University of Florida Goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg (#5) punts the ball downfield at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 27, 2023. The Gators and the Gamecocks tied for a final score of 0-0. (Sydney Johnson/WRUF)

SEC Honors Awarded to Gators Soccer Players

Although the season ended in disappointing fashion for the Gators, multiple players received SEC honors throughout the season for their dominating performances.

The four players awarded SEC honors during the 2023 season included Freshman Megan Hinnenkamp, Freshman Lena Bailey, Redshirt Senior Daviana Vaka, and Senior Alexa Goldberg.

Megan Hinnenkamp

In her first college season, Megan Hinnenkamp was a standout player for the Gators. But the freshman from Missouri was already a dominating goal scorer before committing to Florida. She was named Missouri’s 2023 Gatorade Player of the Year, scoring 26 goals for her high school.

During her first season at Florida, Hinnenkamp led the Gators and all SEC freshmen with a season-high eight goals in the regular season. She became one of six in Florida’s 29 seasons to lead the team in goals as a freshman.

Hinnenkamp received SEC Freshman of the Week three different times during the regular season. She received the first SEC honor on September 4, after scoring the opening goal in the Gators 1-1 tie against Kennesaw State. After that, she received the honor for the second time on October 2, after a dominating two-goal performance against LSU. And finally, on October 23, Hinnenkamp received the SEC honor after scoring the first and last goal in the 84th minute of the Gator’s 3-3 tie against Vanderbilt which kept their season alive.

The freshman was named co-SEC Freshman of the Year at the end of the season. She shares the honor with Georgia’s Summer Denigan. The forward was also named to the all-SEC Freshman team and the all-SEC second team.

Lena Bailey

The Gators roster was filled with many talented freshmen including forward Lena Bailey.

The forward from Tampa scored four goals during her freshman season. One of her standout goals was scored with 10 seconds to play in the first half of the Gator’s must-win game against Auburn. She earned SEC Freshman of the Week after scoring the game-winner in Florida’s 1-0 win over Maryland.

Alexa Goldberg

The next player who received SEC honors for the Gators was goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg. The senior goalkeeper was a brick wall for Florida, recording multiple shutouts during the season.

Although the Gator’s tie against South Carolina ended their season early, it marked Goldberg’s eighth shutout during the season. She tied for fifth in Florida’s records for solo shutouts in a season. Goldberg received SEC Defensive Player of the Week following Florida’s fourth consecutive shutout in an 8-0 win against Stetson at the beginning of the season.

Daviana Vaka

The final standout player for the Gators was center-back Daviana Vaka, the senior transfer from BYU. The redshirt senior from Utah played three seasons at BYU before making the decision to transfer to Florida where she quickly made an impact for the Gators.

Vaka led the Florida backline all season starting every game and playing the entirety of all 16 matches. She recorded her first assist as a Gator off a free kick that was scored by Lena Bailey during the Auburn win. Vaka was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week after Florida’s sixth shutout of the season and a dominating victory at LSU. After the season ended for the Gators, Vaka was named All-SEC First Team defender.

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