After completing its first season of competition in the Missouri Valley Conference, the Valparaiso University men’s soccer team was well represented as The Valley unveiled its postseason awards and all-conference recognition on Thursday evening.
A quartet of Crusaders were honored by The Valley, led by junior midfielder Rafael Mentzingen (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil / Bryan), who was named to the all-conference first team. Senior Ramone Howell (Portmore, Jamaica / Jamaica College) and sophomore Adan Garcia (Dallas, Texas / Episcopal School of Dallas) were named to the second team, while freshman Jonas Engler (Illingen, Germany / Georg Kerschensteiner Scule) received all-conference honorable mention in his first season of collegiate competition.
Mentzingen shared the team lead with nine goals, which ranks tied for seventh in program history for goals in a single season. He totaled 57 shots and placed 25 on goal, both team watermarks. Mentzingen, who accumulated 19 points, scored a pair of game-winning goals, the only Crusader with multiple match-winners this season. The Valpo junior beat the entire Drake back line to score an impressive goal in the first round of the MVC Tournament, a play that led off the Scott Van Pelt Sports Center on ESPN that evening.
Garcia enjoyed a breakout sophomore campaign, scoring nine goals to share the team lead while also pacing the squad with 22 points, both of which rank seventh in single-season program history. He became just the second Valpo player since the start of the 2002 season to accumulate 20 points in a year. Garcia turned in the ninth hat trick in program history in a 5-2 win over Western Illinois, Valpo’s first hat trick in a road match since 1985.
Howell was the anchor of the midfield as a senior captain. The 2017 MVC Preseason All-Conference selection has been a fixture over the last four seasons, competing in 67 career matches, notching seven goals and accumulating seven assists in his career.
Engler registered three goals, three assists and nine points as a freshman this season. He became the first Valpo freshman with three goals since 2014 and finished with the most points of any Crusader rookie since 2012.
The Crusaders, who graduate just two starters, will have the bulk of their team intact as they return for their second season in The Valley in 2018. Valpo scored 30 goals this season, just the second time they’ve reached that number since 1990.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Niklas Brodacki, Central Arkansas
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Niklas Brodacki, Central Arkansas
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Nick Burtenshaw, Missouri State
GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR: Liam Priestley, Missouri State
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR: Younes Dayekh, Bradley
COACHING STAFF OF THE YEAR: Central Arkansas
MVC FAIR PLAY AWARD: Missouri State
Men’s Soccer 1st Team
Liam Priestley Sr. GK Missouri State
Simon Waever So. D Evansville
Grant Stoneman Jr. D Loyola
Nick Burtenshaw Sr. D Missouri State
Niklas Brodacki So. F Central Arkansas
Conor Ingram Jr. F Missouri State
Pepe San Roman Sr. M Central Arkansas
Ian McGrath Sr. M Evansville
Elliot Collier Sr. M Loyola
Kyle Thomson Sr. M Loyola
Rafael Mentzingen Jr. M Valparaiso
Men’s Soccer 2nd Team
Brandon Barnes Gr. GK Bradley
Jacob Taylor Sr. D Bradley
Mason Leonard Sr. D Drake
Ben Stroud So. D Missouri State
Adan Garcia So. F Valparaiso
Donald Benamna Jr. F Central Arkansas
Fabian Lifka Jr. M Loyola
Ramone Howell Sr. M Valparaiso
Frank Bak Jr. M Bradley
Younes Dayekh Fr. M Bradley
Chris Holmes Jr. M Central Arkansas
Men’s Soccer Honorable Mention
Jake Laird Jr. M Missouri State
Jordy Robins Sr. M Missouri State
Leroy Ensuguzi Fr. F Drake
Zac Blaydes Jr. M Evansville
Daltyn Knutson Jr. M Central Arkansas
Gerit Wintermeyer Fr. F Bradley
Jake Taylor Gr. D Drake
Jesse Stafford-Lacey So. M Evansville
Josh Dolling Fr. F Missouri State
Aidan Megally So. M Loyola
Chris Shuck Sr. D Evansville
Jonas Engler Fr. D Valparaiso
Marc Olsen So. GK Central Arkansas
Roman Schindler So. F Bradley
Stuart Wilkin So. M Missouri State