YORK, PA – The York College men’s soccer team
received great news Wednesday as eight Spartans were named to the
2009 Capital Athletic Conference squad. Of the eight, three
student-athletes return to the all-league list while five are new
Jon Ports (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh), Adam Good (Elizabethtown, Pa./Elizabethtown Area), Mike O’Connell (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Spalding), and Kemal Nuspahic (East Petersburg, Pa./Warwick) each garnered All-CAC first-team honors while Scott Becker (Hockessin, Del./Salesianum), Travis Williams (Springfield, Pa./Springfield Township), Lucas Emil (Parsippany, N.J./Morris Catholic), and Mike Gill (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall) landed on the second team.
Ports makes his third trip to the all-conference first-team after another quality season in the Green and White. The two-time All-American has posted 18 points this year on five goals, including a trio of game-winners, and eight assists while being the main focus of many opposing defenses. Ports, a senior captain in 2009, has started all 20 games for the York side as his unrelenting work rate and impeccable skill paces the Spartan offense.
“Jon has provided the engine for our squad in the attack this season,” Spartan head coach Mark Ludwig said. “His stats are not as glaring as in years past but he does so many vital things for our team that do not show up in statistics.”
Good makes his first appearance as an all-league honoree garnering a first-team placement. A tough center back, Good communicates well from York’s backline allowing the Spartans to stop numerous attacks before they start. The junior provides quality long distribution while also winning quality tackles as he leads the Spartans in his first year as a captain.
“His development over the previous three years has been remarkable,” Ludwig commented on York’s junior defender. “He provides such a calming influence for us in the back.”
O’Connell, joins Good as he also receives his first selection to the All-CAC squad. Coming off of a season-ending injury last year, O’Connell has truly blossomed into an offensive force in 2009. A tall front-runner with an exceptional ability to finish around the goal, the junior leads the Spartans with ten scores this season having easily surpassed his previous career high of seven. O’Connell has scored three game-winners for the Green and White as his hard-working, simple style has yielded quality results this season.
“With Mike’s coming back from injury this year, this is a well-deserved honor,” Ludwig said. “He has always been willing to do the little things to make the team successful and I am glad to see him recognized for his hard work.”
Despite only being in his sophomore year, Nuspahic is not a stranger to all-conference accolades. A 2008 All-CAC first-team choice, he also captured CAC Rookie-of-the-Year honors last season. For this campaign, the second-year forward ranks second on the squad with 19 points having registered seven goals and five assists. The creative and technical Nuspahic consistently provides the Spartans with dangerous chances as he can set up others or go to goal himself.
“Kemal provides us with a very dangerous presence in the attack,” Ludwig said. “He has the ability to both create and finish chances.”
Becker, another senior captain, finds his name on the all-conference squad for the first time in his stellar career. A two-year starter at center back, Becker is a hard-nosed defender who consistently makes strong tackles, while also being a first-rate communicator that understands the collegiate game. Arguably the Spartans toughest player, Becker has been a key cog in York’s recent string of outstanding defensive units. Over the past two seasons, the Spartans have surrendered a mere 19 goals over 40 contests, of which Becker has started all but one.
“Scott’s play in the center of the defense has been stellar over the past two seasons,” Ludwig said. “This is a great honor for him as he has provided such outstanding leadership both on and off the field.”
Williams brings his simple yet exceptionally effective style to the All-CAC team for the first time in his four years as a Spartan. Williams has truly blossomed into an offensive threat this season as he has registered seven goals and two assists for 16 points. His lone game-winner this season came with less than two minutes to play as the Spartans downed Rutgers-Camden by a 3-2 count. Williams’ versatility allows him to perform well in a myriad of roles while giving him the ability to use his calming presence to settle the Green and White in difficult situations.
“Travis has been one of our best players in each and every game this season,” Ludwig said. “His versatility has allowed us to be successful as we have made numerous changes during the year.”
Emil returns to the all-league team after nabbing a first-team nod in 2008. A creative and technical midfielder, Emil provides the Spartans with another offensive threat who can create chances for himself or others. The junior has notched a trio of goals this season while distributing six helpers. The gifted Emil has the ability to quickly move the Spartans into the attack as well as provide great service from anywhere on the pitch.
“He has provided us with a creative element in the attack,” Ludwig said of the Spartan junior midfielder. “What is more important is that Lucas is actually playing his best soccer of the year right now.”
Gill has made an immediate impact in just his first season in a Spartan uniform. The sophomore defensive midfielder opened the season in a starting role and has been in the first eleven ever since. A talented player who simply does what is needed, Gill is a solid ball-winner who can also get involved in the attack. This year, Gill has three goals to his credit, one of which is of the game-winning variety, while also notching an assist.
“Mike came in and immediately added a lot of bite to our midfield,” Ludwig said. “His ball-winning ability combined with his tenacity has added a new dimension to our program.”
These eight lead the Spartans into this weekend’s NCAA Tournament, however Ludwig knows that it will take an entire team effort for the Green and White to continue their season.
“Although these individual honors are nice, the most important accolades we received were the CAC Championship certificates last Saturday,” Ludwig said. “We know that it is going to take the whole team to continue our success into the NCAA Tournament.”
York’s NCAA Tournament kicks-off this Saturday from Graham Field as the Green and White face Cazenovia College in an 11:00 a.m. tilt.
COMPLETE 2009 MEN'S SOCCER ALL-CAC SQUAD
Photo: Kemal Nuspahic makes his second appearance on the All-CAC first team - courtesy of Zach Clabaugh (www.sharpedgephoto.smugmug.com)