Nov. 8, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Senior forward Ryan Finley was named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year for men's soccer and he headlined a group of seven Notre Dame players that earned all-league accolades as the conference announced its postseason honors on Thursday.
Senior midfielder Dillon Powers joined Finley on the All-BIG EAST First Team, while Nick Besler (So./M), Harrison Shipp (Jr./F) and Grant Van De Casteele (Sr./D) were third-team selections. Patrick Hodan (Fr./M) and Max Lachowecki (So./D) were named to the All-BIG EAST Rookie Team.
Notre Dame and Georgetown both received the Team Fair Play Award after totaling 110 points. Georgetown had 80 fouls and six yellow cards, while Notre Dame had 75 fouls and seven yellow cards. The award is given to the team or teams with the lowest total: foul (one point), yellow card (five points) and red card (10 points). This is the second straight season that the Irish earned the Team Fair Play Award.
Finley (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley/Duke) was one of two unanimous selections to the all-conference first team. He led all BIG EAST players with 12 goals in league play and currently ranks second nationally with 18 goals in addition to being third in total points with 40. Finley has five multiple-goal games this season, including a hat trick against Providence. He has played in all 18 matches this season.
Finley is the third Notre Dame player to be named the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year. Joseph Lapira won the award in 2006 and Bright Dike took home the honor in 2009. This is the second conference player-of-the-year award for Finley, who was named the 2010 ACC Offensive Player of the Year while at Duke. Finley was an All-BIG EAST Second Team selection last season, which was his first at Notre Dame after transferring from Duke.
"It's always nice to get recognized and to win an award, but all the credit goes to the team," said Finley. "It's kudos to everyone on the team for making this happen. It's a tribute to all the hard work that we've put into this season. Boss (head coach Bobby Clark) talked to us about how these aren't individual honors, they are team honors.
"We could have maybe had a couple more guys get recognized tonight. We have a lot of guys on the team that put in the `dirty work' that doesn't always get noticed."
Powers (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior) has been a mainstay in the Irish midfield over the past four seasons and this is his fourth all-BIG EAST honor. He was a second team pick as a sophomore and junior and was on the all-rookie squad in 2009. The central midfielder has played in a team-best 69 straight games, including 56 consecutive starts, and has posted career-high totals this season in points (14) and assists (6). His four goals this season have tied a career-best mark. Powers, an Irish team captain, also is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award.
Besler (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) has teamed up with Powers in the central midfield this season. He has started all 18 matches and ranks second on the team in minutes played (1647). The sophomore also has one assist. This is his first all-conference accolade.
Shipp (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) has registered a career-high 15 points this season on five goals and five assists. He notched his first career hat trick in a 6-1 win at Seton Hall. Shipp and Finley have formed a dynamic duo in the Irish attack and are key reasons why Notre Dame is fourth nationally in goals scored (44). This is the second BIG EAST postseason honor for Shipp, who was an all-rookie pick in 2009. He has played in all 56 matches during his Notre Dame career.
Van De Casteele (Plano, Texas/Frisco Centennial) has played every minute this season and has anchored the Irish backline en route to seven shutouts. The central defender headed home the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory at Indiana. This is his first all-BIG EAST citation.
Hodan (Brookfield, Wis./Marquette University High School) has compiled an impressive rookie campaign for the Fighting Irish. He ranks second on the team in goals (6), assists (5) and points (17) in 18 games played. Hodan notched two goals and three assists in regular-season league play. He produced a two-goal, one-assist effort in Saturday's 4-2 comeback win at Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship.
Lachowecki (Evansville, Ind./Reitz Memorial) has had a breakout season after not playing during his freshman season. The left back has started every match and is third on the team in minutes played (1625). He has one goal and two assists. Lachowecki deposited the game winner in a 1-0 victory over Oregon State.
Connecticut sophomore Andre Blake was named BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year, while his teammate Carlos Alvarez was tapped as the midfielder of the year. Louisville junior Andrew Farrell was selected as the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year. Farrell and Finley were the only two unanimous selections to the All-BIG EAST First Team. Georgetown's Brandon Allen was chosen as the league's rookie of the year
Syracuse's coaching staff was named BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year. All of the awards were voted on by the league's head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own players.
Notre Dame tied Marquette for third place in the BIG EAST Blue Division as both squads posted identical 5-2-1 conference records. Connecticut and Georgetown shared the Blue Division title with 6-2-0 league marks. All four teams advanced to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship, which will take place this weekend. Louisville captured the Red Division title with a 7-1-0 league record.
The fifth-ranked Fighting Irish (14-3-1) will face No. 8 Connecticut (15-2-1) in the conference semifinals at 7:30 p.m. (ET) Friday at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. Georgetown and Marquette will square off at 5 p.m. (ET) in the first semifinal. Both matches can be seen live on CBS Sports Network. The BIG EAST Championship final is slated for noon (ET) on Sunday at PPL Park.
BIG EAST Men's Soccer Awards
Offensive Player of the Year
All-BIG EAST First Team^
^ - extra members due to ties in voting