INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Defender Lira Mathes (Knoxville, Tenn.) has been recognized as an Academic All-American Women's Soccer third-team member, announced Wednesday by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
A transfer from Martin Methodist College, it is the first time that Mathes has received the award as an Eagle.
"What a great honor for Lira," head coach Simon Duffy said. "I'm delighted for her. Since she arrived last spring, she hasn't missed a beat. Her standards in the classroom and on the pitch haven't let down."
The All-American award winners are recognized by CoSIDA as the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances on the playing field and in the classroom across the nation.
Finding a balance on and off the pitch is a challenge for any student-athlete. For Mathes, a biology major with an emphasis in pre-med, using every minute of time in an efficient manner is crucial for academic success.
"It's really an honor because (you are) being recognized for your athletic ability and your academic hard work. It's really important to me because obviously I'm passionate about soccer, as well as in the classroom. I'm a pre-med student, so my grades are very important to me, so it's nice to be recognized for both (academic and athletic excellence)."
Mathes, a 6-1 defender from Knoxville, Tenn. played in 16 contests for the Eagles in 2019, receiving nine starts across 905 minutes played on the campaign. She scored two goals, delivering one of the most memorable highlights of the season when she scored a header from a corner kick in the 84th minute to knock off then-No. 6 Lincoln Memorial on Sept. 18 at McCown Field.
Her fondest memories looking back on the upset were celebrating the victory with her team, knowing that the upset was secured.
"It was really a team effort, so it was really nice to be able to put it away, because we were playing so well against them," she said.
Her second score came on Oct. 12 at Coker. She registered e10 shots on the season, with five landing on goal.
Mathes is one of three people on the third team to have a 4.0 GPA, respectively. She is one of 16 female student-athletes to maintain a perfect 4.0 across all three of the academic teams.