Lions Load Up On Postseason Honors
Senior Jeff Kovar highlights the list of honors garnering Verizon Academic All-America Honors.
Nov. 20, 2002
Los Angeles, Calif., - Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2002 - Seven Loyola Marymount University men's soccer athletes have garnered postseason awards. Highlighting the list is senior Jeff Kovar's Verizon Academic All-America award. Kovar was also named to the 2002 All-West Coast Conference second-team as announced today by the West Coast Conference. Seniors Arturo Torres, Andres Murriagui, juniors Michael Erush, Kevin Novak, Adam Sthay and sophomore Matt Kovar also received All-WCC accolades.
Defender Jeff Kovar's All-America award is the first by any men's soccer athlete in school history, while the all-conference second-team selection marks his fourth straight appearance on the All-WCC list. The defender and biology major with a 3.85 GPA has been anchoring a steady defense that has all season been one of the best in the country. The Lions' defensive backfield is currently ranked 18th in the nation with a 0.81 goals against average. One of his personal feats this year was shutting down UC Santa Barbara's Rob Friend in a match on Oct. 6. Until being man-marked and shutout by Jeff Kovar and the Lions Friend had scored against his last 12 opponents; a streak which was the fourth longest in NCAA history. The defensive performance earned him Soccer America National Team of the Week honors as well.
All-WCC first-team honors went to Torres and Murriagui. The award is Torres' fourth and he becomes the first ever men's soccer player in LMU history to earn all-conference first-team honors all four years. Torres, a forward and NSCAA All-America candidate, currently ranks eighth in the WCC career record book with 45 goals. He is one of only two active players to be among the WCC's top-10 career goal scorers. He is currently second on the squad with seven goals, four assists and 18 points. Among his list of accolades this year are WCC Player of the Week and Soccer America and College Soccer News National Team of the Week awards.
Murriagui, a midfielder, also makes his fourth appearance on the All-WCC but it is his first first-team selection. The Laguna Hills, Calif., native is third among Lions with five goals and 16 points while being tied for the team lead with six assists. He has twice been named to the Soccer America National Team of the Week and once to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week. Murriagui was also named the Nike Goal Rush Classic Offensive MVP at Fresno State earlier this season.
Along with Jeff Kovar, brother Matt Kovar, defender Erush and midfielder Novak were also named All-WCC second-team members. Matt Kovar, a defender and the 2001 WCC Freshman of the Year, did not disappoint in his second collegiate season. The younger Kovar brother has also been an integral part of the Lions' 18th-ranked defense. While shutting down some of the nations top scorers, he also found time to score his first two collegiate goals.
Erush has also been key in LMU's defensive success. His ability to organize the team defensively and see the field has earned him his third straight All-WCC second-team selection. Erush found the back of the net twice and assisted on a play once. He was also successfull on two-of-three penalty kick attempts.
Novak rounds out the list of All-WCC second-team honorees. He leads all Lions with eight goals, six assists and 22 points. His offensive explosion this year have also earned him WCC Player of the Week, LMU Athlete of the Month and College Soccer News Team of the Week awards. Novak was named All-WCC honorable mention last year.
Honorable mention accolades went to Lion goalkeeper Sthay who has posted a 10-2-1 overall record as LMU's starting net guarder. He has collected 43 saves on the year while posting a goals against average of 0.81, 20th-best in the nation. Sthay has also posted 5.0 shutouts this season, one shy of the LMU single-season record.
Loyola Marymount makes its second consecutive postseason appearance this Saturday, Nov. 23 when it takes on Cal State Northridge in Round 1 of the NCAA College Cup at 12 p.m. on Sullivan Field.
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