Amankona, Castillo, Loebe Earn Major Men's Soccer Awards
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Dayton's Amass Amankona, VCU's Dennis Castillo and Fordham's Janos Loebe have earned the Atlantic 10 Conference Men's Soccer major end of year awards, while George Washington's Craig Jones was named Coach of the Year, the league announced Wednesday. The All-Conference, All-Rookie and All-Academic teams were also announced ahead of the 2015 Men's Soccer Championship.
In his fourth year at the helm for GW, Craig Jones has been named the 2015 Coach of Year, after leading the Colonials to their first postseason appearance in four years. Dayton's Amankona earned Offensive and Midfielder of the Year honors, while VCU's Castillo was named Defensive Player of the Year. Fordham's Loebe was named Rookie of the Year.
The league's head coaches voted on the awards and also selected the 11-member First Team and 11-member Second Team All-Conference, as well as the All-Rookie squad. An 11-member All-Academic team was also selected, based on a vote of the men's soccer media relations directors at each of the 13 member institutions.
Amankona led the Flyers throughout the season, serving as the creator in the nation’s No. 1 offense in terms of total goals and scoring offense. The midfielder had career highs with 10 goals, five assists, 25 points, and 44 shots. In A-10 play alone, the gradute student from Kumasi, Ghana, had four goals and two assists, totaling 10 points as UD finished second in the conference. He finished the regular season ranked second in the league in points and goals, and fourth in assists. On top of his two A-10 Player of the Week accolades, Amankona is also a Top 10 finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. He has helped the Flyers tie the single-season total goals record in program history at Dayton as well. Amankona is the first player to earn both offensive and midfielder honors since the addition of the midfielder award in 2007.
Castillo has been a stalwart for the VCU defense during his four-year career. The four-year captain has played an essential role in VCU's 1.20 goals against average this season, which comes a season after the defense posted the 11th best mark in the nation in that category. The senior from San Jose, Costa Rica, has scored three goals this year, which is tied for the team lead, and he also became the program's all-time leader in starts this season with 77.
Loebe led the Rams in scoring with five goals and five assists for 15 points in his first campaign at Fordham. The five helpers were good for fourth in the league. The Kierspe, Germany, product, was named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week twice, and served as Fordham’s primary person on corner kicks.
Jones guided the Colonials to an impressive turnaround. Picked to finish 10th in the A-10 preseason poll following its third straight season without a postseason appearance, GW posted its first 10-win season since 2011 and went 6-2 in conference play to claim the A-10 regular-season title and top seed in the A-10 Championship.
Joining Amankona, Castillo and Loebe on the All-Conference First Team are Dayton's Maik Schoonderwoerd, James Haupt, and Lalas Abubakar, Duquesne's Colin Phillips, George Washington's Garrett Heine, Rhode Island's Ryan Oakley and Nils Leifhelm, and Tyler David of Saint Louis.
The All-Conference Second Team consists of Dayton's Kissima Bojang, Fordham's Jannik Loebe and Matthew Lewis, La Salle's Andrew Connors, George Mason's Henning Dirks, GW's Christian Lawal, Jack Lopez and Tobi Adewole, Vince Cicciarelli and Filip Pavisic of Saint Louis, and VCU's Rafael Andrade Santos.
The 11-member All-Rookie team includes Kennedy Nwabia (Dayton); Peace Drevitch (Duquesne); Janos Loebe (Fordham); Rashid Nuhu (Fordham); Dominik Richter (Rhode Island); Emil Jesman Sunde (Rhode Island); Kosi Nwafornso (St. Bonaventure); Derek MacKinnon (Saint Joseph's); Anthony Brown (Saint Louis); Lennart Hein (Saint Louis); and Lyndsey Moreland (VCU).
The 11-member All-Academic team includes Matt Pacifici (Davidson); Amass Amankona (Dayton); James Haupt (Dayton); Andrew Lightner (Dayton); Colin Phillips (Duquesne); Sam Frymier (Duquesne); Matthew Scott (George Washington); Sam Summerlin (George Washington); Mike Casey (Rhode Island); Nils Leifhelm (Rhode Island); Pierre Gardan (VCU).
The single-elimination championship, which features the top eight teams, begins this Thursday, with top seed George Washington taking on eighth-seeded VCU at 11:00 am. The second quarterfinal at 2:00 pm features fourth-seeded Fordham and fifth-seeded Massachusetts. Second-seeded Dayton will face seventh-seed Duquesne in the 5:00 pm match-up, while third-seeded Saint Louis will face sixth-seeded Rhode Island at approximately 8:00 pm. Friday's semifinals games will begin at 5:00 pm and approximately 7:30 pm, while Sunday's Championship finale, which will air on American Sports Network, will begin at 12:00 pm, with the winner earning the A-10’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
The first two rounds of the 2015 Atlantic 10 Men's Soccer Championship are being streamed for free on the Atlantic 10 Network at atlantic10.com. Live stats, photo galleries, and game recaps will also be available on the Men's Soccer Championship Central at www.atlantic10.com. Fans can also follow Championship action on the A-10 Mobile app, available in the iTunes and Android app stores.