Nov. 14, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Atlantic Coast Conference on Thursday announced its men's soccer awards and all-conference teams and it was a major haul for league-newcomer Notre Dame. Senior forward Harrison Shipp was named ACC Offensive Player of the Year, Bobby Clark was selected as ACC Coach of the Year and six Fighting Irish players garnered all-conference accolades.
Joining Shipp on the All-ACC First Team was his Fighting Irish teammate Nick Besler, a junior midfielder. Sophomore midfielder Patrick Hodan copped second-team honors, while Grant Van De Casteele (Sr./D), Luke Mishu (Sr./D) and Vince Cicciarelli (Jr./F) all were named to the third team.
Notre Dame led all teams with six All-ACC selections. Duke, Maryland, North Carolina and Wake Forest all had four players recognized.
Clark, along with associate head coach BJ Craig, assistant coach Greg Dalby and volunteer assistant Vern Gingerich, guided the Fighting Irish to a share of the ACC regular-season title in just their first season in the league. Notre Dame and Maryland tied for first with identical 7-1-3 conference marks. The Irish are 12-1-5 overall and currently are the consensus No. 1 team in the nation.
This is the sixth conference coach-of-the-year award for Clark. He was tapped as the BIG EAST coach of the year twice (2001 & 2004) and while at Stanford he was the two-time Mountain Pacific Sports Federation coach of the year (1996 & 1997) and the Pac-10 coach of the year in 2000.
"Any time I've ever had a lot of players get awards the team has always done well," Clark said. "Obviously they are a big part of the team, but there's a lot more to this team than the people who got honored and they would be the first to agree with me on that. This has been a really together team. Even the last guy on the squad has contributed this year and that's one of the reasons we've been successful and getting honors."
Shipp ranks second in the league in points (24), is tied for second in assists (8) and is tied for third in goals (8). The Lake Forest, Ill., native tallied a league-best five game-winners, including the golden goal in a 2-1 win at Clemson and a 90th-minute tally in a 1-0 victory at Virginia Tech. Shipp is the first Notre Dame student-athlete to earn an ACC Player of the Year award in any sport. This is the second all-league honor for Shipp, who was on the all-BIG EAST third team last season.
"It's always hard to do individual awards in a team sport especially with the great season we've had so far," Shipp said. "This is a testament to how well we've played considering we've had some key guys injured. Guys have stepped up all season. The defense has really kept us in games, which has allowed us to make some big plays towards the end of games and get some game-winning goals."
Besler (Overland Park, Kan.) is an anchor in the Fighting Irish midfield. He played every minute during the first 10 matches of the season, but has missed the last eight games with an injury. The central midfielder has contributed mightily to the success of the team's stout defensive unit.
Hodan (Brookfield, Wis.) has compiled 14 points on five goals and four assists in 16 matches. The point and assist totals rank second among all Irish players, while the goal tally is tied for second. The sophomore netted the lone goal in Tuesday's 1-0 win over Duke in the quarterfinals of the ACC Championship.
Van De Casteele (Plano, Texas) has played every minute in the central defense this season and is a key reason why Notre Dame has posted eight shutouts and currently possess the nation's eighth-best goals-against average (0.57). The Irish have notched three straight shutouts and currently have a season-best scoreless streak of 320:25. Van De Casteele, a third-team all-BIG EAST pick a year ago, assisted on Notre Dame's goal in a 1-1 draw with Maryland.
Mishu (Knoxville, Tenn.) has been another major factor in the Irish defense from his right back position. He has played every minute over the course of the last 17 matches and has assisted on two goals.
Cicciarelli (Peoria, Ill.) has had a breakout junior campaign, tallying five goals and one assist in 18 matches (14 starts). Three of his goals occurred in ACC play, including the Irish score in the 1-1 tie with Maryland. Cicciarelli has deposited a goal in three of the last four games.
Notre Dame will face No. 10 Virginia Friday in the semifinals of the ACC Championship. The match is slated for 5:30 p.m. (ET) at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown, Md. The game can be seen live on ESPN3.
ACC Offensive Player of the Year - Harrison Shipp, Sr., F, Notre Dame
All-ACC First Team
All-ACC Second Team
All-ACC Third Team
All-ACC Freshman Team
-- Sean Carroll, Assistant Athletic Media Relations Director