Eleven Missouri Valley Conference men's soccer players, highlighted by four first team selections, have earned 2012 NSCAA/Continental Tire All-Midwest Region honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, as announced by the association Monday.
MVC Player of the Year Jose Gomez of Creighton, MVC Defensive Player of the Year Andrew Ribeiro, SIUE sophomore defender Matt Polster and SIUE sophomore forward Christian Volesky have each earned positions on the all-region first team.
Five players - Bradley's Jochen Graf and Tapiwa Machingauta, Drake's Michael Thaden and SIUE's Ryan Bauer - were named to the all-region second team, while an additional three players - Bradley's Brian Billings, Evansville's Faik Hajderovic and SIUE's Peter Kelly - were named to the third team.
FIRST TEAM HONOREES
Jose Gomez, Creighton
Gomez claimed 2012 All-America First Team honors from College Soccer News as a senior midfielder. The online organization recognized Ribeiro as a member of its 2012 All-America Second Team as a senior defender.
Gomez, one of three finalists for the 2012 MAC Hermann Trophy this winter, is the reigning 2012 Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Player of the Year and 2012 MVC Tournament MVP after helping the Jays claim their 13th Valley tournament championship and 20th NCAA Tournament appearance.
Matt Polster (SIUE)
Polster started 19 of SIUE's 20 games during the year, helping anchor a defense that finished with a goals against average of just 0.84. Polster recorded five shots during the season.
Andrew Ribeiro, Creighton
The 2012 First Team All-MVC selecation started all 24 matches for the Bluejays this season. Gomez finished the year ranked No. 20 nationally and led the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) with nine assists. His latest helper came Dec. 2 in an NCAA quarterfinal win at No. 4 seed Connecticut on the game-winning goal scored by Christian Blandon with 90 seconds remaining. The senior co-captain completed 2012 at No. 71 in the country and second in the MVC with 21 points this season (6 goals, 9 assists). He launched at least one shot attempt in each match this season and recorded a shot on goal in 16 contests. Earlier this season he earned an assist on all three CU goals at Princeton (10/9), the first Bluejay to accomplish the feat since Nov. 8, 2008.
Ribeiro, the reigning 2012 MVC Defensive Player of the Year, started every contest for CU this year. He also claimed an All-MVC First Team selection and earned MVC All-Tournament team honors after scoring the game-winning goal against SIU Edwardsville in the MVC Tournament Championship.
Christian Volesky (SIUE)
Volesky led SIUE and the Missouri Valley Conference with nine goals during the season. He also led the Cougars with 48 total shots and 23 shots on goal.
SECOND TEAM HONOREES
Ryan Bauer, SIUE
Bauer started all 20 games in the midfield for the Cougars, leading the team with five assists during the season.
Jochen Graf, Bradley
Despite missing seven games due to injury, Graf shared team-leading honors with seven goals in 2012, including a pair of game-winning strikes. With seven goals and 16 points in just 13 games, Graf led The Valley by averaging 0.54 goals per game and 1.23 points per game. He ended his career tied for eighth in Bradley history with 14 career assists, equaling the most by a Brave since Luke Kreamalmeyer (20) and Preston Good (15) ended their Bradley careers in 2004.
Tapiwa Machingauta, Bradley
Machingauta was the only Brave to start all 20 games in 2012 and he played all but 46 minutes the entire season, anchoring Bradley’s backline from his sweeper position. In addition to his defensive work, which helped Bradley to five shutouts and limited the opposition to just 4.7 shots on goal per game, Machingauta recorded a pair of assists this year.
Michael Thaden, Drake
A first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference honoree, Thaden started all 21 games for Drake, registering team highs in goals (7), points (17), shots (52) and game-winners (2). He also contributed three assists this past season.
Thaden ranked fifth, sixth and seventh in the MVC, respectively, in goals (0.33), shots (2.48) and points (0.81) per game. In conference-only tilts, he finished third, third, fourth, seventh and eighth in game-winning goals (0.17), goals per game (0.33), points per match (0.83), shots per contest (2.50) and assists per game (0.17).
THIRD TEAM HONOREES
Billings posted a 9-6-4 record between the pipes in 2012, recording 4.0 shutouts and a 1.15 goals against average. Bradley’s active leader with 59 career starts, Billings will begin the 2013 season ranked third in school history with 31 career goalkeeping victories and a 1.13 career goals against average. He also ranks fourth with 5,483 career minutes played and 13.0 shutouts.
Faik Hajderovic, Evansville
Hajderovic led the Purple Aces offensively with 15 points, recording five goals and five assists during his freshman campaign to earn All-Missouri Valley Conference honorable mention status, All-MVC Freshman Team recognition and a spot on the MVC All-Tournament Team. The St. Louis native also attempted a team-high 45 shots and led UE with 20 shots on goal.
Hajderovic opened his collegiate career by scoring six points in his first five collegiate games and earned MVC Offensive Player of the Week honors on Oct. 1. The freshman forward notched his first-career goal in a win over Cincinnati to earn a spot on the ProRehab Aces Soccer Classic All-Tournament team.
Peter Kelly, SIUE
Kelly finished second to Volesky in scoring with 13 points. He notched five goals and added three assists. Kelly tied for the team lead with three game-winning goals during the season.