Last Thursday night’s epic game-winning goal over Alabama in double overtime was a moment that will be remembered and echoed through the Auburn soccer program for many years to come.
But believe it or not, Tatiana Coleman’s been there before.
Coleman, who netted that eleventh-hour goal to send the Crimson Tide home heartbroken, has tallied four game-winning goals this season, totalling eight goals on the year to go along with eight assists.
Those stats, and surely her clutch crunch-time capabilities, have earned her a spot on the All-SEC First Team, the league announced on Monday.
Meanwhile, Auburn defender Kala Faulkner, who has started all 20 games this season for the Tigers as a true freshman, was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team.
Coleman was a part of the All-SEC Freshman Team a year ago before breaking through to the First Team this season.
“It’s just a testament for how she’s played, especially late,” Auburn head soccer coach Karen Hoppa said, speaking of Coleman first. “She really came on in the SEC and I think she really stepped up her level in SEC play and scored some big goals — obviously the biggest of which was Thursday night. It just shows she’s one of the dominant forwards in the league, and her being only a sophomore makes us really excited for her future.”
With her goals and assists numbers totaled together, Coleman is fourth in the SEC with 24 total points, and is tied for second in the conference in assists with her eight.
“I honestly didn’t know I made the team until my coach called me, and I was freaking out because I didn’t know what was wrong,” Coleman joked. “You know, calls from coaches aren’t ever good, so I was like, ‘Uh oh, what’s going on?’ But she told me I made the All-SEC team, and that means a lot.
“The SEC’s a great, great conference with awesome players. It’s really a blessing and an honor to make that team, but I think I worked for it. I really did work hard for it, but I’m still surprised by it. There’s all these great players in the SEC. So I’m really surprised by it but I’m also blessed and honored to be picked.”
Senior forward Mary Coffed has started alongside Coleman in nearly every match over the past two seasons.
“She’s a phenonemal player,” said Coffed. “It’s just been so much fun playing with her the last two years. Even though she’s younger I learn so much from her. She’s just such a powerful player and has such a strong presence on the field that it’s just fun to be out there with her. It’s going to be exciting seeing the things that she does moving forward.
“She’s only a sophomore and she’s accomplished some amazing things. So very, very proud of her.”
While Coleman racks up goals and assists in between the whistles on the pitch, she credits her teammates with assists both on and off the field.
“Honestly, my team believes in me more than I believe in myself,” Coleman said. “Even the people on the sideline, the subs and the freshmen, I can always hear them behind me, saying ‘Tati, you can do it, you can do it! Get one, get one!’ Because they really, truly believe that I can score, and I really think I should use that as good inspiration because I should really believe in myself the way that they do.
“The forwards, of course I couldn’t do it without them — Alexa Allen and Mary Coffed and Ashley Kotero and all them — I don’t do it by myself. So they really help me too.”
Meanwhile, Faulkner was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team, marking the eighth time in 10 years that the Tigers have had a freshman represented on the conference’s all-freshman team.
“I thought Kala had a shot at the regular All-SEC team,” said Hoppa. “She was that good of a defender for us all year, so we were certainly happy that she got on the Freshman team, and I think that’s a kid whose future at this level is unlimited.”
Following the career of perennial All-SEC (and All-American) selection Katy Frierson, Coleman’s addition to the all-conference team marks the fifth consecutive year that Auburn has been represented on the All-SEC First Team.
“Hopefully it just means we’re doing it right,” Hoppa said. “We’re recruiting good kids, and we’re trying to train them and develop them. We want every year to have players that are among the best in the league, because that our gives our team a chance to win the league. And that’s our goal every year.”
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