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HN grad Hannah Tillett earns trio of honors

HONORS: Hannah Tillett, a 2018 graduate of Huntington North, made a significant impact on the field as a freshman for the Middle Tennessee State women’s soccer team this season.

by Eric Andrews - eandrews@h-ponline.com

Hannah Tillett, a freshman on the Middle Tennessee State women’s soccer team and a 2018 Huntington North graduate, earned a trio of honors this week from Conference USA, the Blue Raiders’ athletic conference.

Tillett was named as the Conference USA Freshman of the Year and earned spots on the Conference USA All-Conference First Team and the Conference USA All-Conference All-Freshman Team.

“At the beginning of the season, the coaches sat down with each of us individually and we came up with personal goals,” Tillett said. “I mentioned these awards and was uncertain what the response would be, but the coaches agreed with me and instilled the confidence in me that I could, in fact, achieve these awards. The confidence from the coaching staff was a big part of my personal confidence on the field.”

The Blue Raiders benefited significantly from Tillett’s ability this season, as Tillett registered 11 goals, three game-winning goals, 30 points, 50 shots and 26 shots on goal, all of which were team-highs for Middle Tennessee State.

Tillett’s goal and point totals also paced all Conference USA players this season.

Additionally, Tillett’s 30 points placed her in the top 20 in the country. Her 1.76 points per game also earned her a spot in the top 20 nationwide. Both totals also placed her on the freshman podium in each category.

“Hannah is a special player due to her love for the game and her desire to be the best player and teammate she can be,” said head coach Aston Rhoden. “Her passion and love for the game allows her to continuously seek out solutions for the various situations she faces during the game and in training. … Hannah is always working on her game. These honors are a testament to her work ethic and desire to be the best player and teammate she can be.”

Tillett enjoyed particularly strong performances against Belmont, Western Carolina and Florida International this season.

In the second game of her collegiate career, Tillett buried two goals, the first of her Middle Tennessee State career, and added two assists in the Blue Raiders’ 5–3 defeat of Belmont on Aug. 19.

Tillett then asserted her dominance against Western Carolina on Sept. 9, recording a hat trick in a 4–0 Blue Raiders victory.

Tillett recorded her third and final multi-goal game of the season on Oct. 11, finding the back of the net twice and adding an assist in Middle Tennessee State’s 4–2 victory over Florida International.

Middle Tennessee State’s season came to a close on Oct. 31 after dropping a 2–1 overtime decision to No. 2 Florida Atlantic in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament. The Blue Raiders finished their season with a 10–7–1 record.

“Prior to the season, Hannah set some targets for herself and the team and was able to stay focused on those objectives throughout the season,” Rhoden said. “Additionally, our style of play fits hers and we were able to play her in a position that highlights her strengths. Her teammates were also able to help her adjust to the speed and physicality of the college game.”

Tillett will return to again be a key component of the Blue Raiders’ offense next year, as Middle Tennessee State will lose just two seniors heading into next year.

While at Huntington North, Tillett tallied 107 goals and 98 assists during her illustrious career with the Vikings under head coach Jeremy Steele. Tillett led the nation with 40 assists during her senior year at Huntington North.

Tillett believes Steele played a significant role in shaping her into the player and person she is today and recognizes what a great opportunity he provides for Huntington North’s athletes.

“Coach Steele is more than a coach, but a lifelong friend,” Tillett said. “His advice on the soccer field, to be myself and to be the best player and person you can be day in and day out, pushed me, not only to be the best player, but take up leadership roles that helped me develop as a person and help the team as a whole. I was lucky to have met Steele and the current players at Huntington North are lucky to be coached by such a great coach and man.”