The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) announced the 2011 NCAA Men’s Soccer Division III All-Region teams recently and four Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels received recognition: Senior center back Mark Lavery (Woodstock, Ga.) and senior midfielder Aaron Walker (Woodstock, Ga.) were tabbed as members of the All-South Atlantic First Team while sophomore defender Nikos Papanikolopoulos (Atlanta) and junior goalkeeper Frank Petersen (Woodstock, Ga.) received Third Team nods.
Just days later, the NSCAA named Lavery to the First Team of the NSCAA/Continental Tire 2011 NCAA Division III Men’s Soccer All-America Team. Lavery is the first Stormy Petrel in school history to receive a First Team All-America designation in men’s soccer. He was also named the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Defensive Player-of-the-Year.
These individual postseason honors come on the heels of unrivaled team success for an Oglethorpe squad that won a conference title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2011—all during Oglethorpe’s 50th anniversary year of soccer.
“I’m thrilled that four deserving players like Mark, Aaron, Nikos and Frank were recognized…” said Oglethorpe head men’s soccer coach Jon Akin. “It’s the icing on the cake after all the hard work these kids put in to push us to our first conference title and first trip to the NCAA’s in program history.”
The Oglethorpe University men’s soccer team just put the finishing touches on a historic regular season that saw the 2011 Stormy Petrels set several school records. With the first season complete, Oglethorpe is now excited about their second season—this weekend’s conference tournament with a chance to qualify for the school’s first-ever trip to NCAA Tournament on the line.
Coached by Jon Akin, the men enjoyed a year unlike any other in the program history. The team set a school record by winning 12 straight games during the campaign en route to posting a 15-3-0 overall record. The 15 wins are a program best, and the .833 winning percentage is also tops for a team that just this season celebrated 50 years of soccer being played on the campus. The Petrels also posted their best SCAC mark in school history at 8-1 overall. The squad’s success gained national attention when the team appeared in the rankings for the first time in 50 years.
This weekend the men travel to Birmingham, Ala. for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Tournament (Nov. 4-6), hosted by Birmingham-Southern. The Petrels will face the winner of Friday night’s Colorado College/Southwestern match-up on Saturday at approximately 8:30 p.m. Eastern. A semifinal victory on Saturday would spring Oglethorpe into the Championship game on Sunday (2:30 p.m. Eastern) against the likely opponent of the nation’s No. 4 ranked team, the undefeated Trinity Tigers.