FOREST, Va. --- Lynchburg College placed nine players on an all-conference team and collected three major individual honors to headline the 2017 All-ODAC Men's Soccer Awards. Hornets' midfielder Nate Berning earned ODAC Player of the Year laurels, while mentor Chris Yeager took home ODAC Coach of the Year recognition and defender Bhayle Kearns was tabbed the ODAC Rookie of the Year. Washington and Lee University goalkeeper Gillen Beck received the ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete from the conference's sports information directors for the second straight season.
There are plenty of standouts that should be familiar to ODAC fans dotting this season's all-league chart with 19 repeat honorees from a season ago. Eight of those athletes appear on the All-ODAC First Team. Lynchburg's Berning and forward Fredy Flores were 2016 first teamers along with Eastern Mennonite University defender Emmanuel Boamah, Roanoke College centerback Sam Rauf, and W&L fullback Oliver Dolberg. Randolph College forward Adam Watson and W&L midfielder Will Hamryka were second team choices a season ago, while Randolph-Macon College midfielder Anthony Astruc makes the jump from last year's third team.
RELATED: 2016 All-ODAC Awards | All-Time All-Conference
Berning, a senior from Chesapeake, Va., is the engine to a potent Lynchburg midfield that links offense and defense as well as any team in the ODAC. Berning, who's worth as team captain cannot fully be read from the stat sheet, was penned into the starting lineup in the #6-role in all 20 games for the Hornets, registering two goals and a pair of assists for six points on the season. His efforts in transitioning the attack led to a squad that has scored an ODAC second-best 45 goals against all opponents, which includes a league-high 25 tallies against conference foes.
Yeager is in his 16th season guiding the Lynchburg men's soccer program. A two-time All-ODAC First Team defender during his playing days at Virginia Wesleyan, Yeager enjoys his sixth overall and second straight ODAC top-coaching honor, adding this season's honor to his recognition in 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010, and 2016. He owns a 185-98-37 (.636) career record, which includes a 17-1-2 mark this season. The Hornets, currently ranked 14th in the country by United Soccer Coaches (formerly NSCAA) and first in the South Atlantic Region in NCAA Division III regional rankings (as of 11/7), secured a record 16th ODAC title last weekend in its 2-1 win over Washington and Lee. LC begins play in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday against Penn State-Abington at Shellenberger Field.
Kearns, a freshman from Broad Run, Va., stepped into the Hornets lineup at fullback from day one and started all 20 games. He is a key member of a back line that has surrendered an ODAC-low nine goals, which lowers further to just two goals allowed in league competition. Kearns has scored just once so far this season, but his tally may be one of the team's most important as his goal more than five minutes into the second overtime period clinched a 3-2 win over Randolph-Macon in the ODAC semifinals.
Beck, a senior from Blacksburg, Va., stands out both on and off the field for the Generals. In the classroom, Beck maintains a 3.952 grade point average as a Mathematics and Physics double major. He is a W&L Scholar as well as a multi-honoree on the All-ODAC Academic Team. A member of Phi Eta Sigma (first year) and Sigma Pi Sigma (physics) honor societies, Beck is a former CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, a distinction he hopes to duplicate following a release of this season's honorees on Thursday (11/9) afternoon. On the field, Beck adds this honor to an All-ODAC Third Team selection this season and a second team award last year. Entering the NCAA Tournament, he is fourth in the league in goals allowed (14) and goals-against-average (0.80), fifth in save percentage (.797), and eighth in saves (55).
Listed below are the 2017 All-ODAC Men's Soccer Awards. For more information, visit any of the participating schools' websites, or go to the ODAC's home on the Internet at www.odaconline.com. Don't forget to become a fan of the ODAC on Facebook and follow @odacathletics on Twitter and Instagram.
ODAC Player of the Year: Nate Berning, Sr., M, Lynchburg
ODAC Coach of the Year: Chris Yeager, Lynchburg
ODAC Rookie of the Year: Bhayle Kearns, Fr., D, Lynchburg
ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete: Gillen Beck, Sr., GK, Washington and Lee
|ALL-ODAC FIRST TEAM|
|Fredy Flores *||Sr.||F||Lynchburg|
|Adam Watson ^||Jr.||F||Randolph|
|David Shafer||Jr.||M||Eastern Mennonite|
|Nate Berning *||Sr.||M||Lynchburg|
|Anthony Astruc +||So.||M||Randolph-Macon|
|Will Hamryka ^||Jr.||M||Washington and Lee|
|Emmanuel Boamah *||Jr.||D||Eastern Mennonite|
|Sam Rauf *||Sr.||D||Roanoke|
|Oliver Dolberg *||So.||D||Washington and Lee|
|ALL-ODAC SECOND TEAM|
|Thomas White +||So.||F||Bridgewater|
|Juan Luna ^||Sr.||F||Eastern Mennonite|
|Ricky Perrault ^||Jr.||F||Virginia Wesleyan|
|Fortune Sibanda *||Sr.||M||Roanoke|
|Andrew Kim||Sr.||M||Washington and Lee|
|Ryan Pikunas +||Jr.||D||Lynchburg|
|Marc Hoppler ^||So.||D||Roanoke|
|Tim Mahabir +||Sr.||D||Roanoke|
|Nick Tadros +||Sr.||GK||Roanoke|
|ALL-ODAC THIRD TEAM|
|Harry Pinkerton||Fr.||F||Washington and Lee|
|Dylan Ritch *||Jr.||F||Washington and Lee|
|Cristian Irigoyen ^||Sr.||D||Randolph|
|Gillen Beck ^||Sr.||GK||Washington and Lee|
|* 2016 First Team
^ 2016 Second Team
+ 2016 Third Team