Nine Scots earn All-Conference, as Fernandez earns Coach of the Year

Nine Scots earn All-Conference, as Fernandez earns Coach of the Year

(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) - The USA South Athletic Conference has announced its 2017 All-Conference awards for men's soccer.

Maryville College's Pepe Fernandez earned USA South Coach of the Year for the second-consecutive season, as the All-Conference list contained nine Scots.

Fernandez, in his 29th season as the head of the Scots, earns his second consecutive and third-career USA South Coach of the Year honor. His team collected the USA South Regular Season West Division championship by posting a League record of 9-1-1.

The head coach said the award was not only his, but shared by his coaches and players alike.

"I think what people need to understand clearly what we have at Maryville," Fernandez said. "One of the things we sell is that you – since we all do both programs – that you have the opportunity to play for four head coaches. That's kind of the way we run the program. [Associate Head Coach Jon] Baker is recruiting coordinator, and he has tons of other responsibilities. No one would be here if it wasn't for him. I always tell the kids that Baker is kind of the steadying force in our program…He's got 19 years of experience. I don't really know of any other assistant coaches or associate head coaches that have that kind of experience…My name is on it, but again, it's really a credit to all these guys."

Fernandez also commended Volunteer Head Coach John LaCava and Assistant Head Coach Hemant Sharma. He said LaCava averages 60 to 70 hours a week, while bringing 24 years of coaching experience here, as well as his time as a student-athlete. The Head Coach said LaCava treats it like a full-time job.

"John LaCava has probably given more volunteer hours than any other person in Maryville College history," Fernandez said. "And that's 200 years of history."

He called Sharma one of the best goalkeeping coaches in the nation, noting his Division I experience and professional experience in helping the Scots' program.

"Hemant has forgotten more than I will ever know about goalkeeping," Fernandez said. "He is recognized throughout the country as being one of the top goalkeeper coaches around. To not give these guys the credit they deserve in this award would be an injustice."

The coach continued, saying that award would not be possible without his players – nine of which earned All-Conference honors. Maryville currently boasts a 15-2-1 overall record and is still alive in the USA South Men's Soccer Tournament as the top-seed from the West Division.

Maryville's Ryan Jorgensen earned First-Team All-Conference as a goalkeeper this season. The junior from Maryville, Tenn. has allowed just 11 goals in more than 1,500 minutes in net. He's recorded 64 saves with a .853 save percentage to go along with a 15-2-1 record.

"We think he's one of the best, if not the best in the country," Fernandez said. "It's as simple as that. Ryan has the mental tools, the physical tools and he's playing at a very high level. He's really hot right now, and we feel good about that. Through the run of play, he's only given up two goals this month. He gave up one penalty kick, and Luke Wheat gave up another. Through the run of play, he's only give up two goals. That's just off-the-charts good."

Nate Long also earned First-Team honors, as the junior has played out of position all season. Long is known as a midfielder, as he moved to play defense. In doing so, he's aided the Scots to 15 wins and an 0.861 winning percentage.

"He took on this responsibility of playing center back last year in a very selfless way," Fernandez said. "He's not only been adequate at the position, but he's excelled at the position. We wouldn't trade him for anybody. What he's done as a team player – as good as he's been and as good as he's played – what he's done for the team with his maturity and this decision to play out of position has just been outstanding. Once you have a position in soccer in your heart of what you are and the way you see yourself, and then you're asked to do something else, it's difficult. He's never complained once, and he's turned into one of the best players in the position at the conference."

In all, the Scots boasted four Second-Team All-Conference members. Randy Reichenberger earned the award as a Forward, while both Cody VanKerschaever and Johnny Rakhmonberdiev earnd Second-Team Midfield mentions. Gavin Dougherty was named a Second-Team Defensive honoree.

Milan Card and Chris Fernandez earned USA South All-Conference Honorable Mention, while Ian Schomer tallied the Scots' All-Sportsmanship award.

"It's a credit to what they've done," Fernandez said. "They've found ways to win all year long. Our only two losses are one-goal losses that could have gone either way. With the 400-something teams in the nation, I don't think there's hardly any undefeated teams left – just a handful. Two losses puts us up there with the top teams in the country, and again, it's a credit to how hard they have worked. You have to have guts and heart to play at Maryville because of the way we ask you to play."

Greensboro College's Carlos Barragan was named Player of the Year, Methodist University's Zvi Ferrari claimed Rookie of the Year honors while Maryville College's Pepe Fernandez collected Coach of the Year accolades.

Barragan, a junior midfielder from Winter Garden, Florida, becomes just the third Greensboro men's soccer player to be named USA South Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year in his career, joining Duncan Edwards and his head coach Tony Falvino.

Ferrari, a Silver Spring, Maryland, freshman forward, becomes the fourth Monarch in program history to be named USA South Rookie of the Year.


The 2017 USA South Men's Soccer All-Conference Team:

First Team
Kobi Boompong, N.C. Wesleyan
Zvi Ferrari, Methodist
Chase Kane, Piedmont
Keith Ricks, Ferrum

Carlos Barragan, Greensboro
David Cuperman, Averett
Baboucarr Njie, N.C. Wesleyan

Nate Long, Maryville
Cole Watkins, Greensboro
Walid Yacoubou, N.C. Wesleyan

Ryan Jorgensen, Maryville

Second Team
Tobias Andreasson, Averett
Jordy Briceno, Greensboro
Randy Reichenberger, Maryville
Errick Sturm, LaGrange

Ryan Mule, Greensboro
Johnny Rakhmonberdiev, Maryville
Cody VanKerschaever, Maryville

Joseph Brooks, N.C. Wesleyan
Gavin Dougherty, Maryville 
Graham Holley, Ferrum

Jordan Williams, N.C. Wesleyan

Honorable Mention
Chris Deleon, William Peace
Carl Simakoff, Covenant

Milan Card, Maryville
Chris Fernandez, Maryville
Ryan Halliday, N.C. Wesleyan

Jared Heller, Greensboro
Tyler Ursuy, Methodist

Jonathan Moore, Methodist





All-Sportsmanship Team
Mitchell Smith, Averett
Dakota Massucco, Berea
Anton Borjesson, Brevard
Nate Mackey, Covenant
Roberto Cardoso, Ferrum
Jaime Payamps, Greensboro
Jean Jocelyn, Huntingdon
Diego Torres, LaGrange
Ian Schomer, Maryville
Conor Morris, Methodist
Sheriff Secka, N.C. Wesleyan
Elvis Mendoza, Pfeiffer
Cooper Donnelly, Piedmont
Matt Comienski, William Peace