Nov. 7, 2012
Following one of the most successful regular seasons in program history, Siena Men's Soccer was honored for their accomplishments in a major way Wednesday night. Fifth-year head coach Gareth Elliott was named the Anaconda Sports MAAC Coach of the Year and senior striker Sindre Ek was tabbed the MAAC Offensive Player of the Year at the conference's awards banquet in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Junior captain James Beeston joined Ek on the MAAC First Team, while center backs Falko Friedrichs and Jannis Opalka earned Second Team All-MAAC Honors. Freshmen Matt Needham and Tom Allen as well as first-year player Damian Liesemann were named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team.
Siena made program history with their awards in several ways. It marked the first time the Saints boasted the conference's coach of the year and also the first time in which the program received multiple First Team All-MAAC selections. The Saints also excelled in the classroom where they had a record 10 student athletes names to the MAAC All-Academic Team.
Elliott guided the Saints to a 10-6 regular season record including a 6-1 mark in the MAAC. The 10 wins tie for the second most in program history and the Saints .857 conference winning percentage is the best ever. Additionally, Elliott led the Saints to the No. 2 seed in the conference championships after the team finished 10th a year ago.
Ek joins Emery Welshman (2010) as the only Saints to be named MAAC Offensive Player of the Year. The native of Oslo, Norway enters the MAAC Championships tied for the league lead in both points (29) and game-winning goals (four). He ranks 13th nationally in scoring and his 12 goals are the 17th highest total in all of Division I.
Beeston has anchored the Saints at center midfield this season, starting in and playing all 16 games. Beeston is tied for the MAAC lead with seven assists and now ranks second all-time in program history with 20 overall.
Friedrichs and Opalka have enjoyed impressive seasons on both sides of the pitch. Friedrichs stands second on the team with a pair of game-winning goals totaling seven points overall, while Opalka, a senior captain and Senior CLASS Award candidate, has led the defense.
Needham has emerged as a solid defender, starting all 12 games in which he has played. Named the MAAC Rookie of the Week following the opening week of the season, Allen has tallied seven points on three goals and an assist. Named the MAAC Rookie of the Week Oct. 8, Liesemann has started 14 of the Saints' 16 games in goal posting 1.32 goals against average with three shutouts.
Niagara's Rene DeZorzi was named the MAAC's Defensive Player of the Year, while teammate Brett Petricek earned Goalkeeper of the Year honors. Loyola's Larry Ndjock, who is tied with Ek for the conference lead in scoring, was named the MAAC Rookie of the Year.
Siena's MAAC All-Academic Team honorees included seniors Daniel Alderstad (3.54 - Management), Opalka (3.89 - Management) and Sean Sullivan (3.25 - Management), juniors Beeston (3.55 - Management) and Matt Hemsley (3.55 - Management), red-shirt sophomores Friedrichs (3.56 - Finance) and Adam Myers (3.74 - Accounting), sophomore Trent Williams (3.39 - Biology), and red-shirt freshmen Sean Bernardi (3.26 - Marketing) and Eddie Moran (3.25 - Finance).
The Saints begin their quest for the program's first-ever MAAC Championship Thursday night at Tenney Stadium at Leonidoff Field on the campus of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The second seeded Saints take on No. 3 seed Niagara in the MAAC Semifinals at 7 p.m.