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Paris Junior College women athletes – T’Asia Black of the volleyball team and Morgan Monzingo of the soccer team – have been named second-team All-America by the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Another PJC soccer player, Mary O’Connor, a sophomore from Paris, was named a National Soccer Coaches Association of America women’s scholar All-American.
Black is a sophomore from Longview, Monzingo is a freshman from Cedar Hill, and O’Connor is a sophomore from Paris who graduated in December.
Black, a middle blocker, helped the Dragons to break school records and achieve the highest national ranking and highest conference finish since volleyball began at PJC.
Monzingo was a forward for the soccer team and was one of the team’s top scorers, being honored once for NJCAA soccer player of the week. The soccer program also had its highest finish yet.
O’Connor was recognized for her dual accomplishments on the field and in the classroom. To be named to a Scholar All-America Team, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) throughout his or her career; start more than 50 percent of all games and be a significant contributor to the team. O’Connor was also a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the national two-year college honor society.
“We are very excited that T’Asia was selected as a second-team All-American,” PJC volleyball coach Justin Maness said.
“She is the first in our program’s history to receive such an honor. It is extremely tough in our conference and region to be chosen as an All-American due to the high level of play from many teams. She has worked hard and improved tremendously since beginning Paris Junior College,” Maness added.
“It’s another mark to put in the book of records for our program. Any individual achievement is aided by a team effort, so in a way, this team received the honor as well,” Maness said.
“Coach Maness and Coach (Amber) Jay helped me a lot. I came here a completely different player, not knowing much about the game and they’ve done a great job. I just kept trying to get better and better,” Black said.
“I have a lot of options now, and I’m trying narrow it down and find a place that fits, with the family feel I need. I’ve loved it at PJC. Now I need to make the right decision for myself, my education and my playing,” she said.
Assistant women’s soccer coach Lauren Hatch said Monzingo played as a forward in 20 games last fall and started in 18.
“She had 36 goals and 12 assists for a total of 84 points in the 2013 season,” Hatch said.
“I didn’t think it would happen, but I hoped it would,” Monzingo said. “It makes me feel really good to be named an All-American.”
O’Connor said: “Receiving recognition as an Academic All-American player is such an honor. I am very happy to know that my hard work in the classroom and on the field has been noticed and commended. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me and for receiving this award. I am certainly blessed!”
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra