Tuesday, October 31, 2017

School-record six Warriors earn all-conference honors

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Senior midfielder Abdullahi Abdi (Seattle, Wash./James Garfield) became just the fourth Lycoming College men’s soccer player to earn all-conference honors all four years as he leads a group of a school-record tying six Warriors named to the MAC Commonwealth All-Conference teams, the conference office in Annville, Pa., announced on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

Abdi, earning first team honors, joins Matt Pivirotto (1994-97), Jeff Kocher (2002-05) and Matt Frey (2005-08) as the only other Warrior in program history to earn all-conference honors four times. Senior midfielder Jordan Logan (Oxford, Pa./Oxford) earned his third straight first team all-conference honors while senior defender Kyle Thomas (Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) earned his second first team selection and his third selection overall. Junior defender Sainclair Tueno (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair) also earned first team all-conference honors, his third straight year to earn the award. Senior midfielder Kyle Stettenbauer (Columbia, Pa./Hempfield) and junior goalkeeper Chris Solecki (Hainesport, N.J./Lenape) each earned their first all-conference honors, each earning honorable mention honors.

“It’s exciting for those guys and the program for them to be recognized by the other coaches in the conference for the season that they’ve had,” fifth-year head coach Nate Gibboney said. “Obviously they’re all very good players and have had a tremendous impact on the program not only this year but they’re all juniors and seniors and have been a big part of the program over the last three and four years.”

Abdi, earning two first and two second team honors during his career, is second on the team with 13 points while he’s tied for second with five goals and three assists. He has two game-winning goals on the season, including one in the season opener against Rutgers-Camden. He also had two assists on both goals in a 2-0 win over Medaille. In the program record book, he currently sits seventh with 75 career points while his 26 goals are eighth and his 23 assists are fourth. His 10 career game-winning goals are fourth in program history.

“Abdi does a little bit of everything and it starts with his work-rate and athleticism. There’s nobody that works harder than that guy. There’s nobody that covers more ground than Abdi,” Gibboney said. “He’s extremely fit, he’s extremely quick and he’s extremely athletic. He puts himself in positions where he can take over games. Most of the times he’s getting the ball, he’s instantly drawing double and triple teams. He’s been individually man-marked in multiple games this season, which shows you the kind of respect he has from other coaches that we’re playing against.”

Logan’s three first team honors are just one short of Pivirotto’s record four. He has three goals and three assists while playing a crucial role from his midfielder position. He scored a game-winning goal on a free kick in the 84th minute against 17th-ranked Rowan earlier in the season. Logan’s 69 career points are eighth in program history while his 27 goals are tied for seventh. He’s also second in career game-winning goals with 13 in his career.

“Jordan’s a fantastic player. He’s a great goal-scorer and a great finisher,” Gibboney said. “His role has changed throughout the season from where he’s played in past years to this year due to some injuries and different lineups. He’s pushed farther back in the field to help us win more balls and be effective through the defensive midfield, which has taken a toll on his numbers, but at the same time it has helped us become more effective in controlling the game and he’s been happy to step up and do that.”

One of the best defenders in program history, Thomas has helped the Warriors be one of the top defenses in the conference playing from his center back position. The Warriors have allowed just eight goals, tied for the least in the conference. Thomas also has a goal and an assist on the season while drawing a lot of attention on corner kicks and set pieces with his 6-6 frame. Thomas was an Academic All-MAC selection as a sophomore, as well as a Second Team NSCAA and d3soccer.com All-American while winning the MAC Commonwealth Defensive Player of the Year award.

“Kyle had a slow start due to his injury coming into camp. Everything was good and then he took a little bit of a hit in our first scrimmage against Elizabethtown. It set him back for the first couple weeks of the season, he missed a few games. We were cautious with him bringing him back. We didn’t throw him back into the lineup for 90 minutes but over time, he has gotten himself back to his old self where he’s dominating in the back,” Gibboney said. “He’s making tackles, he’s organizing, he’s winning balls in the air, he’s getting double and triple teamed on set pieces, which is opening up a lot of time and space for other players to make plays. As always, he’s done exactly what we’ve expected and been a fantastic player all season.”

Tueno, while also playing a crucial defensive role from his center back position, has turned into a major scoring threat. The three-time all-conference selection leads the team and is third in the conference with eight goals. He has three multi-goal games this season, scoring twice against 13th-ranked Scranton, Misericordia and Hood. Tueno has netted four game-winning goals, including in a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Widener.

“Sainclair’s been incredible all season,” Gibboney said. “The jump he’s made from last year to this year is leaps and bounds. He’s just so impactful with his size, his strength and athleticism. He’s the first guy that you notice. He’s all over the field - winning balls in the air, winning tackles on the ground, taking off on runs higher up the field. Obviously he’s incredible on set pieces on both ends of the field. We have him marked on the other team’s best player. Offensively, he just has a knack for getting himself involved in dangerous positions and even for a big center back, he’s a tremendous finisher, which is why he is third in the conference in goals. He’s certainly been an incredible player for us this year and a big part of why we’re 16-2 right now.”

Stettenbauer earned his first all-conference honors while starting all 18 games. He has totaled two goals and two assists while playing alongside Logan and Abdi in the midfield. Solecki has developed into one of the more reliable goalkeepers in the conference, as he has seven complete shutouts and four more combined efforts. His .871 save percentage is tops in the conference while his .472 goals against average is second.

After a historic regular season in which they won a program-record 16 regular season games, the Warriors (16-2 overall, 7-1 MAC Commonwealth) are the No. 2 seed in the MAC Commonwealth Championships and they will host third-seeded Lebanon Valley in the semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 2:30 p.m. at the Shangraw Athletic Complex.

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