FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Led by junior back Matt Jeffery’s (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) selection as MAAC Defensive Player of the Year, six Monmouth University men’s soccer players earned All-MAAC honors, the conference office announced during its annual Men’s Soccer Championship Awards Show Thursday night. In addition, seven Hawks were named to the MAAC Men’s Soccer All-Academic Team.
Jeffery’s honor represents the sixth time one of Monmouth Head Coach Robert McCourt’s players has won conference Defensive Player of the Year, with Jeffery joining Hugh MacDonald (2005, 2006), Angelo Amato (2008) and Dan Bostock (2009) in earning the honor. Joining Jeffery on the All-MAAC First Team are fellow junior back Emmanuel Senyah Agyemang (Kumasi, Ghana/KNUST University) and senior captain midfielder Joseph Schmid (Kingston, Pa./Wyoming Valley West). Freshman goalkeeper Eric Klenofsky (Lincoln Park, N.J./DePaul Catholic) was also named to the All-MAAC Second Team and All-Rookie Team. Klenofsky was joined by fellow freshmen Dave Nigro (Marlboro, N.J./Marlboro) and Colin Stripling (Scotch Plains, N.J./Scotch Plains-Fanwood) on the All-Rookie Team.
Student-athletes who’ve completed at least two semesters and compiled at minimum a 3.20 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale were named to the MAAC Men’s Soccer All-Academic Team. Agyemang, Schmid, David Acuna Camacho (Heredia, Costa Rica/Costa Rica Youth National Team), Bryant Avalos (Brick, N.J./Monsignor Donovan), Tim Ballard (Middletown, N.J./Middletown North), John Egan (Smithtown, N.Y./Hauppauge), and Derek Luke (Bridgewater, N.J./Bridgewater-Raritan) each represented the Hawks on the All-Academic Team.
“I am excited about all the individual accolades received tonight,” said McCourt. “It is a reflection of the overall team success this season. The team has worked extremely hard to reach our ninth conference tourney in a row. We look forward to tomorrows match against a very good Manhattan team.”
Jeffery and Agyemang, together with Klenofsky, combined to create one of the toughest defenses in the MAAC to score on this season. In conference play, the Hawks allowed just three goals (T1st-MAAC) for a 0.28 goals-against average (2nd-MAAC) with seven shutouts (T1st-MAAC). Both Jeffery and Agyemang started all 18 games for the Hawks, with Agyemang also adding the equalizer in the 90th minute against Seton Hall on Sept. 6. The awards come after both Agyemang and Jeffery earned All-North Atlantic Region last season and Agyemang took All-Conference Second Team honors last season. Overall, the Hawks rank 33rd in the nation in goals-against average (0.83) and 43rd in shutout percentage (.390).
Schmid had another tremendous season in the Hawks’ midfield en route to his second-straight All-Conference First Team honor. Schmid began the year with his selection to the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List. In 16 starts, he’s gone on to score one goal, the game-winner at Marist, while also adding assists against Iona, Quinnipiac and Niagara. Schmid was also an All-North Atlantic Region First Team selection in 2012.
Klenofsky’s emergence as starting goalkeeper coincided with the Hawks turning around their season. Following a 1-5-2 start to the season, Klenofsky took over in net and the Hawks were undefeated in the next nine games (7-0-2). He posted seven shutouts in that time and currently leads the nation in goals-against average (.270). Klenofsky is also fifth in the nation in save percentage at .880. He was honored in four-consecutive weeks as MAAC Defensive Player of the Week.
Nigro gave the Hawks a spark toward the end of non-conference play and in the beginning of MAAC action. A starter in 12 of his 18 games, Nigro scored his first collegiate goal in a 1-1 tie against Albany and followed up with the Hawks’ goals in a 1-1 tie at Fairfield and a 1-0 win over Iona to open MAAC play. He also added an assist at Marist to finish second on the team in both goals (3) and points (7).
Stripling has been a mainstay in the Hawks’ midfield, starting 16 of his 17 games played. He finished the year with a goal at Hofstra and a pair of assists in MAAC play. The assists came in consecutive games against Siena and at Rider on Oct. 12 and 16, respectively.
The top-seeded Hawks face fourth-seeded Manhattan as the MAAC Championship Semifinals begin tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Lessing Field on the campus of Fairfield University.