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    Frierson’s Leap Of Faith Pays Off

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    By: Sean Cartell
    SEC Digital Network

    WATCH SEC SOCCER TOURNAMENT HIGHLIGHT REEL

    ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – The leap of faith that Auburn’s Katy Frierson took four years ago landed her firmly on cloud nine Sunday afternoon in Orange Beach, Ala.

    The nation’s No. 7 recruit coming out of high school, Frierson could have had her pick of top programs. She boasted high-level international experience, having played on the U-23 National Team as its youngest member, helping it win the 2008 Nordic Cup.

    When it came time to make a decision regarding her future, the Homewood, Ala., native chose nearby Auburn University, confident that she could help the Tigers reach the top of the Southeastern Conference and the national scene.

    That aspiration came to fruition on Sunday when she joined her teammates in hoisting the program’s first-ever SEC Tournament Championship with a 3-2 win against No. 23 Florida. Individually, Frierson took home the Most Valuable Player award and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

    “Katy is one of the best players in the country and she took a leap of faith in coming to Auburn,” AU head coach Karen Hoppa said. “She could have played for anyone in the country and I’m just so pleased for her that on the biggest stage of her senior year, she proves to be the best player in the conference. It’s just very exciting and I’m really proud of her. The performance that she put forth today was incredible.”

    Frierson’s two first-half goals set the tone for the Tigers and she assisted on the game-winning goal by Ana Cate to lift Auburn to the tournament title.

    “It’s something that’s very special,” Frierson said. “Coming in, this is what we play for and this is why we do what we do. I’ve never won anything since I’ve been here at Auburn, so winning the SEC Championship is pretty special and I’m just blessed to be a part of this team.”

    It wasn’t just a record-setting day for her team, Frierson also carved her name into the Auburn annals. She became Auburn’s all-time career points leader in the match, finishing the day with 102 career points. Frierson is the first player in her school’s history to eclipse the 100-point plateau for her career and she sits just outside the SEC’s all-time top-10 scoring list.

    But Frierson’s success doesn’t end on the field. She is a finalist for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and has earned a plethora of academic accomplishments, including being named Capitol One Academic All-District this past week.

    Frierson’s total package is what Hoppa says has helped take Auburn soccer to the next level.

    “She is the epitome of a student-athlete,” Hoppa said. “She is a straight-A student, gets it done in the classroom and gets it done on the field. She is obviously one of the best soccer players in the country. Every day that she has been here at Auburn, she has made our program better.”

    A four-time First-Team All-SEC selection as just the fifth player in league history to accomplish that feat, Frierson does not expect her collegiate career to come to a close any time soon. She hopes that her team is able to translate the momentum from its historic SEC Tournament Championship into a deep NCAA Tournament run.

    “This isn’t the end of our season,” Frierson said. “This is the beginning of the postseason in our minds, so we’re just really looking forward to getting some good matchups, good wins and keep playing with the heart that we have been.”

    That heart is what has allowed Frierson to lead the Auburn program to new heights during her four-year playing career, a tenure of which Hoppa couldn’t be more proud.

    “Just the way [Frierson] represents Auburn in every facet of her life just makes us all proud,” Hoppa said. “She makes the players around her better and we’re just really proud that she’s an Auburn Tiger.”