MURRAY — Murray State women’s soccer featured five players in this year’s Ohio Valley Conference annual awards, highlighted by Miyah Watford, who was named the OVC Offensive Player of the Year - as released by the OVC at their annual awards banquet on Thursday evening. Joining Watford on the All-OVC 1st team would be sophomore Abby Jones and junior Izzy Heckman, while freshmen Saraya Young and Lauren Payne earned spots on the OVC’s All-Newcomer team.
Beginning with Watford, the senior forward from Indianapolis, Indiana has set two single-season program records with her OVC-leading 14 goals and 33 total points on the season. She has turned in four two-goal performances in 2019, and currently sits in third on Murray State’s all-time list in both points and goals – accomplishing this feat in just three seasons. She becomes just the third player in program history to win a Player of the Year Award, joining Harriet Withers (Offensive POY - 2015, 2016, 2017) and Tara Isbell, who captured Defensive Player of the Year Honors in 2008.
As for Abby Jones, the sophomore forward from Powell, Ohio has recorded 22 points on six goals and an OVC-leading 10 assists in 2019. The 2018 OVC Freshman of the Year set a new Murray State single-game record, while tying the OVC record, when she collected four assists in the Racers’ 5-0 victory over SIUE on September 22nd. Additionally, she has tied her own Murray State single-season record for assists with 10, after she tallied 10 assists just a year ago as part of an electric freshman campaign in 2018. Scoring in each of the last three games of the regular season, her 22 points on the year also ranks third in the OVC.
Rounding out Murray State’s first team selections, defender Izzy Heckman lands the honor after she anchored a Racer back line that gave up just 10 goals against conference opponents in 2019 – tied for the fewest in the OVC. While a crucial member of the defense, the junior from Powder Springs, Georgia also consistently made runs into the attacking third, registering a goal and an assist that included the 90th minute game-winning goal in the Racers’ 2-1 victory over Morehead State on October 4th.
Additionally, freshmen Lauren Payne and Saraya Young both earn spots on this year’s OVC All-Newcomer team as both have had an immediate impact on the Racer lineup in 2019.
Payne, a midfielder from Louisville, Kentucky has recorded a pair of goals while logging just under 1000 minutes in her freshman campaign.
For Young, the defender from Wilmore, Kentucky has been a vital part of Murray State’s success on the defensive side of the ball, starting in 17 games while playing just shy of 1500 minutes and recording 12 shots (eight on goal) during her first season as a Racer.
Murray State now has 30 All-OVC First Team selections with the addition of Watford, Jones, and Heckman, while Saraya Young and Lauren Payne are the 16th and 17th Racers to earn OVC All-Newcomer recognition in the program’s history.
The Racers return to action on Friday, when they will take on Belmont in the OVC Tournament semifinal in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m.