Eleven Lobos Take Home All-Conference Awards
Nov. 7, 2012
WOODLAND, Calif. – The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation released their all-conference awards for the 2012 men’s soccer season, and the University of New Mexico picked up eleven different awards. Headlining the accolades for the Lobos are four members on the All-MPSF First Team and MPSF Newcomer of the Year Ben McKendry.
"I always have mixed feelings about Individual honors. We have a wonderful team, and all 26 players are responsible for our success thus far. I think having five of our six seniors receive all-conference honors is very deserved. Nik Robson, being a senior transfer, was kept him out of the mix as the voting members reward consistency. I wish all 26 of our players were recognized as each is a significant contributor to our team’s success," said Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein
The Lobos placed four members on the All-MPSF First Team, three on the All-MPSF Second Team and three were All-MPSF Honorable Mention. The eleven Lobos receiving conference honors are five more than any other program in the conference.
UNM was led by their four First Team All-MPSF members; Devon Sandoval, Blake Smith, Kyle Venter and Victor Rodriguez. Sandoval, Smith and Venter were all First Team All-MPSF last season while Rodriguez was a member of the second team. Sandoval tied MPSF Player of the Year, Gyasi Zardes of CSU Bakersfield, for the conference lead in goals. He is currently in the top ten in college soccer in goals and points. Smith is currently tied for first in the country with 13 assists and leads the NCAA outright in assists per game. His thirteen assists this season is the second most in program history. Kyle Venter has been part of a UNM backline that has registered nine shutouts this season, which includes the last six straight matches. He also scored the game-winning goal against San Jose State on his first goal of the season. Victor Rodriguez, as the goalkeeper on the All-MPSF First Team, was voted the best goalkeeper in the conference. Rodriguez boasts a record of 14-2-0 with six shutouts and three other combined shutouts. He is currently 6th in the nation in goals against average with a 0.534 GAA.
Michael Calderon, Levi Rossi and Michael Kafari headline the Second Team All-MPSF. Newcomer Michael Calderon has made an instant impact from his midfield position with three goals and five assists in 15 appearances this season. For returners Rossi and Kafari, it marks the first career all-conference awards for the senior and junior. Rossi has two goals and three assists this season, and he picked up his second Academic All-District award of his career last week. Kafari has tallied a goal and an assists as he has appeared in all 18 matches for New Mexico.
The trio of Travis Campbell, James Rogers and Matthew Gibbons were All-MPSF Honorable Mention as all three received their second all-conference awards of their careers. Campbell and Gibbons were part of the UNM backline to post nine shutouts this season, which includes the Lobos’ final six regular season matches. Gibbons, the sophomore from New Zealand, scored UNM’s lone goal in the Tulsa match. James Rogers is currently second the team in goals with seven and third in assists. His seven goals are tied for fourth in the MPSF.
Freshman Ben McKendry was named MPSF Newcomer of the Year. He led all MPSF freshmen in goals with four. Three of his four goals were game-winning goals, and he also assisted on Carson Baldinger’s double-overtime game winner versus UC Irvine. He becomes the first Lobo to win the award since Andrew Boyens in 2004.
"Ben McKendry really turned it up as the season progressed and was very deserving of his newcomer of the year award,” Coach Fishbein noted.
The eleven Lobos receiving All-MPSF honors is the second most in program history. Eleven Lobos received All-MPSF honors in 2006 with Head Coach Jeremy Fishbein named the 2006 MPSF Coach of the Year as well.
New Mexico, the 2012 MPSF regular season champions, will look to capture this year’s tournament title as well. The number one seed will face the lowest remaining seed in the semifinals on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. at the UNM Soccer Complex.
Complete MPSF All-Conference Selections
First Team All-MPSF
Second Team All-MPSF
All-MPSF Honorable Mention