Photo by Christian Bender

Martin named Rookie of the Year, 4 others honoured

By Ontario University Athletics (OUA)

BURLINGTON, Ont. – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is pleased to announce the 2018 men’s soccer major award winners and all-stars, a group that sees superb representation from the conference’s top-ranked squads.  

Most Valuable Player (West Division) – Jace Kotsopoulos, Guelph Gryphons
Jace Kotsopoulos (Burlington, Ont.) entered the season as one of the most dangerous goal-scoring threats across the country and the fourth-year striker proved why with an MVP-caliber campaign for his Guelph Gryphons. The most prolific scorer in school history – he netted his record-setting 49th career tally to put him atop the all-time list of Gryphons players – led the conference and the country in scoring thanks to his 15 on the year. He added four helps to push his leading total to 19 as well.

Beyond his uncanny scoring touch, Kotsopoulos has proven to be much more, as he boasts an all-around game that helps to catapult him into the truly elite in all of the OUA and U SPORTS, a notion that is backed whole-heartedly by his head coach and peers.

The Gryphons are so much more than a one-trick pony; however, offering up one of the deepest and most talented rosters around. On the back line, Willem Grant (Ottawa, Ont.) and Conor O’Callaghan (North Vancouver, B.C.), who make it on to the first and second team, respectively, make up a dynamic defensive duo for a Gryphons team that surrendered just 1.08 goals per game. Midfielders Ryan Vyrostko (Waterloo, Ont.) and Atchu Siva (Brampton, Ont.), who also earn first-team and second-team all-star nods, provide a two-way presence that helps them contribute to all facets of the game.

Most Valuable Player (East Division) – Dario Conte, Carleton Ravens
Dario Conte (Ottawa, Ont.) was a force to be reckoned with for the black birds this season, helping the Ravens soar to another top season, and for his efforts, has been named the East Division’s top player.

Along with the MVP selection, Conte also receives his second all-star recognition and it comes for many deserving reasons. The talented midfielder boasts terrific vision with the ball, can pass over distance, and can greatly affect the game with his ability to score in key moments. On the scoresheet, Conte’s well-rounded campaign included three goals and five assists, while also registering 33 shots.

Among those who join Conte as all-stars are five of his fellow Ravens, who have stood out for all the right reasons from the net outward. Starting between the pipes, second-year goalkeeper Nick Jeffs (Ottawa, Ont.) was a brick wall for the Ravens, conceding just three goals in his 11 starts and earning his first all-star nod in the process. On the defensive side of the ball, Carleton also sees representation from Diego Politis (Ottawa, Ont.) and Cristopher Malekos (Saint-Hyppolyte, Que.). Both are second-year players who played integral parts in keeping the ball out of harm’s way this year, en route to the team’s 11 shutouts.

Up front, and along with Conte, the Ravens boast continued talent with the likes of Emad Houache (Ottawa, Ont.) at the midfield position and Gabriel Bitar (Ottawa, Ont.) at striker. Conte’s running mate in the midfield has shown great leadership for the team this season, wile Bitar has continued to be one of the conference’s most dynamic scoring threats, as evidenced by his 13 goals on the year.

Coach of the Year (East Division) – Kwesi Loney, Carleton Ravens
At the helm of this talent group of Ravens is one of the best in the business on the sidelines, as Kwesi Loney earns the East Division’s top coach honours this year.

The Carleton coach has worked extremely hard to build an exceptional program at the university, something that has clearly paid off in the on-field product. The Ravens, who finished the regular season with a top-5 ranking in the country and a 14-1-1 record, have developed a strong culture under Loney’s guidance – on the field, in the classroom, and in the community – which includes the continued growth of the successful Junior Ravens soccer program.

Coach of the Year (West Division) – Mark Worton, Waterloo Warriors
After picking up just one win a season ago, the Waterloo Warriors took some significant steps forward this season, and one of the key contributors to that turnaround stands on the sidelines. The West Division’s Coach of the Year, Mark Worton, in just his second year, helped lead the team to a five-win and 14-point improvement, finishing with a 6-7-3 record in 2018. He also saw improvements from his team on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, with the black and gold scoring six more goals and conceding seven fewer in what was a triumphant return to the postseason for the first time since 2010.  

Rookie of the Year (West Division) – Sebastian Guerrieri, Waterloo Warriors
When it came to executing Worton’s game plan on the field, one of the key contributors was Sebastian Guerrieri (Oakville, Ont.), who made quite an impact in his first season to earn the division’s Rookie of the Year nod.

It didn’t take long for the freshman to acclimatize to the OUA scene, as he notched seven goals in his first seven games, proving to be a scoring threat early and often for the black and gold. The second-team all-star ended his rookie campaign with nine goals (T-6th in the OUA) and also registered a top-10 point total (10). And while he found the back of the net a lot, Guerrieri also proved to be an unselfish player that works extremely hard off the ball.

Rookie of the Year (East Division) – Kai Martin, Ryerson Rams
The Ryerson Rams have long been one of the premier squads in all of Canada, and this season, they added yet another threat to their lineup with East Division Rookie of the Year, Kai Martin (Toronto, Ont.). The freshman proved his worth on both sides of the ball, standing tall on the defensive end while also adding to the team’s offensive attack. Martin notched two goals to go along with five helpers, good enough for a third-ranked point total on the Rams. The TFC III alum has seen great success throughout his journey to Ryerson, and his triumphs on the pitch has translated into a bright future in the OUA.

Despite not being named an all-star himself, Martin sees a number of his Rams teammates earn the nod for their strong seasons. Among the four Ryerson players selected is first-time midfielder Abdallah El-Chanti (Toronto, Ont.), who showed off his offensive talent once again in his junior season. After starting the year as the OUA Male Athlete of the Week, El-Chanti maintained a high level of play all season long, leading his team in both goals (11) and points (12), with fifth-place rankings in both categories in the province.

Fellow midfielder Raheem Rose (Toronto, Ont.) joins El-Chanti after a three-goal and five-point season, while defenders Alex Meczarski (Richmond Hill, Ont.) and Nathaniel Tambakis (Toronto, Ont.) round out the Rams contingent on the first and second-team, respectively.  

Community Service Award (East Division) – Andrea Cicciarella, UOIT Ridgebacks
Andrea Cicciarella (Pickering, Ont.) continued to be a leader for his team and fellow Ridgebacks across the board this year as he stayed involved in the community both on and off campus. ​Over the summer, outside of working with club athletes, Cicciarella represented UOIT soccer at the Newcastle YMCA by facilitating a soccer and games day. He was also a catalyst in having the Ridgebacks return to the Hearth Place Cancer Support Centre summer camp where he ran a games day with other UOIT varsity athletes. With the soccer program he has been the coordinator in their visits to Grandview Children's Centre, which will see their most recent visit be on Halloween to help the children trick-or-treat through the centre as not all of them are able to trick-or-treat otherwise.

Also getting recognized from the Ridgebacks is midfielder Mateo Marques (Burlington, Ont.), who tied for second on the UOIT squad with a pair of goals and points on the season.

Community Service Award (West Division) – Yordan Stoyanov, McMaster Marauders
Yordan Stoyanov (Mississauga, Ont.) has made his mark as a leader for the Marauders, doing so beyond just the field of play. The West Division’s Community Service Award winner went off-campus to extend his reach, taking part in hospital visits, refereeing opportunities, and other meaningful activities, but much of his impact came through his presence and role within the university itself.

Stoyanov is heavily involved with MAC Athletes Care, helping in the organization of various events for the school community, while also going above and beyond with initiatives such as the Think Pink Initiative; student-mentoring for first-year students trying to balance academics and athletics; offering academic help across various subjects; and assisting in the organization of fundraising events such as trivia and board game night for Humanity First McMaster.

On the field, the Marauders tied for the OUA lead in all-star selections, boasting six standouts on the pitch to join Stoyanov’s contributions off it. Second-team goalkeeper Tristan Joyce (Concord, Ont.) ranked second in the OUA with an .854 SV% and 0.70 GAA for the Hamilton squad. In front of Joyce on the second team are defenders Anton Buretic (Hamilton, Ont.) and Cheikh Tchouambou (Brampton, Ont.), who anchored the fourth-ranked team defence and helped to limit the opposition to just 0.88 goals per game. The team’s final second-team selection is their leading scorer, Dusan Kovacevic (Oakville, Ont.), who tallied seven goals in his junior season to put him in the OUA’s top-10 in goals and top-20 in points.

On the first team, meanwhile, are two of McMaster’s strongest two-way players - Yunus Mollayev (Toronto, Ont.) and Anand Sergeant (Lynden, Ont.), with the former serving as the points leader for the Marauders after recording five goals and three assists for the maroon machine.

Matching the Marauders and Ravens with a collection of six all-stars is the No. 2 York Lions. Daniel Gogarty (Scarborough, Ont.) earns first-team all-star honours for the third consecutive year. The fifth-year defender has once again anchored the Lions defence this season, which allowed a division-low 12 goals on the year. Gogarty had another spectacular campaign at the centre back position and consistently limited opposition scoring chances, while also jump-starting the Lions offence with well-placed clears to the forward group. Josh Kiselyov (Maple, Ont.) also joins his defence partner on the all-star team with his first OUA award. The left-back has been an integral part of the Lions’ play this season, using his physicality and high soccer IQ to shut down opposing forwards and help the squad to six shutouts on the season.

Jorga Nika (East York, Ont.) is another first-time OUA all-star for the Lions. The fourth-year midfielder is in his first season with the school after playing professionally in Germany for a number of years. Nika had four goals, 13 shots, eight shots on goal, and one game-winning goal on the season, while also picking up weekly honours for York last month. Closing out the Lions’ first-team selections is Omar Marzouk (North York, Ont.). He burst onto the OUA scene this year with 14 goals in 15 games, ranking second in the OUA, with four of them coming via the game-winning variety. He’s been a consistent source of offence, scoring goals in 11 of the team’s regular season games.

Cristian Cavallini (Woodbridge, Ont.), the OUA West Division MVP last season, picks up another honour for his trophy case this season with the second-team recognition. The senior midfielder placed second on the Lions with eight goals on the year to go along with 32 shots and 20 shots on goal. Staking claim to a spot on the second-team as well is midfielder Emmanuel Zambazis (Toronto, Ont.).

The remaining representatives from the West Division hail from Western, as a trio of Mustangs ride their way into the all-star ranks. Kody Thompson (Calgary, Alta.) earns the nod as the first-team goalkeeper after turning away 21 shots in 12 games and posting a 0.96 GAA for the purple and white. Playing a critical role for the strong defensive unit in front of Thompson is Jon Hodge (London, Ont.), a second-team selection, while Jeremy Arnold (Kingston, Ont.) rounds out the ‘Stangs standouts at the midfield position.

Another team that saw all-star worthy seasons from multiple players was the Varsity Blues, as four Toronto players earned recognition this year. Striker Jae Jin Lee (Toronto, Ont.) makes the OUA first team all-star squad for the first time in his career. His seven goals ranked tenth in the province and second-highest on the Blues. On two different occasions, the fourth-year player registered two goals in a match, while also recording an assist on an extra time goal that handed the No. 3 Carleton Ravens their first and only loss of the season. Fellow fourth-year Kenny Lioutas (Toronto, Ont.) improved on last year’s second team all-star nod to earn first-team honours this time around, as the defender dressed in 15 games and recorded a goal and an assist.

For the third straight season, defender Nikola Stakic (Scarborough, Ont.) earns an OUA all-star nod, this time to the second team. The third-year defender tied a career-high in goals with four but more important, set up the game-winner in extra time in the team’s 1-0 playoff victory over Laurentian. Lastly, second-year midfielder Marko Mandekic (Kitchener, Ont.) receives a second-team honour in 2018 by showing off his impressive all-around abilities across his seven games played.

Laurier’s all-star comes from their back line, and it is Tahrik Rodriques (Scarborough, Ont.) who earns the nod in his fifth and final season with the Hawks. The defender started all 16 games for the second time in his career and was consistently the anchor of the team’s back four. As if his stellar defensive play wasn’t enough, Rodriques also put the cherry on top of his purple and gold career by scoring his lone goal of the season in his final home game.

For the Queen’s Gaels, they have a trio of second-teamers on the roster. Michael Chang’s (Mississauga, Ont.) role with the Gaels was that of playmaking midfielder, and it was one in which he took on with great success. He led the team with five goals and six points while starting 14 of the team’s matches. He also led the team with 20 shots on goal and buried three game-winners.

Second-year defender Zachary Toupin (Winnipeg, Man.) was the Gaels’ leader on the back end. His 6’4” frame was a consistent force in the Queen’s end, leading the team to six clean sheets. He also chipped in offensively with two goals and an assist, using his height to leap high over defenders from corner opportunities. The final Tricolour rep is Junior Kwame Addai (Calgary, Alta.), who netted three goals during his all-star worthy campaign.

Ryan Roy (Barrie, Ont.) and Jamal Brown (Barrie, Ont.) from the Nipissing Lakers make their way onto the East Division’s second team, after carrying the offensive and defensive load, respectively. Roy had a big season for the Lakers, leading the team in goals (5) and tying for the team lead in points (6), with one of his markers coming as a game-winner. The scoring effort also represented a career-high for the striker. Brown, meanwhile, was arguably the team’s best defender this year, playing a pivotal role all season long. He thrived in breaking up plays and was key on set pieces, while also helping the team in transition and contributing offensively with four goals.

The final representatives come from the Laurentian Voyageurs, a duo that includes goalkeeper Connor Vande Weghe (Sudbury, Ont.) and defender Liam Ezzard (Thunder Bay, Ont.).

The complete list of 2018 men’s soccer major award winners and all-stars is as follows:

Most Valuable Player (East) – Dario Conte, Carleton
Most Valuable Player (West) – Jace Kotsopoulos, Guelph
Coach of the Year (East) – Kwesi Loney, Carleton
Coach of the Year (West) – Mark Worton, Waterloo
Rookie of the Year (East) – Kai Martin, Ryerson
Rookie of the Year (West) – Sebastian Guerrieri, Waterloo
Community Service Award (East) – Andrea Cicciarella, UOIT
Community Service Award (West) – Yordan Stoyanov, McMaster

First Team All-Stars (East)
Goalkeeper – Nick Jeffs, Carleton
Defence – Diego Politis, Carleton
Defence – Kenny Lioutas, Toronto
Defence – Cristopher Malekos, Carleton
Defence – Alex Meczarski, Ryerson
Midfielder – Dario Conte, Carleton
Midfielder – Emad Houache, Carleton
Midfielder – Raheem Rose, Ryerson
Midfielder – Abdallah El-Chanti, Ryerson
Striker – Gabriel Bitar, Carleton
Striker – Jae Jin Lee, Toronto

Second Team All-Stars (East)
Goalkeeper – Connor Vande Weghe, Laurentian
Defence – Jamal Brown, Nipissing
Defence – Zachary Toupin, Queen’s
Defence – Nathaniel Tambakis, Ryerson
Defence – Liam Ezzard, Laurentian
Midfielder – Michael Chang, Queen’s
Midfielder – Mateo Marques, UOIT
Midfielder – Nikola Stakic, Toronto
Midfielder – Marko Mandekic, Toronto
Striker – Junior Kwame Addai, Queen’s
Striker – Ryan Roy, Nipissing

First Team All-Stars (West)
Goalkeeper – Kody Thompson, Western
Defence – Daniel Gogarty, York
Defence – Tahrik Rodriques, Laurier
Defence – Josh Kiselyov, York
Defence – Willem Grant, Guelph
Midfielder – Yunus Mollayev, McMaster
Midfielder – Jorgo Nika, York
Midfielder – Anand Sergeant, McMaster
Midfielder – Ryan Vyrostko, Guelph
Striker – Omar Marzouk, York
Striker – Jace Kotsopoulos, Guelph

Second Team All-Stars (West)
Goalkeeper – Tristan Joyce, McMaster
Defence – Jon Hodge, Western
Defence – Anton Buretic, McMaster
Defence – Conor O’Callaghan, Guelph
Defence – Cheikh Tchouambou, McMaster
Midfielder – Jeremy Arnold, Western
Midfielder – Cristian Cavallini, York
Midfielder – Emmanuel Zambazis, York
Midfielder – Atchu Siva, Guelph
Striker – Dusan Kovacevic, McMaster
Striker – Sabastian Guerrieri, Waterloo

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