LakePoint, Ga. - ASUN Conference Men's Soccer Regular Season Champions, Stetson claimed three of the league's top-five postseason awards as Joseph Melong, Deniz Dogan and Kyle Gookins were rewarded for their outstanding seasons. NJIT's Mamadou Guirassy claimed the Highlanders' first ASUN Player of the Year honor, while FGCU's Nicolas Samayoa was a unanimous selection as Defensive Player of the Year, the league announced on Wednesday.
Guirassy has been outstanding all season long as the striker leads the ASUN and all of Division I Men's Soccer with 16 goals this season. His 16 goals and 35 total points are a new NJIT Division I-era record, and Guirassy has come up clutch for NJIT all season long. He ranks second in the nation with five game-winning goals, while he scored five goals in six conference matches. Guirassy was also a unanimous selection to the First Team All-Conference, the lone Highlander to be voted to that squad.
FGCU's Samayoa was voted ASUN Defensive Player of the Year for the first time in his career, capping a historic run with the Eagles in his senior campaign. The defender has played over 1,200 total minutes and ranks second on the team in minutes played. He has anchored a backline that has registered five shutouts and only surrendered three goals in conference play. On the offensive end, Samayoa had a breakout season with three goals scored, doubling his output from the previous three seasons combined. He joined Guirassy as a unanimous selection to the First Team All-Conference, his second-straight selection.
Melong earns the ASUN Goalkeeper of the Year honor, giving the Hatters back-to-back Goalkeeper of the Year honors. The junior keeper saw his first collegiate action this season and posted a league-best 0.95 GAA. In conference play, Melong only conceded three goals and lowered his GAA to 0.46. He totaled 46 saves and finished the regular season with five shutouts.
Melong was joined on the First Team All-Conference by his teammate and the ASUN Freshman of the Year Deniz Dogan. The Aachen, Germany native made an instant impact in the Hatters lineup as he started all 15 games and led the team in scoring with seven goals. That mark ranks third in the ASUN, and he finished second in the league with four game-winning goals. Eight of his 15 total points came in conference play as his performance helped the Hatters win the regular season title.
Hatters head coach Kyle Gookins collects his first ASUN Coach of the Year honor in his first season on the Stetson sideline. Gookins guided the Hatters to a 4-0-2 record in conference play and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming championship. The team made a tremendous jump from sixth place in 2016 to the top spot in Gookins' first year at the helm of the program. Stetson earned a bye into the ASUN Championship Semifinal round and picked up its first regular-season men's soccer title since 2006.
Dogan and Melong where joined on the First Team All-Conference by junior defender Ian McCauley, giving the Hatters three selections on the first team for the first time since 2011. McCauley played and started 13 games for the Hatters this season. He anchored a defense that only conceded three goals in ASUN play, and he also chipped in with a game-winning goal at North Florida. He has played every minute of those 13 games and kept the ASUN Player of the Year Mamadou Guirassy in check in their head-to-head matchup.
Samayoa was joined by two FGCU teammates on the First Team All-Conference as forwards Shak Adams and Albert Ruiz were honored. Adams picks up his first career First Team All-Conference selection after a breakout season. Filling the shoes of Ruiz, who was injured for the first part of season, Adams tallied a team-high six goals, which ranks fourth in the conference. Four of his six goals came against conference foes, and the sophomore striker posted the highest shot percentage among players with 20 or more shots this season. Ruiz earns his third-straight First Team selection after scoring four goals in seven games this season. Despite missing eight games to start the year, Ruiz finished seventh in the league in goals scored this season. He was the nation's leading scorer last year with 22 goals.
Lipscomb tied both Stetson and FGCU with three First Team All-Conference selections. Ivan Alvarado was the final unanimous selection to the First Team All-Conference giving the midfielder his fourth-straight First Team selection. He becomes just the 18th ASUN Men's Soccer player to earn four first-team selections, and only the second in Lipscomb history. Paynter collects his third First Team All-Conference selection after leading the team in scoring with eight goals, which ranks second in the conference. Defender Joe Kerridge makes his second-straight appearance on the First Team All-Conference list after another great season for the Bisons. Kerridge has played 1,190 minutes and has helped the Bisons record three shutouts.
North Florida's Adrian Nunez was the final selection on the First Team All-Conference after a standout sophomore season. He finished the season tied for fourth in the ASUN with five goals scored, while finishing in a tie for fifth in league with 11 points. He scored one game-winning goal and added one assist while registering 50 total shots.
The 2017 ASUN Men's Soccer Championship begins on Friday, November 3 with two first-round matches. No. 4 North Florida takes on No. 5 Jacksonville at 4 PM in DeLand, Fla., while No. 3 NJIT faces No. 6 Lipscomb at 5 PM ET in Fort Myers, Fla. The River City Rumble rematch will be broadcasted live on ESPN3, while fans can tune in to Facebook Live to see the Highlanders and Bisons matchup.
ASUN First Team All-Conference
GK - Joseph Melong, Stetson
*D - Nicolas Samayoa, FGCU
D - Joe Kerridge, Lipscomb
D - Ian McCauley, Stetson
*MF - Ivan Alvarado, Lipscomb
MF - Adrian Nunez, North Florida
MF - Deniz Dogan, Stetson
*F - Mamadou Guirassy, NJIT
F - Shak Adams, FGCU
F - Albert Ruiz, FGCU
F - Logan Paynter, Lipscomb
* - Denotes unanimous selection
ASUN Second Team All-Conference
GK - Juanes Fajardo, North Florida
D - Preston Kilwien, FGCU
D - Phillip Costa, NJIT
D - Micah Smoak, North Florida
MF - Kai Bennett, Jacksonville
MF - Robert Ferrer, FGCU
MF - Dennis Zapata, FGCU
MF - Danny Cordeiro, NJIT
F - Dylan Sacramento, FGCU
F - Josh Castellanos, North Florida
F - Ivan Sakou, Lipscomb
ASUN All-Freshmen Team
*MF - Deniz Dogan, Stetson
*GK - Connor Gavigan, FGCU
*MF - Kareem Riley, FGCU
*MF - Ben Locke, Lipscomb
*D - Hugo Espuela, NJIT
*MF - Pablo Jimenez, NJIT
*MF - Florian Langenegger, USC Upstate
D - Chris Clement, FGCU
F - Ihaia Delaney, Lipscomb
MF - Thomas Radon, NJIT
D/MF - LJ Estes, North Florida
F - Elvis Menayese, Stetson
* - Denotes unanimous selection
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