Samford soccer player Kaley Blanton was honored by the Southern Conference on Tuesday as she was named the SoCon Player of the Week, it was announced by the league office. The Bulldogs' sophomore forward from Mandeville, La., scored a pair of goals and added an assist in Samford's wins against Southern Miss 4-0 and UAB 1-0 last week.
Blanton, who was recently moved to forward due to a rash of injuries at the position this season, immediately made her mark for the Bulldogs as she scored a goal and tallied an assist versus Southern Miss on Friday. The goal and the assist were both the firsts of her collegiate career.
In Sunday's thrilling 1-0 cross-town rivalry win against UAB, Blanton scored the game-winning goal during the 13th minute of play. The decisive goal was scored at exactly 12:18 into the match. On the score, true freshman midfielder Trine Taule battled through a crowd of UAB defenders on the right flank and sent a pinpoint pass up ahead to Blanton in the box.
Blanton gathered the pass 20 yards away from the goal, faked to her left and went around the Blazers' final defender to her right. After evading UAB's last line of defense, Blanton pushed ahead to five yards out and beat the goalkeeper to the bottom right corner of the net. The goal was Blanton's second of the season and her second of the weekend.
Other nominees for this week's prestigious SoCon honor were the following: Jessica Smith (Furman), Kimmie Krauss (Elon), Laura Serafino (The Citadel), Caroline Clarke (Appalachian State), Kelly Gautreaux (College of Charleston), Kelsey Kearney (UNCG) and Nikki Seibert (Wofford).
Blanton and the Samford soccer team will next be in action Friday at 7 p.m. (CDT) as the Bulldogs begin play in the 2010 Samford Soccer Tournament against the Kennesaw State Owls at Bulldog Field. On Sunday, Samford will close out the four-team, two-day tournament with a home matchup against the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles.