In a rare occurrence, two Brenau University soccer players earned Southern States Athletic Conference player-of-the-week honors simultaneously for their work on both the offensive and defensive sides of the field, helping the Golden Tigers advance four spots to No.13 in this week’s national rankings.
The SSAC top conference honored senior forward Esther Anyanwu and junior forward Elizabeth Campbell for their stellar performances in two Golden Tigers road victories last week.
SSAC Offensive Player of the Week Anyanwu, who is from Lagos, Nigeria, scored three goals — a hat trick — in a 5-2 win over Bethel University on Oct. 25 to break Brenau’s all-time scoring record.
She then helped the Tigers, at the time ranked No. 17 in the nation, shut out No. 12 Martin Methodist College 4-0, scoring two goals and recording two assists in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Women’s Soccer Match of the Week.
Anyanwu holds the career scoring record at Georgia Perimeter College, where she was a junior college All-American. She followed suit at Brenau. She now has 51 goals for Brenau. In just two years with the Golden Tigers, Anyanwu has eclipsed Brenau standout Lily Futrell’s mark of 46 goals set from 2005-09.
“She’s the real deal,” said Brenau coach Mike Lochstampfor. “Esther is very technically gifted. She’s very comfortable with the ball at her feet and has unbelievable skill. She’s very fast and has a keen awareness and knowledge of the game that many players don’t have.”
Campbell, who is from Richmond Hill, Ga., netted her first goal of the season from 30 yards out to open the scoring against Bethel. Typically a defender, Campbell made many runs forward to “get the gates open for us,” Lochstampfor said, which “relieved a lot of pressure for us offensively.”
A day later, Campbell was a crucial part of Brenau’s stifling defense as the Golden Tigers became only the third team to shut out the Redhawks this season.
“She was able to disrupt the offense quite regularly which helped us establish our offense,” Lochstampfor said. “With her pace and aggressive style of defending, she did a lot of work for us winning balls in the air and on the ground.”
Brenau (12-3-1, 8-1 SSAC) is riding a five-match winning streak going into its final regular-season home match against Emmanuel College on Thursday at 6 p.m.
The Golden Tigers, who hold sole possession of second place in the conference behind No. 10 William Carey, conclude their regular season Saturday at Southern Wesleyan University.
The Brenau team on Sept. 28 lost a heartbreaker to William Carey 2-1 in the second overtime.
With the road wins the Golden Tigers moved up four places in the national rankings to No. 13 in the NAIA Coaches’ Top 25 poll.