NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – VCU’s Rafael Andrade Santos, Dayton’s Rok Taneski, Fordham's Matthew Lewis along with Davis Smith and Coach Fran O’Leary from UMass earned the Atlantic 10 Conference’s top men’s soccer awards, which were announced Wednesday ahead of the 2017 A-10 Championship Semifinals.
Santos was chosen as the league’s Offensive Player of the Year while Lewis was named the Defensive Player of the Year. Taneski was selected as Midfielder of the Year, Smith was chosen as Rookie of the Year and O’Leary was selected by his peers as A-10 Coach of the Year. The league also announced All-Conference First and Second Teams, the All-Academic Team and the All-Rookie Team.
A senior midfielder from Rio de Janiero, Brazil, Santos led both the Atlantic 10 and the Rams in goals this season with 11. He also led the league with 27 points this year and his 50 shots this year ranked him fourth in the conference. Along with being named the Player of the Year, Santos was also named to the All-Conference First Team and was a two-time A-10 Offensive Player of the Week this season.
Lewis, a Kansas City, Mo., product, helped contribute to the Rams' 10 shutouts this year and their 0.70 goals against average. To go along with the senior’s superior defense, Lewis added one goal on seven shots and four assists for the year. He was also selected to the All-Conference First Team.
Taneski, a Kranj, Slovenia native, finished the year tied for first in points (27), tied for second in goals (10), tied for third in assists (7), and fourth in the Atlantic 10 in shots with 54. Along with the sophomore midfielder’s All-Conference First Team selection, Taneski was named Offensive Player of the Week twice during the 2017 season.
Smith finished the year with nine goals, ranking him fourth in the A-10, and his 23 points ranked him inside the top five. Along with being named Rookie of the Year, the freshman midfielder from Amherst, Mass., was also an All-Conference First Team selection. Smith was the only freshman named to the All-Conference First Team. Leary, in his third season, led the Minutemen to a 6-1-1 conference record and a 13-3-3 overall. Massachusetts’ win total has improved every year throughout his tenure.
The 2017 Atlantic 10 Men’s Soccer Championship began last weekend with four quarterfinal matches at campus sites. Friday’s semifinals