San Jose, Calif. - The San Jose State University men's soccer program held its annual end-of-the-year awards banquet on Tuesday night, December 6.
The event recognized team and individual accomplishments for the 2011 season. Headcoach Gary St. Clair recapped his milestone 22nd year in charge at his alma mater and highlighted each player's accomplishments, both on and off the field. In addition, a video prepared by assistant coach Chris Behler recapped the season.
The banquet concluded with five awards being handed out and St. Clair calling up Dan Addiego, Omri Brinner, Nick Cashmere, Roberto Casteneda, Jose Cortez, Jonathan Lester and Allen La Spina, his standout seniors for one final farewell and thank you.
"The awards, other than the Coaches' Award, were voted on by the players and I think they got it spot on," head coach Gary St. Clair said.
St. Clair, Behler, associate head coach Ron Smare, and volunteer assistant Dan Benton selected Brinner and Addiego for the Coaches' Award. The Coaches' Award is given to a player, or players, who represent the ideals of Spartan soccer, professionalism, and who make good plays.
Brinner, a senior who played in 16 matches and started three in 407 minutes this season. The Givat Gonen High School graduate out of Jerusalem, Israel, was an effective mid producing seven shots, one o fwhich was on goal.
Addiego,a senior out of California High School in San Ramon, Calif., was one of the anchors of the Spartans back line. On offense, he assisted on three goals this year including the game-winner against Nebraska-Omaha (9/11). He started each of the 18 matches in which he appeared, playing 1,528 minutes.
The first of four awards voted on by members of the Spartan team was for Top Newcomer. Junior midfielder Diego Ochoa accepted the award. A graduate of Evergreen High School in San Jose, Ochoa came the Spartans after two years at West Valley College. He, along with Roberto Casteneda, formed a dynamic midfield combination. Ochoa had three assists and tallied three goals in 14 starts and 16 total appearances. Each of his goals came on penalty kicks and all his points were accumulated in the final nine games of the season.
Defensive MVP honors went to junior Nick Murphy, who played in and started all but one of San Jose State's 20 matches this season. Murphy, out of San Francisco's Lowell High School, saw more minutes than any other field player this year, 1648 total, and along with Addiego was a stalwart on the back line. Murphy was, earlier this season, named a first-team Academic All-District 8 performer. It is the second year in a row he has been so honored.
Steven Sanchez was selected the team's Offensive MVP. He emerged this season as a true scoring threat and earned 2011 second-team All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) honors. He led the team and the league with five game-winning-goals during the regular season and added one more in the conference tournament, where he garnered MPSF All-Tournament Team honors. His shots (38), points (16), goals (6) and assists (4) all ranked in the top-10 in the regular season among conference players.
Senior keeper Jonathan Lester earned the team's Most Valuable Player honor, final award voted on by members of the Spartan team. The co-captain earned first-team All-MPSF honors after leading the conference in saves (96) and saves per game (5.65). He had three clean sheets and a goals-against average of 1.12 while saving 82.8 percent of the shots that reached him.
"As I was looking around the room," St. Clair said, "it struck me again that with the players we are losing to graduation, we have a number of holes to fill for next season. We need the guys that are coming back to step up and we'll have to bring in some new athletes to add to the mix."
The Spartans finished the season 9-8-3 overall, including going 1-1-0 in the MPSF Tournament.
2011 San Jose State Men's Soccer Team Awards
Coaches' Award: Omri Brinner, SR, D, Dan Addiego, Sr, D
Top Newcomer: Diego Ochoa, JR, MF
Defensive MVP: Nick Murphy, JR, D
Offensive MVP: Steven Sanchez, JR, F
Most Valuable Player: Jonathan Lester, Sr, GK