SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Regular-season champion UNCG and nationally ranked Furman led the way in the Southern Conference men's soccer postseason awards that were announced on Tuesday. Four UNCG players received all-conference citations while Furman paced all schools with six on the all-conference team along with the Co-Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year.
Senior defender Kris Byrd and junior forward Hakan Ilhan were named to the first team for UNCG, while junior goalkeeper Peyton Ford and freshman midfielder Austin Miller were named second team. Miller and fellow freshman David Reittinger also were named to the All-Freshman squad.
Byrd earns first-team honors for the second straight year after anchoring the SoCon's second-ranked defense. The Spartans have allowed just 13 goals in 18 matches this season. In conference play, the Spartans were even better, surrendering only one goal in seven matches. Overall, the Spartans have produced 10 shutouts.
Byrd also contributed three assists this season, including an assist on the game-winning goal against Elon which gave UNCG the regular-season title.
Ilhan also earns his second straight first-team All-SoCon nod after leading the Spartans and ranking second in the conference in goals (9) and points (22). Ilhan also tied for the conference lead with four game-winning goals and tied for ninth in the SoCon in assists with four.
Despite leading the conference in goals-against average (0.54), shutouts (9) and save percentage (.875), and allowing only one goal in seven league matches, Ford was relegated to a spot on the second team. Earlier this season, the junior keeper became UNCG's career leader in shutouts (18) and is on the verge of setting a school mark for lowest goals-against average in a season.
Miller developed into a strong second offensive option for the Spartans, scoring six goals with three assists, ranking sixth in the conference with 15 points. He also earned a spot on the All-Freshman team.
Reittinger joins Miller on the freshman squad after starting all 18 matches and contributing two goals and one assist. Both of his goals were game winners.
Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players or for themselves in the balloting.
The 2011 men's soccer season reaches its climax this weekend as UNCG, Furman, Appalachian State and Elon descend on Boone, N.C., for the semifinals and final of the 2011 Southern Conference Men's Soccer Championship. The semifinals will be held at 4 and 6:30 p.m. Friday with the championship match Sunday at 1 p.m. from the ASU Soccer Stadium at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex.
2011 SoCon Men's Soccer All-Conference Team
Co-Players of the Year – Coleton Henning, Jr., F, Furman and Luigi Clendening, Sr., F, Georgia Southern
Coach of the Year – Matt Nelson, Appalachian State
Freshman of the Year – Walker Zimmerman, D, Furman
F Coleton Henning, Furman
F Luigi Clendening, Georgia Southern
F Hakan Ilhan, UNCG
MF Sean de Silva, College of Charleston
MF Brian McGue, Davidson
MF Hunter Norton, Georgia Southern
D Shawn Ferguson, College of Charleston
D Greg Macnamara, Davidson
D Walker Zimmerman, Furman
D Kris Byrd, UNCG
GK Alec Kann, Furman
F Sean Dreybus, Appalachian State
F Andy Craven, College of Charleston
F Martin Ontiveros, Furman
MF Nick Millington, Elon
MF Daniel Hojaij, Furman
MF Austin Miller, UNCG
MF Alex Hutchins, Wofford
D Ryan Duffy, Appalachian State
D Lee Williams, Appalachian State
D Nicky MacKain, Furman
GK Peyton Ford, UNCG
Sekani Sinclair, F, Appalachian State
Nicholas Skoda, F, Appalachian State
Troy Peterson, MF, College of Charleston
Austin Dunker, D, Elon
Nikolai Hammer, F, Furman
Clint Ritter, MF, Furman
Walker Zimmerman, D, Furman
Austin Miller, MF, UNCG
David Reittinger, MF, UNCG
Carlos Dominguez-Gonzalez, F, Wofford
Forrest Lasso, D, Wofford
- UNCG -