Utica, NY (12/19/2012) – Four players from the Utica College men’s soccer team were named 2012 Men’s College Division Scholar All-East Region by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) on Saturday.
Seniors classmates DJ Ilebani (Abuja, Nigeria/Intl. School of Kenya) and Daniel Garcia (Fairport, NY/Fairport) as well as juniors Chris Perkins (Charlton, MA/Saint John’s of Shrewsbury) and Kevin McAllister (Boxford, MA/Masconomet Regional) were all awarded honorable mention status for their outstanding contributions, both athletically and academically, this past season.
Garcia and Ilebani are both making their second consecutive appearance on the honorable mention list. All four of these Pioneers accumulated at least a 3.5 grade point average and played a major role in the success of the program this past year.
Ilebani, a business management major, will graduate ranked ninth on the College’s all-time scoring list with 28 career points (12 goals, four assist). The honors continue to roll in for Illebani, as he was also named to the Empire 8 All-Conference Second Team and he received the program’s Hall of Fame Award, which is awarded to the senior student-athlete who has demonstrated outstanding play and dedication throughout their entire career.
Ilebani was also named the team’s Defensive MVP for his efforts this past year. He was an all-conference honorable mention selection in his freshman campaign after registering a career-high five goals. He played in 69 career games for UC. This past season he netted two goals and added one assist for UC.
Garcia, an accounting major, recently made his first appearance on the All-Conference honorable mention list and he represented Utica on the Empire 8 Sportsman of the Year Team. Garcia played in 59 career games for UC and posted a career-best four goals and two assists this past season as he started all 18 games. He also added two game-winning goals. Garcia was also the recipient of “The Pioneer Coaches Award” which is given to the student-athlete whose inspirational play and enthusiasm has most contributed to the success of the team.
McAllister, who is enrolled in the College’s physical therapy program, was an All-Conference selection for the second straight year this season. McAllister finished his third full year ranked third on the College’s all-time scoring list with 47 career points (18 goals, 11 assists).
He finished his 2012 campaign ranked fifth in the conference and first on the team with nine goals. His 22 total points led Utica and tied for seventh in the Empire 8. Over the course of the last two seasons he has recorded 17 goals and nine assists. For his efforts he was also named the team’s Offensive MVP and he was named a team captain for 2013.
Chris Perkins (Charlton, MA/Saint John’s of Shrewsbury), a nursing major with the highest grade point average on the team, started all 18 games in the back for the Pioneers. He was recently named a team captain for the second consecutive year after helping the Pioneers, and goal keeper Anthony Caruso (Easton, CT/Joel Barlow), register five shut outs and a 1.20 goals against average. UC allowed one goal or less in 13 of 18 games this past Fall.
In all, nearly 10,000 awards are presented by the NSCAA each year. These awards and recognition are available only to NSCAA member coaches and their players.
The Pioneers wrapped up their 2012 campaign with an 8-8-2 overall record and barely missed out on a bid to the coveted Empire 8 Conference Tournament. UC finished the season with an impressive 7-1-2 record on its home turf at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium. UC, which won four straight games towards the end of the year to position themselves for a post season berth, lost six games by just one goal this past season.