October 31, 2017

2017 NAC Men's Soccer All-Conference: Bellomo, Iradukunda, Kirk & Sexton Claim Top Honors

Colby-Sawyer senior Denali Sexton (Barrington, R.I.) has earned the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Men's Soccer Player of the Year honor, while Castleton junior Thomas Kirk (Gloversville, N.Y.) was selected Defensive Player of the Year. Spartan teammate Seraphin Iradukunda (Burlington, Vt.) was tabbed Rookie of the Year, Husson senior Josh Bellomo (Hudson, N.H.) was voted the Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year, Castleton head coach John O'Connor was named Coach of the Year and ten men's soccer student-athletes were selected to the Sportsmanship Team to headline the 2017 All-Conference announcement.

NAC All-Conference selections are determined by a vote of the conference coaches.

Sexton earns his second-straight NAC Player of the Year award after leading the Chargers to an 8-1 NAC regular season record and the No. 2 seed in the NAC Tournament. Sexton, a seven-time NAC Player of the Week in his career, leads Colby-Sawyer with 33 points on 11 goals and 11 assists. Five of his 11 goals have been game-winners and he leads the league in overall games in points and assists and is in the top-three in each of the three categories in NAC games only. The senior netted at least one goal in six of the nine conference games, while also tallying at least one point in seven NAC matchups. Already the Chargers' record-holder in points and goals entering the season, Sexton made it a sweep by becoming the all-time leader in assists on October 14 in a win over Green Mountain. He has 145 career points on 56 goals and 33 assists. This season, Sexton ranks 10th in the nation in assists, 28th in points per game (2.06) and 30th in total points. Among active players throughout Division III, Sexton ranks fourth in career points, fourth in goals, fifth in points per game (1.99), sixth in assists, sixth in assists per game (0.45) and seventh in goals per game (0.77). Sexton is one of only eight active players in Division III to have 25 career goals and 25 career assists.

 


Kirk has had another solid season for the Spartans, as he earned his second-consecutive NAC Defensive Player of the Year honor. The junior helped anchor a back line that posted the lowest goals against (4) and goals against average (0.43) in conference action. The defender was instrumental in helping Castleton concede less than half a goal per game on average in NAC games, as the Spartans also tallied six shutouts versus conference opponents. Impressively, Kirk and his teammates allowed no more than four shots on goal in five of the team's nine conference games. He started in all 18 games this season and set a new career high in goals (3), assists (5), and points (11). He set up even more goals off of free kicks that were sent into the box from deep. Notably, his biggest goal of the year came off of a free kick from 40-plus yards out in the second half that tied the match at 1-1 against Norwich, which proved to be the final score. He was also 2-for-2 on penalty kicks and anchored a defensive back line that allowed a league-low 21 goals and posted a league-best 1.13 goals-against average in overall games.


Iradukunda has had a remarkable first season with the Spartans so far. In conference play, the forward led the league with 22 points, 10 goals, and four game winners. He netted at least one goal in six of the team's nine conference games, including four games in which he scored two goals and seven games in which he recorded at least one point. His biggest performance so far this year came against Colby-Sawyer, as he scored both goals in a 2-0 victory over the Chargers, helping the Spartans eventually claim the top-seed in the NAC Tournament. Heading into the postseason, Iradukunda is playing his best soccer of the season with eight points in the last three matches against NAC opponents. Overall, he is tied for first in the league in goals (13) and game-winners (5), and is currently ranked third in points (30), while also posting four assists so far this season. According to the most recent NCAA Division III rankings, Iradukunda is ranked 17th in game-winning goals, 43rd in total goals, and 47th in total points.

 

Bellomo is being recognized for excelling academically and athletically throughout his undergraduate experience. He has proven himself as a leader on the field as well as in the classroom. The Accounting/MBA major was named to the NAC All-Academic Team in both 2015 and 2016. He has served as a member of the Husson Accounting Society and completed an audit internship with a public accounting firm last summer and will complete a tax internship with another public accounting firm this spring. On the pitch, Bellomo has shown sportsmanship, commitment, and dedication to every facet of the game. He played in 65 games as an Eagle, making 55 starts. The senior tallied 20 points off of 12 assists and four goals, while netting one game winner.


O'Connor has led Castleton to the No. 1 seed in the NAC Tournament after posting an unbeaten 8-0-1 record in conference play. Against NAC opponents, Castleton posted a 36-4 goal differential over nine games, with six shutouts and just once allowing more than one goal in a game. In conference action, Castleton led the league in goals, points (98), goals against, goals against average (0.43), and shutouts, while taking second in assists (26). The Spartans have been playing their best soccer late in the season, outscoring opponents 22-0 over the last four games to close out the regular season, including three-consecutive 6-0 victories. Castleton currently ranks in the top-25 in the country in four categories, as the Spartans are 19th in both total goals (49) and shots-on-goal per game (9.39), 21st in total points (132), and 25th in scoring offense (2.72). This is his third NAC Coach of the Year honor in his five seasons.


Joining Iradukunda (forward), Kirk (defender) and Sexton (forward) on the first team were Castleton senior goalkeeper Aaron Parker (White River Junction, Vt.) and sophomore midfielder Fidele Rutayisire (Colchester, Vt.), Colby-Sawyer junior defender Noah Camelo (Marblehead, Mass.) and senior midfielder Eddie Garcia (Damascus, Md.), New England College freshman defender Carter Adams (Lebanon, N.H.), senior forward Michael Skarbelis (North Andover, Mass.), and sophomore midfielder Cooper Valinski (Portsmouth, N.H.) and Thomas senior midfielder Tevin Reid (Dorchester, Mass.).

Second team selections included Castleton sophomore midfielder Jack Kingdon (Woodbury, Conn.), Colby-Sawyer junior defender Anthony Romeo (Albany, N.Y.) and senior forward Jake Sykes (Laconia, N.H.), UMaine-Farmington sophomore defender Andrew Longhurst (Middletown, Del.), Husson senior defender Gage Kennedy (Farmington, Maine), Johnson senior forward Dominic Caforia (Waterbury, Vt.), Maine Maritime sophomore defender Evan Backus (Farmington, Maine) and senior midfielder Ike Doiron (Wilton, Maine),  New England College senior goalkeeper Tenzin Khenrab (Greenfield, Mass.) and Thomas junior forward Adam LaBrie (Yarmouth, Maine) and senior midfielder Nawfal El-Antri (Dorchester, Mass.).

The NAC Men's Soccer Sportsmanship Team is reserved for those who have distinguished themselves through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior. The honorees are individuals who have positively affected the soccer culture and environment and whose behavior clearly demonstrates sportsmanship and integrity that go beyond the playing rules and etiquette. The following ten individuals have been selected to the 2017 Sportsmanship Team, Castleton senior Derek Blouin (Enosburg Falls, Vt.), Colby-Sawyer's Romeo, UMaine-Farmington sophomore Michael Pingree (Cornish, Maine), Green Mountain senior Griffin Shelor (Cedar Park, Texas), Husson senior Saker Ghanayem (Orlando, Fla.), Johnson freshman Jarod Croteau (Loudonville, N.Y.), Lyndon junior Abukar Hassan (Kenya), Maine Maritime senior Tom Samson (Waterville, Maine), New England College senior Sina Samali (North Andover, Mass.), and Thomas sophomore Jack Gallagher (Camden, Maine).

2017 Men's Soccer All-Conference Teams 

To view a PDF list of the All-Conference team click HERE.    

FIRST TEAM
F - Seraphin Iradukunda, Freshman, Castleton
F - Denali Sexton, Senior, Colby-Sawyer
F - Michael Skarbelis, Senior, New England College
M - Eddie Garcia, Senior, Colby-Sawyer
M - Tevin Reid, Senior, Thomas
M - Fidele Rutayisire, Sophomore, Castleton
M - Cooper Valinski, Sophomore, New England College
D - Carter Adams, Freshman, New England College
D - Noah Camelo, Junior, Colby-Sawyer
D - Thomas Kirk, Junior, Castleton
GK - Aaron Parker, Senior, Castleton 

SECOND TEAM
F - Dominic Caforia, Senior, Johnson
F - Adam LaBrie, Junior, Thomas
F - Jake Sykes, Senior, Colby-Sawyer
M - Ike Doiron, Senior, Maine Maritime
M - Nawfal El-Antri, Senior, Thomas
M - Jack Kingdon, Sophomore, Castleton
D - Evan Backus, Sophomore, Maine Maritime
D - Gage Kennedy, Senior, Husson
D - Andrew Longhurst, Sophomore, UMaine-Farmington
D - Anthony Romeo, Junior, Colby-Sawyer
GK - Tenzin Khenrab, Senior, New England College 

Player of the Year
Denali Sexton, Senior, Colby-Sawyer
Defensive Player of the Year
Thomas Kirk, Junior, Castleton
Rookie of the Year
Seraphin Iradukunda, Freshman, Castleton
Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year
Josh Bellomo, Senior, Husson
Coach of the Year
John O'Connor, Fifth Season, Castleton 

Sportsmanship Team
Derek Blouin, Senior, Castleton
Jarod Croteau, Freshman, Johnson
Jack Gallagher, Sophomore, Thomas
Saker Ghanayem, Senior, Husson
Abukar Hassan, Junior, Lyndon 
Michael Pingree, Sophomore, UMaine-Farmington
Anthony Romeo, Junior, Colby-Sawyer
Sina Samali, Senior, New England College
Tom Samson, Senior, Maine Maritime
Griffin Shelor, Senior, Green Mountain