November 12, 1998
Notre Dame, Ind. -- Freshman Shane Walton (San Diego, Calif.) who led the Irish in scoring with 10 goals and seven assists in 1998, as a unanimous selection to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team. The announcement came at the 17th annual BIG EAST men's soccer banquet held in Piscataway, N.J.
Walton, along with senior goalkeeper Greg Velho (Longwood, Fla.) and junior defender Matt McNew (Arlington, Tex.) were also named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team. Walton and forward Gregory Strohman of Seton Hall were the only freshmen chosen to the second team, while Chris Gbandi of Connecticut, who earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Year honors, was selected to the all-conference first-team.
Velho, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 1996 BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship after leading the Irish to their first-ever tournament crown, earns all-conference honors for the first time in his career. Velho, who closed out his Notre Dame career as the school's all-time saves leader with 311 and had 26 shutouts during his four-year career, played every minute of every game for the Irish over the last 50 outings. He registered a 1.04 goals against average this season with a .808 save percentage, allowed 20 goals and made 84 saves.
McNew, who is also making his first-ever appearance on an all-conference team, was one of seven players to start all 18 games. He scored a goal and dished off two assists, and was instrumental in helping the Irish post five shutouts during the season.
Notre Dame finished the season with a 9-6-3 mark in 1998 and earned a third consecutive berth in the BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship after finishing the regular season with a 5-4-2 league record. The Irish were eliminated by St. John's in quarterfinals 2-0 in a game played in Jamaica, N.Y. last Saturday (November 4).