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Men’s Soccer garners a conference-best seven All-MAC selections

Men’s Soccer garners a conference-best seven All-MAC selections

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AKRON, Ohio – Led by sophomore midfielder Adam Najem (Clifton, N.J.), senior forward Saad Abdul-Salaam (Gahanna, Ohio), junior goalkeeper Jake Fenlason (San Diego, Calif.) and junior defender Andrew Souders (Amherst, Ohio) who were selected as first-team All-Mid-American Conference men's soccer selections, seven Akron student-athletes garnered All-MAC accolades as announced by the league on Thursday (Nov. 13). 

Freshman forward Stuart Holthusen (Wellington, New Zealand), freshman midfielder Richie Laryea (Toronto, Ontario) along with sophomore midfielder Victor Souto (Sao Paulo, Brazil) were tabbed second-team selections.

A first-team All-MAC honoree in 2013, Najem has started all 18 games for Akron this season, registering a team-highs in goals (11), points (26), shots on goal (22) and game-winning goals (4), while ranking second in assists (4) and shots (39). 

In league-only affairs, Najem was equally as dominating in the midfield recording a team-high four goals, while adding a pair of assists. Arguably the most well-rounded player in the conference, he finished the league campaign rated first, second, second, second, second, fifth and seventh, respectively, in game-winning goals (2), goals (4), goals per game (0.80), points (10), points per contest (2.00), assists (2) and assists per game (0.40).

At the front of the Zips' attack this season, Abdul-Salaam responded turning in two goals on 17 shots, while distributing a team-high five assists. He enters the MAC Championship rated fifth and seventh, respectively, in the league in assists (5) and assists per contest (0.28). 

Fenlason made his collegiate debut in the semifinals of the MAC Championship in 2013 and has not looked back starting all 18 games in goal for Akron this fall en route to recording 68 saves, a conference-best seven shutouts and a 0.76 goals against average. He paces the league in saves (68) and shutouts (7), while ranking second in GAA (0.76), save percentage (.829), saves per game (3.78) and shutouts per outing (0.39). In five conference tilts, he posted a league-best two shutouts.

A first-team All-MAC performer in 2013, Souders has helped anchor an Akron defensive backline this season having started all 17 games in which he has appeared in for the Zips. He owns a goal and an assist this season on two shots sparking Akron to a league-high seven shutouts. 

Turning in a break-out rookie campaign this fall was Holthusen, who ranks second on the team in goals (4), assists (4) and points (12), while rating fourth in both shots (26) and shots on goal (13). He is ranked ninth and 10th, respectively, in the conference in goals (4) and points (12).

Providing a dynamic foundation for the Akron midfield as a freshman was Laryea, who started all 17 games he has appeared in for the Zips, registering a goal and two assists on 19 shots, while helping the team to notch a league-best seven shutouts. 

Complimenting Laryea in the Akron midfield is Souto, who registered a goal on 16 shots and helped the Zips' defensive efforts that resulted in a pair of shutouts in league play and a conference-high seven shutouts overall.

Akron (11-6-1) returns to action on Friday (Nov. 14) as the top-seeded Zips face fourth-seeded Western Michigan (8-6-4) in the semifinals of the MAC Championship at FirstEnergy Stadium-Cub Cadet Field. Game time is slated for 7:00 p.m. and will follow the conclusion of the other semifinal at 4 p.m. pitting second-seeded West Virginia (11-6-1) versus third-seeded Bowling Green (13-5-1).

The winners will advance to the MAC Championship game, which will be held Sunday at 1 p.m.

2014 All-MAC First Team

Saad Abdul-Salaam, Akron, F

Jake Fenlason, Akron, GK

Adam Najem, Akron, MF

Andrew Souders, Akron, D

Russell Cicerone, Buffalo, MF

Isaac Kannah, Northern Illinois, MF/F

Andy Bevin, West Virginia, F

Jamie Merriam, West Virginia, F

Sean Conerty, Western Michigan, MF

Connor Furgason, Western Michigan, D

Nick Wysong, Western Michigan, MF

2014 All-MAC Second Team

Victor Souto, Akron, MF

Richie Laryea, Akron, MF

Stuart Holthusen, Akron, F

Danny Baraldi, Bowling Green, MF

Pat Flynn, Bowling Green, F

Jake Genrich, Bowling Green, D

Ryan James, Bowling Green, MF

Jacob Roth, Bowling Green, D/MF

Ryan Cain, West Virginia, F

Jack Elliot, West Virginia, D

Joey Piatczyc, West Virginia, MF

Lee Johnston, West Virginia, GK 

2014 MAC Player of the Year

Andy Bevin, West Virginia, F

2014 MAC Newcomer of the Year

Joey Piatczyc, West Virginia, MF

2014 MAC Coach of the Year

Marlon LeBlanc, West Virginia