Nov. 26, 2007
University of New Mexico junior men's soccer player Chris Wright was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year today. Wright, who led the MPSF in scoring and goals this season, is one of nine Lobos named to the All-MPSF team today. New Mexico finished the season with a 12-5-2 mark, its fourth consecutive MPSF title and its sixth trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last seven years.
Wright, a second team All-MSPF selection last season, led the Federation with 28 points and 12 goals in 2007. He was seven points ahead of second place Ismael Ibarra (SJSU) in scoring and had a three-goal lead on three players in the race for most goals this season. Eight of Wright's 12 goals came against MPSF competition and his four assists tied for fifth in the league. He also earned ESPN The Magazine First Team Academic All-American honors this season. Wright currently has 20 career goals and is tied for seventh on UNM's all-time list. He is the fourth Lobo in the last four seasons to earn the MPSF Player of the Year honor. Jeff Rowland and Andrew Boyens were co-Players of the Year in 2004 while Boyens took home the Federation's top individual honor again last season.
Also joining Wright on the first team was a pair of sophomore defenders in Simon Ejdemyr and Zach Tierney. The Lobo centerbacks led UNM to a 0.71 goals-against-average and eight shutouts, both league bests, on the season. Tierney led the field players with 1,656 minutes while Ejdemyr was second with 1,633 minutes. Ejdemyr scored eight points on four goals during the season, including a pair of game-winners. Tierney added one assist one the year from the backline.
A glaring omission from the first team was senior keeper Mike Graczyk, who earned second team honors. Despite leading the league in g.a.a. (0.74) and shutouts (6) for the third year in a row, Graczyk did not earn a spot on the first team. Not only was he not on the first team, he was the third keeper listed on the All-MPSF squad that was voted on by the league's coaches. He and Wright, were the only two players to twice be named MPSF Player of the Week this season. Graczyk leaves UNM as the school's all-time leader in shutouts (30) and g.a.a. (0.68) and is second in all-time wins (46) at New Mexico.
Also on the second team for UNM were seniors Diego Barrera and David Gualdarama. Barrera led the MPSF with eight assists on the season while adding a pair of goals. His 12 points were third on the team in his only season in a Lobo uniform. Gualdarama, a first team selection last year, started every game in the midfield while scoring the game-winner in a 1-0 win at Sacramento State. Gualdarama leaves UNM tied for eighth all-time with 79 games played.
Three Lobos earned honorable mention All-MPSF recognition, including senior Joey Vitagliano, junior Jack Smithson and sophomore Stephen Brown. All three were third team All-MPSF selections last season. Smithson scored a pair of goals on the year with four assists, while Brown added a goal and three assists. Vitagliano had four points on a goal and two assists. He finishes his career with four goals and seven assists.
All MPSF First Team
Chris Wright - Junior - Forward - New Mexico
Matt Bredehoft - Junior - Goalkeeper - Denver
Adam Owens - Junior - Defender - Sacramento State
Ismael Ibarra - Senior - Forward - San Jose State
Simon Ejdemyr - Sophomore - Defender - New Mexico
Joey Mathot - Junior - Midfielder - Denver
Zach Tierney - Sophomore - Defender - New Mexico
Daniel Cruz - Freshman - Forward - UNLV
Kyle Christensen - Junior - Forward - Denver
Lamar Neagle - Sophomore - Midfielder - UNLV
Brian Guyette - Senior - Goalkeeper - Air Force
All MPSF Second Team
Mike Graczyk - Senior - Goalkeeper - New Mexico
Diego Barrera - Senior - Midfielder - New Mexico
David Gualdarama - Senior - Midfielder - New Mexico
Chris Banghart - Sophomore - Defender - Denver
Collin Audley - Sophomore - Midfielder - Denver
Ed Brand - Junior - Defender - San Jose State
Hiroki Akiyama - Junior - Midifielder - San Jose State
Eli Millan - Junior - Midfielder - Sacramento State
Omar Martinez - Junior - Defender - Sacramento State
Andy Nigro - Senior - Forward - Air Force
Andrew Friel - Sophomore - Defender - UNLV
Honorable Mention All-MPSF
Jack Smithson - Junior - Midfielder - New Mexico
Joey Vitagliano - Senior - Midfielder - New Mexico
Stephen Brown - Sophomore - Defender - New Mexico
Kellan Christensen - Sophomore - Forward - Denver
Colin Jones - Junior - Defender - Denver
Nick Cukar - Sophomore - Midfielder - San Jose State
Julio Gonzalez - Senior - Forward - San Jose State
Ernesto Carranza - Freshman - Forward/MF - Sacramento State
Blake Nunes - Junior - Forward - Sacramento State
Jason Belvill - Senior - Defender - Air Force
Mason Trafford - Senior - Defender - UNLV