Wesleyan’s Donaldson named MEC Coach of the Year, four Bobcats on first team

BRIDGEPORT — The University of Charleston’s Will Roberts, Thomas Vancaeyezeele and Kieran Bywater, along with West Virginia Wesleyan’s Gavin Donaldson have earned top honors from the Mountain East Conference as the league announced its annual awards and all-conference teams.

The Bobcats, who will visit Charleston in Sunday’s MEC title game, also placed defender Josh Spencer, midfielders Kevin Nyambi and Paul Smith and forward Juwon Akintunde on the first team.

Roberts, a senior from Wales, is the league’s Offensive Player of the Year for the second time in his career after winning the award in 2015. He closed out the final regular season with 11 goals and five assists for a total of 27 points. His 1.80 points per game were second in the league, ane he was the only player in the conference to rank in the top three in both goals and assists per game.

Vancaeyezeele, a senior from Caan, France, is the MEC Defensive Player of the Year after leading one of the nation’s top defenses in 2017. The Golden Eagles allowed just five shots per game and conceded just six goals all year, and allowed more than one goal in one game this season. Vancaeyezeele also stepped forward to contribute four goals and two assists on the season.

Bywater, a native of Manchester, England, is the conference’s Freshman of the Year for his play for UC in the midfield. Bywater matched the league lead with eight assists in his first season for the Golden Eagles. The eight assists rank third among all freshman in NCAA Division II so far this season.

Donaldson was named MEC Coach of the Year after leading West Virginia Wesleyan to a runner-up finish in the MEC. The Bobcats, who finished fourth a season ago, went 10-5-3 overall this season and earned 25 league points to take second. West Virginia Wesleyan earned a national ranking this year for the first time since joining the MEC.

In addition to the individual honors, the league also announced the All-MEC teams. Regular season champion Charleston had six first team selections, while runner-up West Virginia Wesleyan had four. Urbana and Notre Dame each had two first team honorees.

The All-MEC teams are selected by a vote of the league’s coaches.

2017 All-MEC First Team

GK — Paulo Pita, Charleston

D — Josh Spencer, W.Va. Wesleyan

D — Harry Tamplin, Urbana

D — Paolo Termine, Notre Dame

D — Armando Tikvic, Charleston

D — Thomas Vancaeyezeele, Charleston

M — Kieran Bywater, Charleston

M — Patrick Guier, Charleston

M — Kevin Nyambi, W.Va. Wesleyan

M — Paul Smith, W.Va. Wesleyan

F — Juwon Akintunde, W.Va. Wesleyan

F — Leonardo Paiva, Notre Dame

F — Antoine Ravera, Urbana

F — Will Roberts, Charleston


Second Team

GK — Tyler Shotwell, Wheeling Jesuit

D — Robin Lapert, Charleston

D — Lewis Norvock, Notre Dame

D — Zack Poff, Urbana

M — Matthew Bentley, W.Va. Wesleyan

M — Reece Daly, Notre Dame

M — Jasminko Dizdarevic, Urbana

M — Mats Jota, Notre Dame

F — Sam Ashton, Concord

F — Ettore Ballestracci, Charleston

F — Thibaut Bourrier, Urbana


Honorable Mention

Xander Bailey (D, Concord), Pedro Bassin (D, Concord), Sam Bethell (D, Charleston), Gabriel Cabral (M, Charleston), Ben Cancian (M, Urbana), Luca Falconieri (M, W.Va. Wesleyan), Guilherme Gloria Albuquerque (F, Notre Dame), Williams N’Dah (D, Charleston), Bryce Porter (D, Wheeling Jesuit)


All-Freshman Team

M — Kieran Bywater, Charleston

M — Moulay Hassani, Concord

D — Dominique Pierce, Wheeling Jesuit

D — Zack Poff, Urbana

M — Kazuma Takagi, W.Va. Wesleyan

                          Individual   Offensive Player of the Year: Will Roberts (Charleston)

Defensive Player of the Year: Thomas Vancaeyezeele (Charleston)

Freshman of the Year: Kieran Bywater (Charleston)

Coach of the Year: Gavin Donaldson (W.Va. Wesleyan)


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