 shots this season have been on goal and seven have found the back of the net, leading the team in both shot percentage and shots on goal percentage. Like her two teammates, Arias was also named to the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week this season.

No. 19 Auburn (11-5-1, 5-4-1 SEC) begins its 21st straight appearance in the SEC Tournament against fourth-seeded South Carolina (11-5-1, 6-3-1 SEC) Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. CT in Orange Beach, Alabama.

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