CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- University of Vermont and UMBC, the top two teams in the America East men’s soccer standings, claimed four of the conference’s six major award winners as the recipients, along with the league’s all-conference, all-rookie and all-academic teams, were determined in a vote by the league’s head coaches and announced this afternoon.
The Catamounts’ Conor Leland picked up Goalkeeper of the Year honors while UVM’s coaching staff, led by head coach Jesse Cormier, earned Coaching Staff of the Year accolades on the heels of capturing the league’s regular-season title. The Retrievers’ Pete Caringi III capped off his spectacular season by winning Striker of the Year award and teammate Liam Paddock received Defender of the Year recognition. Stony Brook University’s Leonardo Fernandes was named Midfielder of the Year for the third straight season and University of Hartford’s Javoni Simms took home Rookie of the Year accolades to cap the annual award winners.
Leland, a junior goalkeeper who also picked up first-team all-conference honors, was a unanimous choice for Goalkeeper of the Year. UVM’s first-ever Goalkeeper of the Year paced the league in save percentage (.846), which also ranks 11th nationally, and goals-against average (0.79) and is tied for the conference lead in shutouts with six. Leland, who was named the conference’s Co-Player of the Week on Sept. 10, allowed just four goals and recorded four shutouts in seven conference games.
Vermont’s coaching staff paced their squad to its best regular season in 23 seasons to earn Coaching Staff of the Year honors by a unanimous vote. UVM is 8-4-5 in 2012 and went unbeaten in conference play (5-0-2), just the second America East team to do so since 1997. The Catamounts, who have allowed a league-low 16 goals this year, claimed the program’s second-ever regular-season crown and first since 1989. Cormier, who’s in his ninth year at his alma mater, is assisted by Rob Dow and Ryan Horan.
Caringi, a junior forward, is in the midst of one of the best seasons in conference history and was a unanimous choice for the Striker of the Year award. The conference’s leading scorer, Caringi has racked up 32 points on 14 goals and four assists so far this season and has nine goals in his last five games. A three-time Player of the Week, nine of Caringi’s scores and 21 of his points came in America East games, both the fifth-most in league history and most by any player since 2003 and 2001, respectively.
Paddock, a senior back, earned Defender of the Year honors after leading a back line that tied for the league lead allowing just 0.94 goals per contest. The two-time first-team all-conference selection helped UMBC run off five straight wins to close the season, allowing just three goals in that span, which earned his team the No. 2 seed for the America East Championship. Paddock also contributed offensively, totaling eight points on three goals and a pair of assists.
Fernandes, a senior midfielder, is the conference’s first-ever three-time Midfielder of the Year and just the second to win any major award three years in a row. The preseason All-American ranks second among league leaders in points (22), tied for third in goals (8) and is second in assists (6). Fernandes, who served as focal point of an offense that ranked second in the conference scoring 1.69 goals per contest, earned America East Player of the Week honors on Sept. 17.
Simms, a freshman forward who’s among the top freshmen in the country, exploded onto the scene this season to earn Rookie of the Year honors. The two-time America East Rookie of the Week tied for second among league leaders with nine goals and was knotted for fourth with 19 points. Simms, Hartford’s first Rookie of the Year since Alon Lubezky in 2001, scored in five straight games at one point this season and also earned first-team all-conference honors.
Joining Caringi and Simms as the first-team forwards is Binghamton University’s Jake Keegan, who is tied with Simms for second in the league with nine goals.
Accompanying Fernandes in the first-team midfield are Boston University’s Michael Bustamante, the conference’s fourth-ever four-time first-team all-conference choice, UMBC’s Milo Kapor, who leads the league and the country with 13 assists and Vermont’s Joe Losier, the Catamounts’ leading scorer.
Along with Paddock, the first-team back line features New Hampshire’s Jordan Thomas and Vermont’s Sean Sweeney, whose teams are first and fourth in America East in scoring defense, respectively.
Hartford’s Anthony Santaga and Stony Brook’s Raphael Abreu and Berian Gobeil Cruz comprise the second-team forwards. Boston U.’s Anthony Ciccone, Hartford’s James Stamopolous, UMBC’s Kadeem Dacres and Stony Brook’s Kyle Schlesinger are the second-team midfielders. The second-team defenders are UMBC’s Oumar Ballo, Stony Brook’s Marius Krathe and Vermont’s Scott Kisling. UMBC’s Phil Saunders is the second-team goaltender.
Along with Simms on the all-rookie squad are University at Albany’s Tim Allen, Philip Persson and Anthony Rozzano, Binghamton’s Stefano Frantellizzi, Boston U.’s Carlos Ruiz, Hartford’s Viltsu Tuumi, UMBC’s Patrick Pato, UNH’s Lukas Goerigk, Stony Brook’s Alejandro Fritz and Martin Giordano and Vermont’s Charlie DeFeo.
Seven of the all-conference choices, including Defender of the Year Paddock, also earned All-Academic honors for performing well on the field and in the classroom. Keegan, Santaga, Stamopoulos, Paddock, Schlesinger and Kisling are joined by Boston U.’s Nick Thomson, Hartford’s Kevin Lewis, UMBC’s Michael DiCasare and Dave Vaeth and UNH’s Ryan McNabb. The all-academic team was chosen by a committee made up of America East faculty athletic representatives, academic advisors and sports information directors.
Twenty-nine of the all-conference selections will vie for the league title at the 2012 America East Men’s Soccer Championship, which begins with quarterfinal action on Saturday, November 3. For complete information on America East Men’s Soccer Championship visit Championship Central at www.AmericaEast.com.