UTM's Nilica earns OVC award
Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2009 5:18 pm
Nilica connected on the 2-1 game-winner in the 82nd minute, when a Southeast Missouri foul set up a free kick from the right side around 35 yards out. Nilica boomed a kick that found the back of the net, landing in the perfect spot beyond the reach of the Southeast Missouri goalkeeper for her second goal in 2009 and third goal of her career.
On her more familiar side of the ball, Nilica helped hold Southeast Missouri to one second-half shot attempt and four total for the match. After Southeast Missouri scored its goal at the 18:07 mark of the first half, the Skyhawk defense tightened up and didn’t allow another shot attempt until the 89:49 mark in the second half – a span of 71:42 of clock time.
Nilica has been an integral part of the nationally-ranked Skyhawk defense in 2009, as she has started in 10 of 11 matches for a unit that ranks 20th in the nation in goals against average in the latest NCAA Division I statistical rankings.
“We are delighted for Stephanie to get rewarded,” UT Martin head coach Craig Roberts said. “After her injury last year she has came back to form and she has showed she is a key factor in us consistently performing well on defense this year.”
This marks the fourth individual OVC Player of the Week honor for the Skyhawks, and third time a UT Martin defender has taken home the award, as teammate Danielle Rogers was also named the league’s top defender for the weeks of Sept. 15 and Sept. 22.
Nilica is just the sixth player in program history to win an OVC Defensive Player of the Week honor, and is the 24th weekly honoree in Skyhawk history – with 15 of them coming under the direction of Roberts.
The Skyhawks will wrap up their regular-season home schedule this weekend, hosting Eastern Kentucky on Friday at 4 p.m. followed by Senior Day on Sunday at 2 p.m. against Morehead State.