Four Soccer 'Cats Named to All-MEC First Team; Donaldson Coach of the Year

Four Soccer 'Cats Named to All-MEC First Team; Donaldson Coach of the Year

BRIDGEPORT -- The University of Charleston's Will Roberts, Thomas Vancaeyezeele and Kieran Bywater, along with West Virginia Wesleyan's Gavin Donaldson have earned top honors from the Mountain East Conference as the league announced its annual awards and all-conference teams.

Roberts, a senior from Wales, is the league's Offensive Player of the Year for the second time in his career after winning the award in 2015. He closed out the final regular season with 11 goals and five assists for a total of 27 points. His 1.80 points per game were second in the league, ane he was the only player in the conference to rank in the top three in both goals and assists per game. 

Vancaeyezeele, a senior from Caan, France, is the MEC Defensive Player of the Year after leading one of the nation's top defenses in 2017. The Golden Eagles allowed just five shots per game and conceded just six goals all year, and allowed more than one goal in one game this season. Vancaeyezeele also stepped forward to contribute four goals and two assists on the season.

Bywater, a native of Manchester, England, is the conference's Freshman of the Year for his play for UC in the midfield. Bywater matched the league lead with eight assists in his first season for the Golden Eagles. The eight assists rank third among all freshman in NCAA Division II so far this season. 

Donaldson was named MEC Coach of the Year after leading West Virginia Wesleyan to a runner-up finish in the MEC. The Bobcats, who finished fourth a season ago, went 10-5-3 overall this season and earned 25 league points to take second. West Virginia Wesleyan earned a national ranking this year for the first time since joining the MEC.

In addition to the individual honors, the league also announced the All-MEC teams. Regular season champion Charleston had six first team selections, while runner-up West Virginia Wesleyan had four. Urbana and Notre Dame each had two first team honorees. 

The All-MEC teams are selected by a vote of the league's coaches.

2017 All-MEC First Team
Pos. Name Cl. School
GK Paulo Pita So. Charleston
D Josh Spencer Sr. W.Va. Wesleyan
D Harry Tamplin So. Urbana
D Paolo Termine So. Notre Dame
D Armando Tikvic Fr. Charleston
D Thomas Vancaeyezeele Sr. Charleston
M Kieran Bywater Fr. Charleston
M Patrick Guier Jr. Charleston
M Kevin Nyambi Sr. W.Va. Wesleyan
M Paul Smith Sr. W.Va. Wesleyan
F Juwon Akintunde Sr. W.Va. Wesleyan
F Leonardo Paiva Sr. Notre Dame
F Antoine Ravera Jr. Urbana
F Will Roberts Sr. Charleston
2017 All-MEC Second Team
Pos. Name   School
GK Tyler Shotwell Jr. Wheeling Jesuit
D Robin Lapert So. Charleston
D Lewis Norvock So. Notre Dame
D Zack Poff Fr. Urbana
M Matthew Bentley So. W.Va. Wesleyan
M Reece Daly Jr. Notre Dame
M Jasminko Dizdarevic So. Urbana
M Mats Jota So. Notre Dame
F Sam Ashton So. Concord
F Ettore Ballestracci So. Charleston
F Thibaut Bourrier So. Urbana
2017 All-MEC Honorable Mention
Xander Bailey (D, Concord), Pedro Bassin (D, Concord), Sam Bethell (D, Charleston), Gabriel Cabral (M, Charleston), Ben Cancian (M, Urbana), Luca Falconieri (M, W.Va. Wesleyan), Guilherme Gloria Albuquerque (F, Notre Dame), Williams N'Dah (D, Charleston), Bryce Porter (D, Wheeling Jesuit)
2017 All-MEC Freshman Team
Pos. Name Cl. School
M Kieran Bywater Fr. Charleston
M Moulay Hassani Fr. Concord
D Dominique Pierce Fr. Wheeling Jesuit
D Zack Poff Fr. Urbana
M Kazuma Takagi Fr. W.Va. Wesleyan
Offensive Player of the Year: Will Roberts (Charleston)
Defensive Player of the Year: Thomas Vancaeyezeele (Charleston)
Freshman of the Year: Kieran Bywater (Charleston)
Coach of the Year: Gavin Donaldson (W.Va. Wesleyan)