Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

June 5, 2014

Hawkins, Hanson recognized among region’s best for third straight season

AMERICUS — Southland Academy’s soccer program has taken several large steps forward over the past four years, and two Lady Raiders have provided the driving force for that improvement. Over the last two seasons, senior Quinn Hanson and junior Ella Hawkins have been recognized by region coaches as two of the top players in the region, and that trend continued recently when they were once again selected to the Region 3-AAA All-Region Soccer Team.

Hawkins’ impressive season was not only one of the best performances in Southland Academy history, it was also the best performance in the entire state this year. The seasoned forward scored an unprecedented 33 goals for the Lady Raiders in 2014, which was the most scored by any player in the entire GISA this season. As the leading goal scorer in the GISA, Hawkins was an easy choice as not only an All-Region player, but also as a GISA Class AAA All-State player.

Hawkins is no stranger to the All-State team, however. After a tremendous sophomore season, Southland’s scoring threat was also selected to the GISA All-State team in 2013. Prior to that, she was voted to the All-Region 3 team in 2012 as a freshman, and 2011 as a young eighth grader. Hawkins’ blazing speed has made her a constant scoring threat throughout her entire career, and many teams know that she is nearly unstoppable when she sneaks behind their defenses.

Hawkins is one of only 25 players selected to the All-State Team, and one of six players from Region 3 to receive that honor.

“Ella is a very explosive offensive threat,” said Southland head coach Tracy Muncy. “She is a player of quality, and I can’t wait to see her development over the next year.”

Hawkins was not the only Lady Raider to receive postseason recognition for her hard work, though. For the third season in a row, Hawkins was joined by Hanson as the two Lady Raiders on the All-Region 3-AAA Team. Hanson’s versatility over the past three seasons has been one of the most crucial components to Southland’s success, and she will definitely be missed next season on the field.

In 2014, Hanson scored two goals but also dished out eight assists. The senior was also feared by her opponents due to her smothering defense and her natural ability to steal the ball from opposing playmakers. These factors made Hanson an All-Region player three years ago, and they continued to make her one of the best players in Region 3 over the past two seasons.

“Quinn is the most versatile player on our team,” Muncy said. “She works tremendously hard on and off the field, and it has been a privilege coaching her senior year.”

Southland teammates and fans will hate to see Hanson leave the program after leading the team for the past three seasons, but they will also be very excited to see the state’s top scorer, Hawkins, suit up again next season. The Lady Raiders goal is to continue to improve each season, and there is no reason to expect anything less with a solid group of talent returning in 2015.

 

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