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Several Clayton State soccer players receive honors

Several Clayton State soccer players receive honors

Alhagi Toure was recently named to the All-Southeast team after leading the Peach Belt Conference in scoring this past season. (Special Photo)

Alhagi Toure was recently named to the All-Southeast team after leading the Peach Belt Conference in scoring this past season. (Special Photo)

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Kevin Rodriguez finished with three goals and six assists, ranking seventh in the Peach Belt Conference. He was recently named to the all-Southeast team. (Special Photo)

MORROW — Several Clayton State men’s soccer players have received postseason honors from national organizations.

Alhagi Toure and Kevin Rodriguez were recently named to the 2013 National Soccer Coaches Association of America Division II All-Southeast Region team.

Toure was named to the first team All-Region squad, while Rodriguez was named to the third team. By being named to the first team, Toure will be eligible for NSCAA All-American honors announced later this month.

Toure, a senior from Decatur, led the Peach Belt Conference in goals scored and in points during the regular season with 18 goals and 38 points. He also ranked in the top-5 in goals scored in the nation and led the conference in shots attempted.

Along with being named to the NSCAA All-Region team, Toure was also named to the Daktronics All-American and was first-team All-Conference team. He received the Brine Golden Ball Winner for the most goals scored this year in the conference.

He was named the Peach Belt Player of the Week on two different occasions this season and finished the season with four multi-goal games and five game-winning goals. His 18 goals on the season were two goals shy of matching Clayton State’s single season record of 20 set by Jason Nidiffer in 1995.

Rodriguez started all 17 games for the Lakers and finished with three goals and six assists on the year, ranking seventh in the Peach Belt in assists. From his midfield position, he helped lead the Lakers to the third most goals in Peach Belt and fourth best goals against average in the league.

Rodriguez, a senior from Duluth, started every match of his four-year career (74 matches) for the Lakers. He was named Peach Belt Player of the Week on Sept. 30.

The Lakers finished the season with a 10-4-2 overall record and a 5-3-2 mark in Peach Belt play. The squad tied for fourth in the conference this season.

Interim administrator named: Athletic director Carl McAloose announced the hiring of Merlene Aitken as the program’s interim Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance and Student Services.

She joins Clayton State after recently serving as the director of compliance at Georgia Tech for two years, where she was charged with monitoring and ensuring compliance with all NCAA rules and procedures. She has over 10 years of experience working in the field of compliance in intercollegiate athletics.

Aitken replaces Mary McElroy.

“Mary McElroy did an outstanding job in her brief time at Clayton State and it will be hard to replace her but we feel very fortunate to have been able to bring Merlene Aitken in to lead us in the areas of compliance and academic support,” McAloose said. “Merlene’s experience and skill sets are outstanding, and she is a great addition to our staff. We look forward to having her join us and know she will do an outstanding job for Clayton State and our student-athletes.”

In addition to working at Georgia Tech, she has served as the associate athletic director/SWA at North Carolina A&T and as the associate athletic director for compliance at Winston-Salem State. She also served as an assistant athletic director for compliance at Kansas and the director of compliance at Washington.

During Aitken’s tenure at Kansas, she participated in the NCAA Female Ethnic Minority Leadership program, graduating in in the class of 2006 and is a member of the Black Coaches Association.

A 1997 graduate of Brooklyn College, Aitken earned her juris doctorate from the Massachusetts School of Law in 2000. While in law school she served an internship in the Northeastern athletics department in internal operations.

Following law school, she was a compliance intern at Michigan State. As an undergraduate she was a student assistant in the sports information department at Brooklyn College.