Men's Soccer: Four Earn League Awards
By Ira Green for MSNsportsNET.com
November 12, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Four different West Virginia University men’s soccer players garnered all-BIG EAST honors at the annual awards banquet on Thursday evening at The Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown.
"I'm very proud all four guys,” coach Marlon LeBlanc says. “They represented the team very well this year and their awards are a testament to the jobs they did this season."
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Zach Johnson headlined the awards list with second team all-conference honors. Senior Gift Maworere garnered third-team honors, while freshmen Eric Schoenle and Abel “Shadow” Sebele were named to the all-rookie team.
It is only the third time in program history that as many as four different players garnered conference awards. It previously happened in 2005 and 2006.
A Lumberton, N.J., native, Johnson started all 18 matches and played every second in between the posts, totaling 1,767 minutes. He allowed only 12 goals, good enough for a 0.61 goals-against average. The mark is ninth-best nationally and it ranks him third in the BIG EAST. Johnson also made 67 saves and registered 10 shutouts. His 0.848 save percentage clip ranks 19th best in the nation.
Maworere had one of the best offensive seasons of his career, as he tallied a game-winning goal and recorded 23 shots in 2009. He started all 18 matches and is fifth all-time on the WVU career starts list with 77. Out of the 1,767 minutes possible, the Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, native played in 1,757 of them. He also was a major factor on defense, as WVU held opponents to less than 10 shots per contest.
"Zach continues to be recognized as one of the top goalkeepers in the BIG EAST,” LeBlanc adds. “We're certainly very proud of his accomplishments. Gift, being named to an all-BIG EAST team as a senior, is a great award for four years of service."
Johnson and Maworere joined elite company with their respective awards. With his second-team selection, Johnson became just the fifth Mountaineer in school history to earn multiple all-league honors, while Maworere is only one of two WVU players to earn three league honors (Andy Wright, three times; Maworere, three times; Nick Noble, twice; Jarrod Smith, twice).
The all-rookie team, which was last awarded to players in the league in 1999, reappeared this year. Schoenle and Sebele are the just third and fourth Mountaineers to earn the award in school history.
"For us to have two of the 11 spots on the all-rookie team, considering there are 16 BIG EAST schools, is a huge accomplishment,” LeBlanc says. “I thought Eric and Shadow had tremendous rookie campaigns."
Sebele started all 18 matches and scored two goals, while earning five assists for nine points. The Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, native accounted for a quarter of the Mountaineers’ points this season. He led the team in assists, points, shots (39) and shots on-goal (12).
Sebele garnered BIG EAST Rookie of the Week on Sept. 28 and was named to the Soccer America Team of the Week a day later. He was only one of two true freshmen in program history to be named to the team (Alex Silva on October 7, 2008).
Outside of Johnson, Schoenle was the only player on the squad to play in all 1,767 minutes this season. He recorded 12 shots in 18 matches, but was valued most for his defense in 2009. The Yardley, Pa., native was a major force on the back line, as he helped hold opposing teams to a lowly .068 shooting percentage. The opposition also only recorded 12 goals this season, a miniscule 0.67 goals per game.
Earlier in the season, he was named to the UNC Wilmington all-tournament team. Listed below are all of the BIG EAST awards:
2009 BIG EAST Men's Soccer Awards
BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year
BIG EAST Co-Defensive Players of the Year
BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year
BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year
BIG EAST Rookie of the Year
BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year
BIG EAST Fair Play Award
All-BIG EAST First Team
All-BIG EAST Second Team
All-BIG EAST Third Team
All-BIG EAST Rookie Team
* - unanimous selection
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