Grant named Coach of Year, Watson earns Freshman of Year for men's soccer
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Grant named Coach of Year, Watson earns Freshman of Year for men's soccer
Tyler Watson posted nine goals and four assists, earning Mid-South Conference Freshman of the Year honors. (Credit William Ku)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Cumberland’s Bennet Strutz, Sondre Risa, Tyler Watson, Markus Skraastad, Brian McNamara and Daniel Williams were voted First Team All-Mid-South Conference, Watson earned Freshman of the Year honors and Adam Grant garnered Coach of the Year accolades, as announced by the league office Wednesday night.

Bakary Bagayogo was named Second Team All-Mid-South as well during a banquet in Bowling Green, Ky., ahead of the conference tournament that begins Thursday at Warren Central High School.

McNamara leads the Mid-South Conference in goals with 15 and points with 35, tallying five assists in 16 matches. The Kildare, Ireland, native netted 10 of his 15 goals against league competition, including a hat trick versus Georgetown College and two goals against the University of the Cumberlands, Lindsey Wilson and the University of Pikeville.

Williams got off to a tremendous start with seven goals in the first three matches of the season before an ankle injury slowed him. The London, England native scored once versus Pikeville and Life University and posted two goals against Shawnee State in league play, collecting 13 goals and four assists in 14 outings.

Watson finished the regular season with nine goals and four assists, ranking third on the club in goals and 10th in the conference. The Simi Valley, Calif., native scored the game-winner in a 2-0 victory versus Martin Methodist and recorded three goals and two assists in seven league matches.

Skraastad was second on the club with six assists and helped control the middle of the field along with freshmen Watson and Patrick Crowley. He registered two assists versus the Cumberlands and one each against Lindsey Wilson and Shawnee State.

Strutz ranks second in the Mid-South Conference and 12th nationally with a 0.84 goals-against-average, a tribute to his skills in net but also the guys on the backline in front of him, including Risa. Strutz has seven shutouts to his credit this season and Cumberland has 10 as a team, with the junior playing all but 82 minutes in net in 16 matches. He has 42 saves overall and has allowed just 13 goals in 16 outings.

Risa ended the year with one goal and two assists despite few offensive chances, mostly on corner kicks as a 6-foot-4 target. Risa, junior Tosin Abudiore and freshmen Jonathan Walderstrom, Aidan Doherty and Austin Morenzoni formed the backline all season in front of Strutz and were directly responsible for the team’s 10 shutouts.

Bagayogo tied for the conference lead with nine assists while adding five goals. The Bronx, N.Y., native scored a point in 4-of-7 league matches, including an assist in a 1-1 draw at Campbellsville University, two assists versus Pikeville and a goal against Shawnee State.

Grant led the Phoenix to a 12-2-2 overall mark and 5-1-1 record in Mid-South action in his first season as men’s head coach. He spent the last two years as head coach of the Cumberland women, compiling a 22-14-2 mark overall, including 13-5-2 in 2016. CU won an NAIA Opening Round match for the fourth time in five years.

This season the Phoenix have outscored opponents, 56-16, including 27-11 in league play, doing so with as many as seven freshmen on the field at the same time. Twelve newcomers have seen action this year and nine have posted points for Cumberland, which begins play in the Mid-South Conference Championships on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. CT versus Georgetown.

FIRST TEAM ALL-MID-SOUTH CONFERENCE
GK – Andreas Nota, Campbellsville University
GK – Bennet Strutz, Cumberland University
D – Nathan Heath, Campbellsville University
D – Daniel Nimmo, Campbellsville University
D – Sondre Risa, Cumberland University
D – Yuta Tamamoto, Lindsey Wilson
MF – Tom Edge, Campbellsville University
MF – David Ibrahimkadic, Lindsey Wilson
MF – Dioulde Niane, Lindsey Wilson
MF – Tyler Watson, Cumberland University
MF – Markus Skraastad, Cumberland University
F – Tyler Collishaw, Lindsey Wilson
F – Ignacio Mangada, Campbellsville University
F – Brian McNamara, Cumberland University
F – Mutaya Mwape, Lindsey Wilson
F – Daniel Williams, Cumberland University
F – Yudai Yamauchi, Campbellsville University

SECOND TEAM ALL-MID-SOUTH CONFERENCE
GK – William Diaz, Lindsey Wilson
GK – Daryoush Hosseini, Life University
D – Moustapha Fofana, Lindsey Wilson
D – Rickard Hallin, Campbellsville University
D – Nicholas Marcano, Lindsey Wilson
D – Brandon Scherr, University of the Cumberlands
MF – Cameron Badenhorst, Campbellsville University
MF – Bakary Bagayogo, Cumberland University
MF – Mark Callaghan, Campbellsville University
MF – Joel Drewery, University of the Cumberlands
F – Aleksa Blagojevic, University of the Cumberlands
F – Thierry Jules, Life University
F – Wessley Soronellas, Life University
F – Sam Wills, Campbellsville University

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Daniel Nimmo, Campbellsville University; Tyler Collishaw, Lindsey Wilson
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Tyler Watson, Cumberland University
COACH OF THE YEAR: Adam Grant, Cumberland University; Ray Wells, Lindsey Wilson
CHAMPIONS OF CHARACTER: Nicklas Nancke, University of the Cumberlands