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Saints Rafter name first team CCAC. Cardinal Stritch Continues Its Ride, Tops Men’s Soccer Honor Roll

by | Apr 21, 2021 | Headlines, Soccer Blogs | 0 comments

Chicago, Ill. The Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference announced their men’s soccer 2020 All-Conference Awards. Holy Cross College’s Jeff Rafter was named to the CCAC’s All-Conference First Team

Jeff Rafter, from Dublin, Ireland, started in all 15 matches this season. This is his second CCAC All-Conference distinction, where he was awarded All-Conference Second Team for the 2019 season. The 5’10 senior tied a team-best five goals scored on the season while also having two assists. From March 11 through March 24, Rafter recorded a goal in four out of the five Saints’ matches while helping Holy Cross go 3-2 during that stretch.

Behind Rafter, men’s soccer finished with an overall record of 8-7-1 and 6-6 in league play. The Saints earned a trip to the CCAC post-season tournament for the third consecutive season. Holy Cross fell to #1 seed Cardinal Stritch University, who eventually would win the post-season tournament.

Cardinal Stritch Continues Its Ride, Tops Men’s Soccer Honor Roll

CHICAGO —Regular-season and tournament champion Cardinal Stritch University continued its victory ride on Monday collecting eight postseason honors, including two of the three top individual awards, when the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference announced its men’s soccer honor roll for the 2020-21 campaign. A total of 32 awards were presented.

The Wolves’ program dominated the 14-member all-conference first team with five selections, including three familiar faces. Senior forward Salvador Nunez (Milwaukee, Wis.) was recognized on the first team for the third straight year, while senior midfielder Eduardo Andrade (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and sophomore midfielder Antonio De Castro (Green Bay, Wis.) were both repeat choices.

In all, Cardinal Stritch boasted six all-league honorees, including one on the second team.

A total of 28 individuals were named to either the first or second team with the two squads split evenly with 14 representatives each.

Tournament runner-up Governors State University was next in line with five selections, two of which gained first-team nods, followed by Olivet Nazarene University with four individuals recognized (one first-team, three second-team).

Second-place regular-season finisher Lincoln College garnered three positions between the two teams with Judson University, University of St. Francis and Saint Xavier University all gaining two spots. Holy Cross College, Calumet College of St. Joseph, Trinity Christian College and St. Ambrose University each placed one representative on either the first or second team.

Joining Nunez, Andrade and De Castro as easily-recognizable names on the first team were Judson’s Luis Germano (Curitiba, Brazil) and Nikolaos Mihalopoulos (Lake In The Hills, Ill.). Germano, a junior forward/midfielder, joined Nunez as a three-peat selection, while Mihalopoulos, a senior midfielder, was named for the second year in a row.

Nunez also came away with the top prize on Monday by being named the CCAC Player of the Year. A starter in all 15 matches for the Wolves this year, he totaled 16 goals, four of which were game-winners, including the one in Saturday’s tournament championship match. He also provided five assists on the year to give him 37 total points.

Those numbers ranked Nunez among the top players both in the league and in the nation. In the conference, he was first in game-winning goals per match (0.27), second in both points per match (2.47) and goals per match (1.07) and seventh in assists per match (0.33). Nationally, he ranked No. 14 in points per match, No. 15 in goals per match and No. 28 in game-winning goals per match.

Claiming CCAC Freshman of the Year honors was Governors State’s Andy Latorre (Lima, Peru). The midfielder totaled, five goals, eight assists, 18 points and two game-winning goals in his 14 matches played. Those figures ranked him No. 2 in the conference in assists per match (0.57), tied for eighth in game-winning goals per match (0.14) and No. 10 in points per match (1.29). He also placed 27th nationally in assists per match.

Rounding out the list of individual award winners was Cardinal Stritch head coach Jamie Bladen, who was voted upon as the CCAC Coach of the Year for the fourth straight year after leading the Wolves to both their fourth consecutive league regular-season and tournament titles.

Trinity International University, meanwhile, continued its reign as the top character team, capturing its eighth consecutive Karl Boeck Champions of Character Team Award.