MACON, Ga. (Nov. 6, 2012) – On Election Tuesday, the Atlantic Sun Conference revealed the polling of its 2012 postseason honors and awards, declaring David Geno (Kingsport, Tenn.) A-Sun Player of the Year and Ryan Coulter (Dublin, Ireland) Goalkeeper of the Year.
With 100 percent of the A-Sun's nine men's soccer precincts reporting, nine different Buccaneers were voted to receive 10 all-conference recognitions --five first team, one second team, two freshman team and two academic team -- along with Geno and Coulter standing alone as the league's top player and keeper. The two were coincidentally named to the All-Atlantic Sun First Team, joined on that list by three other Bucs in junior defender Maximilian Muemken (Muenster, Germany), senior midfielder Alesi Osorio (Austin, Texas) and junior midfielder Itode Fubara (Ogbema, Nigeria). Preseason All-Conference junior defender Blaike Woodruff (Georgetown, Texas) landed second-team honors, while freshman defender Kristoffer Ibsen (Aalborg, Denmark) and first-year midfielder Dalton Guzman (Knoxville, Tenn.) were placed on the all-freshman team. Adding to the mix was redshirt senior Colin Pugh (Dublin, Ireland), who was named to the academic all-conference team alongside Woodruff.
Geno was certainly the clear-cut favorite player-of-the-year nominee out of the ETSU primary. The local product -- a former Dobyns-Bennett standout -- scored 11 goals and lent out seven assists to amass 29 points in the regular season. All three of those marks are new ETSU single-season records, while his goals and points totals each led the league. Geno's big season also helped him break ETSU's career goals, assists and points marks, as the third-year striker now has 23 goals and 15 assists for 61 points in his illustrious collegiate career. The first-team honors make it back-to-back selections for Geno, while he was also a part of the A-Sun's postseason honors in 2010 on the all-freshman team.
Coulter's year between the posts was surely not something to go unnoticed either. The Irish keeper finished the regular season with a GAA of 0.99, earning six shutouts in the process. Of those clean sheets, four came in conference play, with the second-year Buc also boasting the best GAA among league keepers through the eight conference games at 0.61. One of Coulter's more notable 2012 performances came in early September, shutting out then-17th-ranked UAB for just under 108 minutes, making five saves, to earn his third win in six career games against top 25 teams. In fact, in his two seasons in Johnson City, Coulter is unbeaten with a 3-0-3 record against NSCAA nationally ranked opponents, and holds an incredibly low GAA of just 0.42 in over 600 minutes of action.
Muemken, Osorio and Fubara rounded out ETSU's first-team picks, with the Buccaneers making up nearly half of the A-Sun's 11-man squad. Muemken -- in his first season with ETSU as a junior transfer from the University of Muenster -- worked his way into the starting lineup and has been arguably ETSU's best in terms of pure defending. Muemken played and started in every conference game, helping to not only generate the four shutouts, but hold opponents to a shots-on-goal percentage of just 31.6 percent. For comparison, the Bucs allowed A-Sun opponents to land 41.9 percent of their shots on goal a year ago. Fubara -- now a two-time first-team member -- scored one goal and posted three assists on the season, while transforming into more of a defensive midfielder to help Muemken and the ETSU back line keep the opposition out of goal. Meanwhile, Osorio -- an attacking midfielder -- had the biggest statistical season of his four-year career, netting four goals and tallying three assists to finish tied for second on the team with 11 points. The Austin native has been a mainstay in the Buccaneer starting lineup, and has the proof as ETSU's all-time leader in both games played and started with 75 appearances and 71 starts to his name. The all-conference acknowledgements are Osorio's first.
Woodruff was the lone Buccaneer on the All-Atlantic Sun Second Team, and rightfully deserved some postseason recognition after tying for the team-lead in assists with five from the back line. That mark also tied him for third in the conference this year, and ties him for second in the Buccaneer single-season record books. The end-of-season recognitions are the second of the junior's career, also being named to the all-freshman team in 2010.
As for the young Bucs, Ibsen and Guzman got their first taste of all-conference respects. Ibsen -- another new face on the improved ETSU back line -- played like a true defender with no shot attempts, focusing his abilities on extinguishing the opposing attack. The Danish defender played and started every conference game, working his way into the starting lineup though the non-conference season and helping in the quartet of league shutouts. Ibsen's defensive play frustrated A-Sun forwards all season long, sending their shots off target as indicated by the aforementioned 31.9 percent shots-on-goal percentage. Guzman added another new face to the late-season ETSU starting 11, making 14 appearances and eight starts total, with seven showings and four starts coming in A-Sun action.
And as if all of that wasn't enough, Pugh and Woodruff showed they had quality seasons both on the pitch and in the classroom. Carrying a 3.7 GPA in interdisciplinary studies, Pugh tied for the team lead in assists with five, and could have potentially had more if not for being sidelined toward the end of the year with an injury. Still, in only 12 games he managed to tie for third in the conference in assists, and ranks second in assists per game at 0.42. Pugh scored a goal in conference play as well, helping ETSU roll over UNF, 4-0. Woodruff -- the only Buc to appear on two postseason lists -- garnered the academic honors with his great play and a 3.42 GPA in applied science.
The A-Sun also named Mercer’s Josh Shutter Defensive Player of the Year, FGCU’s Felipe DeSousa Freshman of the Year, and Mercer head coach Brad Ruzzo Coach of the Year.
ETSU lugs its postseason accolades to Ft. Myers, Fla., on Wednesday, looking for a repeat performance from last year's A-Sun quarterfinal against Jacksonville. Start time is scheduled for 4 p.m.
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