All-Conference Lady Tigers defender excels on and off the field

(WMC-TV) - If you listen closely to the national anthem at Lady Tiger soccer matches, you might also hear All-Conference defender Lizzy Simonin.

"I would do the symbol sounds to the national anthem, so I would make the symbol sounds," said Simonin.  "It's just what I have to do."

But Simonin is making the real noise during the game.  The senior is the unquestioned leader of the 5th-ranked team in the country, and one of the top defenders in the nation.

"All the kids look up to her, whether they are freshmen or it's another senior," said Lady Tigers Head Coach Brooks Monaghan.  "They really respond to her, she's like another coach for us."

"I know that I'm not the best player in the country, but I know I can work as hard as I can to get there," said Simonin.  "And that's what I'm out here to do."

And she's doing it after reinventing herself as a player.  Simonin, the Conference USA Freshman of the Year as a forward, made the switch to defender after her sophomore campaign.

Her first year in the new position, she earned Conference Defender of the Year.

"I haven't seen a player do that," said Monaghan.  "Obviously a lot of kids are recruited as forwards and then become defenders, but to do what she's done, it's amazing."

"At first it was very tough, but I had a lot of help from the coaching staff," said Simonin.  "And I just thought to myself, if I could just come into practice every day and work my butt off, I'll make myself better and my teammates better."

Simonin is as active in the community as she is on the back line, teaching at soccer camps and volunteering at the Children's Museum of Memphis.

Her service has placed her in elite company as one of 10 finalists in the nation for the Lowe's Senior Class Award, given to student-athletes who excel on and off the field.

"It means a lot to me, this is one award I'm honored to be a part of," said Simonin.  "I couldn't be more humbled by this honor."

To vote for Simonin in the Lowe's Senior Class Award, click here.

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