Chelsea Hatcher Lowe's senior nominee

Tennessee Lady Vol soccer player Chelsea Hatcher has been chosen as one of 30 national nominees for the 2011 Lowe's Senior CLASS Women's Soccer Award®. The accolade is given each season to a player who excels both on and off the pitch and best exemplifies the true definition of a "student-athlete."

With her selection the Cincinnati, Ohio, native becomes the second Lady Vol soccer player to be selected, since the inaugural award was presented in 2007, as a preseason candidate for the prestigious honor, joining former UT standout Kylee Rossi (2008).

At the end of last season, Chelsea Hatcher was honored with a spot on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Region Second Team and a place on the All-Southeastern Conference First Team after leading the Big Orange in goals (eight), points (20) and shots (105).

The 5'7 midfielder/forward will begin the 2011 season with 11 career goals, six assists and 28 total points over 58 matches played during her three-year stint at Rocky Top. She has also moved into fifth all-time in UT history by launching 224 total shots (64 on frame).

During the 2010 campaign Hatcher did the majority of her work after Tennessee entered league action, posting a team-best five goals over 11 SEC contests, to rate in a tie for fourth in the SEC, and 11 total points to dead-lock for eighth in the conference.

Her finest weekend came during UT's high-profile road-trips to battle No. 12 Florida and No. 13 South Carolina live on television, scoring twice versus the Gators (SUN Sports) and once against the Gamecocks (ESPNU). Hatcher also blasted home a highlight-worthy goal from the top of the 18 into the upper left corner of the twine, just 1:58 after Georgia had opened the scoring, during an eventual 2-1, Big Orange victory over the Bulldogs during the regular season finale.

Ten of the 30 Lowe's Senior CLASS nominees will be selected as finalists halfway through the regular season and will have their names submitted for a nationwide vote. Fans, coaches, and the media will all contribute to determining the winner.

Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award® winners during the 2011 NCAA Women's College Cup championships, which will take place December 2 and 4 in Kennesaw, Ga.

Lowe's presented the inaugural soccer award at the conclusion of the 2007 season with Portland's Stephanie Lopez receiving the honor. Notre Dame's Kerri Hanks, Texas A&M's Emily Peterson, and North Carolina's Ali Hawkins took home the 2008, 2009 and 2010 awards, respectively.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.

The award was launched during the 2001-02 season in response to the trend of basketball players leaving college early to turn professional. Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, expanded the award program in 2007 to include six additional NCAA Division I sports - men's and women's soccer, men's ice hockey, men's lacrosse, baseball, and softball.

It was conceived by sportscaster Dick Enberg, who continues to serve as honorary chairman. The Senior CLASS honor was inspired by the remarkable story of former Duke star Shane Battier, who could have been an NBA lottery pick but returned to college for his senior season, led the Blue Devils to the national championship in 2001 and earned his college degree.

Other women's soccer candidates: Melanie Baskind, Midfielder/Forward, Harvard; Jana Basubas, Midfielder, Lehigh; Kathleen Beljan, Defender, Dayton; Sidra Bonner, Defender, Cornell; Colleen Boyd, Goalkeeper, Oregon State; Kate Deines, Midfielder, Washington; Danielle Foxhoven, Forward, Portland; Katy Frierson, Midfielder, Auburn; CoCo Goodson, Defender, UC Irvine; Melissa Henderson, Forward, Notre Dame; Bianca Henninger, Goalkeeper, Santa Clara; Laura Heyboer, Forward, Michigan State; Tori Huster, Midfielder, Florida State; Mo Isom, Goalkeeper, LSU; Kelsey Kearney, Goalkeeper, UNC Greensboro; Natalie Kulla, Goalkeeper, Marquette; Sydney Leroux, Forward, UCLA; Krista Lopez, Forward, Oklahoma State; Paige Maxwell, Forward, Ohio State; Kerry McBride, Defender/Midfielder, Marquette; Teresa Noyola, Midfielder, Stanford; Kelly Reinwald, Midfielder, Canisius; Aline Reis, Goalkeeper, Central Florida; Chandra Salmon-Christensen, Defender, Utah State; Casey Short, Midfielder, Florida State; Lizzy Simonin, Defender, Memphis; Jasmyne Spencer, Forward, Maryland; Jessica Teahan, Goalkeeper, Missouri State; and Ingrid Wells, Midfielder, Georgetown.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories