Ruiz, Samayoa & Fajardo Earn #ASUNMSOC Preseason Honors; FGCU Top Poll

Full Preseason All-Conference Awards

LakePoint, Ga. – The ASUN Conference announced the 2017 Men's Soccer Preseason All-Conference Awards on Wednesday afternoon as voted on by the seven league coaches. Following a record setting season, FGCU enters the new year as league favorites after receiving five first- place votes. 

The Eagles, who are ranked No. 23 in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason National Poll, led the league and nation in scoring last season, playing a new attractive brand of soccer that saw them advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

Coming in second place in this year's preseason coaches poll are the North Florida Ospreys, winners of the 2016 ASUN Men's Soccer Regular Season title. The Ospreys have won back-to-back regular season crowns and look to get back to the NCAA Tournament in 2017.

Lipscomb finished in third place, while Jacksonville came in fourth after receiving the final two first place votes. North Florida, Lipscomb and Jacksonville were separated by just one point each in the preseason poll. NJIT, which enters its second ASUN Men's Soccer season, was selected fifth in the preseason poll, with Stetson and USC Upstate rounding out the preseason rankings.

FGCU's Albert Ruiz was the unanimous choice for Preseason Player of the Year after a record breaking season. The Barcelona, Spain native scored 22 goals to lead the nation last season. His FGCU teammate Nicolas Samayoa was selected as the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year for a second-straight season, while North Florida's Juanes Fajardo claimed the Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year honors. 

2017 ASUN Men's Soccer Preseason All-Conference Team:
Goalkeeper: 
Juanes Fajardo, Sr., North Florida
 – Fajardo, a Second Team All-Conference selection in 2016, made 10 starts for the Ospreys last year. He went undefeated in conference play, posting a 3-0-1 record in his matches. The Osprey goalie led the league with a 0.61 GAA and posted a .909 save percentage against conference opponents. 

Defenders:
Nicolas Samayoa, Sr., FGCU – All-ASUN First Team selection last season, Samayoa was a vital member of an FGCU backline that only conceded six goals against ASUN opponents. He started 19 of 20 games for the Eagles and logged the third most minutes played with 1,628. Scored one goal against UCF and added one assist against Rutgers on the offensive end as well. 

Sam Gardner, Jr., Jacksonville – One of only three Dolphins to play and start in all 18 games last season. Anchored the backline and helped Jacksonville finish with the third-lowest goals against average in the conference at 0.95. Scored two goals on 11 total shots from his defensive position, including a goal in the ASUN Championship First Round victory vs. NJIT.  

Joe Kerridge, Sr., Lipscomb – A 2016 First Team All-Conference and All-Tournament selection, Kerridge returns for his senior campaign for the Bisons. He played and started in 13 matches last season, helping Lipscomb record six shutouts, the second-most in the ASUN. Kerridge was a threat going forward as well, scoring two goals and finishing 2016 with five points. 

Micah Smoak, Sr., North Florida – After earning Second Team All-Conference honors in 2016, Smoak returns to lead the Ospreys defense in 2017. He earned one ASUN Defensive Player of the Week honor last year, while also featuring prominently on the offensive side. The senior from Melbourne, Fla. scored four goals, tied for 10th in the conference, with eight shots on target last season.    

Midfielders:
Miguel Jaime, Sr., FGCU – A 2016 ASUN All-Academic and All-Tournament selection, Jaime was one of just five FGCU players to appear in all 21 games last season. He started 16 contests and finished the campaign with two goals and three assists. Jaimes logged 1,083 total minutes and recorded 14 total shots, while finished the season with a .429 shot-on-goal percentage. 

Kamar Marriott, Sr., FGCU – Marriott is coming off a breakout season in 2016, where he earned ASUN First Team All-Conference honors and was named an NSCAA All-Southeast Region Second Team selection. He started 20 of 21 games as a defensive-minded midfielder and helped anchor FGCU's defense. Recorded one goal and two assists, with both helpers coming in the ASUN Championship Final to help send the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament. 

Ivan Alvarado, Sr., Lipscomb – A three-time ASUN First Team All-Conference selection, Alvarado looks to lead the Bisons to their first ASUN Championship crown in 2017. The crafty midfielder made 11 starts a season ago and finished the year with one goal and four assists. Alvarado now has four or more assists in each of his three seasons with the Bisons. He was named a Second Team NSCAA All-Southeast Region selection in 2016, becoming the first Lipscomb player with multiple All-Region selections. 

Josh Castellanos, Sr., North Florida – For the second-consecutive season, Castellanos earns ASUN Preseason All-Conference honors for the Ospreys. The senior midfielder was a 2016 First Team All-Conference selection after helping North Florida to back-to-back regular season titles. He scored three goals, including the game-winning tally at N.C. State, last season. 

Forwards:
*Albert Ruiz, Sr., FGCU – The 2016 ASUN Player of the Year and MAC Hermann Trophy finalist (one of three finalists for National Player of the Year) returns for his senior season with the Eagles after breaking several scoring records last year. Ruiz finished the campaign with a program record 22 goals and 49 points. His 22 goals scored were five more than any other player in the nation. He was named an NSCAA First Team All-American, becoming the first ASUN player since 2011 to earn the distinction. 

Logan Paynter, Jr., Lipscomb – After being named ASUN First Team All-Conference and All-Tournament in 2016, Paynter is back to lead the Bisons attack in 2017. He finished second in the conference with 11 goals while tying for the ASUN lead with three game-winning goals. His 26 total points ranked third in the league, and more than doubled his previous single-season best mark with the Bisons (12 in 2015).  

Adrian Nunez, So., North Florida – The 2016 ASUN Freshman of the Year made an instant impact with the Ospreys last season. He finished his first season at North Florida with seven goals and four assists and ranked fourth in the ASUN with 18 total points. Six of his seven tallies came against ASUN competition, as his scoring led the Ospreys to a second-straight regular season title. 
* - Denotes unanimous selection to all-conference team; A tie in voting resulted in a 12-person team

2017 ASUN Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll
Place Team 1st Place Votes Points 2016 Record
1. FGCU 5 43 14-4-3
2. North Florida
36 9-4-2
3. Lipscomb
35 10-6-2
4. Jacksonville 2 34 8-10-0
5. NJIT   22 8-6-4
6. Stetson   18 4-10-2
7. USC Upstate   8 3-10

For the sixth-straight year, the ASUN took to social media to poll the fans for the conference preseason superlative awards. Allan Morgan of Jacksonville was voted Fan-Voted Preseason Player of the Year, while USC Upstate's Lukas Sommer took home the Defensive Player of the Year honor. The final superlative Fan-Voted award went to Patrick Harding of Jacksonville as Goalkeeper of the Year.

The 39th season of ASUN Men's Soccer season begins on Friday, August 25th with six of seven teams in action. 

 

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