Oct. 9, 2012
Montana sophomore Allie Simon has been named the Big Sky Conference co-Offensive Player of the Week the league office announced Tuesday. Simon, for whom the award is a first, is the fourth different Grizzly to be recognized by the Big Sky this season.
Senior Kristen Hoon was named Defensive Player of the Week on Aug. 21, senior Erin Craig was named co-Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 4, and senior Lauren Costa was named co-Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 25.
It marks the first time since 2006 that Montana has had four different team members earn player of the week honors in the same season.
Tuesday's announcement caps a two-week rollercoaster ride and four-year up and down for Simon, who hyperextended her knee while practicing at South Campus Stadium two weeks ago and feared her season had just come to an end.
It was a natural reaction for the Cary, Ill., native, who has been battling an almost continuous string of injuries and illnesses since her junior year at Cary-Grove High. Simon missed 11 matches her freshman season and has had to sit out five this fall.
"Allie has been through an awful lot," UM coach Mark Plakorus says. "Everything you could think of, from ankles to hamstrings to knees to calves to this summer having mono. You name it, she's had it.
"Just when it seems like she's turning things around, something else happens, so it's been tough on her."
Her most recent setback turned out to be only a minor one, but it forced her to miss the team's two-game road trip to Portland State and Sacramento State two weekends ago. Montana went scoreless in both matches and lost both by 2-0 scores.
"We have a good group of attacking players, and if we're missing somebody, it hurts," Plakorus says.
"Allie's someone who can play a lot of different places for us and do a lot of different things. If she's not around, it's one less option we have and one less thing an opponent has to worry about."
Simon was back playing again last weekend and did something Friday against Northern Colorado no other player has done against the Bears through their five Big Sky matches: score. Her goal in the 77th minute off an assist from sophomore Tyler Adair was the game-winner in Montana's 1-0 victory that handed UNC its first and only league loss and snapped the Grizzlies' two-match losing streak.
Simon, who came off the bench in both matches and sported a wrap around her knee, scored her second goal of the season in Sunday's 4-0 victory over North Dakota. Her goal in the 75th minute, which came off an assist from senior Erin Craig, gave Montana a 3-0 lead.
Simon's two goals on the weekend came on just four shots and give her three goals for her career.
"Because of all the injuries she's had, it means a lot for her to be on the field," Plakorus says. "Then being able to contribute to the team's success like she did last weekend, it's pretty special to her because I know how much the team means to her.
"Through it all her attitude has been amazing. Even when she couldn't play, she's always remained positive."
Montana (7-6-2, 3-2-1 BSC) is currently tied at 10 points with Northern Colorado (5-5-3, 3-1-1 BSC) for third place in the Big Sky standings with two weekends of league matches remaining. Both teams trail Portland State (6-6-2, 4-1-1 BSC), which has 13 points, and Sacramento State (5-5-4, 3-1-2 BSC), which has 11.
Three teams are within two points of Montana and Northern Colorado, including Eastern Washington (5-6-3, 2-2-2 BSC), which hosts the Grizzlies Friday at 4:30 p.m. (MT) at Cheney, Wash., in Montana's only match of the week.
Simon shared Offensive Player of the Week honors with Eastern Washington's Cassie Black, who registered a hat trick in the Eagles' 4-1 victory over North Dakota on Friday.
Northern Arizona goalkeeper Lauren Weaver was named Defensive Player of the Week after helping the Lumberjacks to 0-0 draws against both Portland State and Sacramento State. Weaver made 22 saves in the two matches.
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