Five Scots earn USA South All-Conference mentions for men's soccer

Five Scots earn USA South All-Conference mentions for men's soccer

The USA South Athletic Conference has announced its 2019 All-Conference awards for men's soccer, as five Maryville College Scots earned the yearly accolade.

MC's Johnny Rakhmonberdiev and Gavin Dougherty were tabbed Second Team All-Conference members, while Trevor McDonald and Chris Ferandez were recognized as Third Team honorees. Senior Aaron Rucker was named to the All-Sportsmanship team for the Scots.

N.C. Wesleyan's Baboucarr Njie was named Player of the Year, while Mary Baldwin's Carr Panetta claimed Rookie of the Year honors. The Covenant duo of Paul Lemay and Scott Bosgraf were named Goalkeeper of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively. All awards are voted on by the men's soccer coach at each institution.

Maryville wrapped up the regular season with a second-place finish in the USA South Western Division. They host Piedmont College for the opening round of the USA South Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 2. First touch for that match is set for 5:30 p.m. following the women's soccer second round.

Rakhmonberdiev – a junior from Sevierville, Tenn. – earned Second Team accolades as a forward. The speedy runner amassed six goals and 10 assists on the season, as he totaled 22 points for Maryville.

"He's coming back from his torn ACL, and he obviously started, not at full speed, but playing pretty well," Head Coach Pepe Fernandez said. "We've kind of gradually brought him back. One of our goals with this team, knowing that we had Jameson Elmore coming back from an ACL and Johnny coming back from one with a couple new defenders was to bring these guys on a little slower. He's back to where he was. We're hoping that he's going to be peaking around tournament time like he typically does. He's just had a great year."

Dougherty – a senior defender from Barnegat, N.J. – was also tabbed a Second Team honorree. The back played numerous roles on the season, aiding the Scots to five shutout victories. He added an assist offensively, while helping to keep opponents to 1.38 goals per contest allowed.

"The thing about Gavin is that our defense, I don't know if we've played the same defense in the entire month of October," Fernandez said. "We've had so many injuries back there. Gavin has played on the right, in the center, in the center on the right and in the center on the left. Wherever we put him, he's been one of the best defenders in the conference. It's probably hurt him and a couple other guys that we felt like were All-Conference players, but have been injured. It probably kept him off First Team, because we've moved him around so much. He was competing as a Center Back and a Side Back. He's typically one of our biggest offensive threats coming forward, but playing in the center, that kind of neutralizes that, but what he's done, he's sacrificed for the team. I think that's really important. He's played wherever we've asked him, never complained and did a great job everywhere."

Each of Maryville's three senior midfielders were on the All-Conference mentions, as Chris Fernandez and McDonald earned Third Team honors. Fernandez – a Maryville, Tenn. native – had a two goals and two assists each, as he also had a hand in the Scots' five shutouts. McDonald – an Athens, Tenn. native – was more of the attacking mid, posting seven goals and two assists. McDonald also had the eighth-fastest back-to-back goals in NCAA Division III history, just 16 seconds apart. 

Rucker – a senior – earned All-Sportsmanship honors from the conference. He added a goal and three assists in his final campaign.

"When our midfield has been healthy, along with Rucker in there, we've been one of the best midfields in the conference," Coach Fernandez said. "Again, keeping them healthy – in the last few weeks, we've not had all of them in there together. When they are in there together, they are kind of a perfect complement for each other. You've got Chris that covers ground box to box, and you have Trevor that has the ability to get in the box and score. Rucker has the ability to go deep and be a pivot player, and it's a really good matchup. It's a really good group. They've played off each other and complimented each other very well."

Njie, a junior forward from Washington, D.C., becomes the first N.C. Wesleyan men's soccer student-athlete to be named USA South Player of the Year since 2008. He adds this honor to his Rookie of the Year award he received in 2016 becoming the first Battling Bishop to collect two individual men's soccer accolades in a career. Njie currently leads the league in scoring with 37 points on a conference-high 15 goals to go along with five assists and three game-winning scores. Against USA South competition alone, Njie posted conference highs of 33 points and 13 goals. For his efforts this fall, Njie was named First Team All-Conference at forward for the first time, as he collected First Team honors twice as a midfielder his first two seasons. Finally, Njie was named USA South Player of the Week once this year.

Panetta, a Cedar Park, Texas freshman forward, becomes the first Fighting Squirrel, in the program's inaugural varsity year, to collect a USA South individual accolade in the sport of men's soccer. He currently has compiled 17 points on eight goals and one assist with a conference-rookie leading four game-winning goals. Panetta earns Second Team All-Conference honors as a forward to go along with a USA South Rookie of the Week accolade this fall.

Lemay, an Apopka, Fla. senior, becomes just the second Covenant player in program history to earn a USA South individual honor (Snoopy Davidson, 2014). He currently leads the league in goals allowed (eight), goals against average (0.55), save percentage (.869) and shutouts (eight), while he's tied in wins (13). In USA South-only contests, Lemay posted a perfect 11-0-0 record, allowing just four goals while stopping 36 shots. Lemay earns First Team All-Conference honors as a goalkeeper for the first time in his career after being named second team All-Conference last fall. Finally, he collected USA South Defensive Player of the Week two times this year.

Bosgraf, in his third year as Covenant's head coach, earns his and the program's first USA South Coach of the Year honor in the sport of men's soccer. His squad became the first USA South men's soccer team to go unbeaten with no ties in regular season play since Christopher Newport University achieved the feat in 2012. Covenant, with their 13-0-0 conference record, also set a new USA South high for conference wins in a season. Overall, Covenant is 16-2-1, which is the best record since the 2002 season.

Player of the Year Rookie of the Year Goalkeeper of the Year Coach of the Year

Baboucarr Njie
N.C. Wesleyan

Carr Panetta
Mary Baldwin

Paul Lemay

Scott Bosgraf

The 2019 USA South Men's Soccer All-Conference Team:

First Team
Cameron Earls, Piedmont
Baboucarr Njie, N.C. Wesleyan
Ivan Ponce, William Peace
Mercer Stout, Covenant

Jordy Briceno, Greensboro
Josh Brower, Covenant
Matteo Costa, N.C. Wesleyan
Jesse Riggs, Covenant

Joe Brooks, N.C. Wesleyan
Noah Lee, Covenant
Jay Patterson, Covenant

Paul Lemay, Covenant
Second Team
Caleb Bratager, Pfeiffer
Darli Mihindou, Greensboro
Carr Panetta, Mary Baldwin
Johnny Rakhmonberdiev, Maryville


Mamadou Jallow, N.C. Wesleyan
Jose Linares, Piedmont
Parker Owen, Covenant

Gavin Dougherty, Maryville
Matt Morefield, Covenant
Owen Story, Averett
Leo Vasconcelos, Greensboro

Patrick Hall, Brevard
Third Team

Lorenzo Cocchia, N.C. Wesleyan
Ousmane Dansoko, Mary Baldwin
Kelan LeBlanc, Huntingdon

Caz Dabrowski, Pfeiffer
Chris Fernandez, Maryville
Trevor McDonald, Maryville
Joao Monteiro, Brevard

Kyle Creamer, Mary Baldwin
Jose Garcia, William Peace
Jonathan Miller, William Peace
Hordy Ndambo, Mary Baldwin

Tobias Borzel, N.C. Wesleyan
  All-Sportsmanship Team
Daniel Matlock, Averett
Christoff Mendy, Berea
Joao Monteiro, Brevard
Seth Robinson, Covenant
Elmer Martinez, Greensboro
Thad Lievens, Huntingdon
Errick Sturm, LaGrange
Dominic Fleming, Mary Baldwin
Aaron Rucker, Maryville
Charlie Teachey, Methodist
Dimas Reyes, N.C. Wesleyan
Corey Shea, Pfeiffer
Daniel Osavio, Piedmont
Keaton Joyce, William Peace