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Super Six
November 08, 2017
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ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) - After posting a runner-up finish in the American Athletic Conference regular season standings - the best finish for the program since 2010 - UCF was recognized by the league on Wednesday with six players earning conference honors.

Senior Matias Pyysalo was tabbed as The American Offensive Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season, becoming just the second player to accomplish the feat in league history. Joining Pyyslao on the all-conference first team were sophomore Cal Jennings and freshman Yoni Sorokin, while junior Andreas Steineger and freshmen Hattabiou Barry and Louis Perez were recognized on the second team.

The American All-Rookie Team featured Barry, Perez and Sorokin.

UCF also received The American's Team Fair Play Award, which was determined by the conference squad that accumulates the fewest points in league matches. Points are allocated for fouls (1), yellow cards (5) and red cards (10).

"These players have worked hard and performed very will this season," head coach Scott Calabrese said. "I am happy to see them recognized by their peers for their efforts."

The six selections on the two all-conference teams is the most for UCF since 1998 when seven players were placed on the three A-Sun all-conference teams. The Knights had three first team honorees following the 2010 and 2011 seasons in Conference USA.

THE FINNISH FINISHER - MATIAS PYYSALO
  • Backed up his 2016 postseason and 2017 preseason Offensive Player of the Year by becoming the second back-to-back major award winner in conference history
  • National ranks (per game) - points (5th/2.07), goals (4th/0.86), assists (84th/0.36)
  • Paced the conference with seven goals in league play and finished the campaign with 12 markers
  • Added five assists and led the conference in overall points with 29 during the season
  • Registered first career hat trick against Stetson (10/4)
  • Over the past two seasons, 13 of the Helsinki, Finland native's 22 goals came in league play
  • Tallied the game-deciding marker against six of the seven league opponents - SMU (10/1/16), UConn (10/22/16), Cincinnati (11/5/16), Tulsa (10/15/17) and Temple (10/28/17).
  • Totaled 30 goals and 19 assists over his four-year career at UCF, ranking fifth in program history in goals, assists and total points
FIRST TEAM HONORS
Sophomore Cal Jennings and freshman Yoni Sorokin joined Pyysalo on The American All-Conference First Team.

Jennings registered a career-best seven goals, including four game-winners against Stetson, UConn, Florida Atlantic and Cincinnati. The Roswell, Ga., native tallied a pair of five-point games against Stetson and UConn and finished the season with 18 points.

Sorokin provided a calming presence in the midfield and registered two goals and three assists. The Jerusalem, Israel, native registered the game-winning goal at Jacksonville and totaled 10 shots during the season.

SECOND TEAM TRIO
The American All-Conference Second Team featured junior Andreas Steineger and freshmen Hattabiou Barry and Louis Perez.

Steineger has led the backline to six clean sheets and registered the game-tying goal to earn a draw against Memphis. The Oslo, Norway, native was selected as The American Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 30 for helping the Knights notch a shutout vs. Temple.

A native of Paris, Perez was a key component to a talented UCF midfield, which saw all three starters recognized, and tallied 14 shots during the campaign.

Barry is a skilled player on the ball and tallied three assists by sending crosses from the wing. The Paris native assisted on the game-winning goal at Jacksonville and the game-tying marker against Memphis.

NEXT UP
UCF is the No. 2 seed in The American Championship and faces No. 3 UConn on Friday at 5:30 p.m. in Dallas, Texas. The winner of the semifinal matchup moves on to the championship match on Sunday at 2 p.m. against the winner between No. 1 SMU and No. 4 Temple.

2017 American Athletic Conference Men's Soccer Awards

Offensive Player of the Year
Matias Pyysalo, UCF

Defensive Player of the Year
Jordan Cano, SMU

Midfielder of the Year
Mauro Cichero, SMU

Goalkeeper of the Year
Michael Nelson, SMU

Rookie of the Year
Adrian Billhardt, USF

Coaching Staff of the Year
SMU

Team Academic Excellence Award
Memphis

Team Fair Play Award
(Determined by fewest accumulation of points)
Foul-1pt.; Yellow card-5 pts.
Red card-10 pts.
UCF
(108 pts. in conference play)


First Team All-Conference
Cal Jennings, F, So., UCF
Matias Pyysalo, M/F, UCF *
Yoni Sorokin, M, Fr., UCF
Jacob Hauser-Ramsey, B, Jr., UConn *
Abdou Mbacke Thiam, F, Jr., UConn *
Adrian Billhardt, F, Fr., USF
Ricardo Gomez, M, Sr., USF
Jordan Cano, B, Sr., SMU *
Mauro Cichero, M, Sr., SMU *
Garrett McLaughlin, F, So., SMU *
Michael Nelson, GK, R-Sr., SMU
Divin Fula Luzolo, B, Sr., Temple

Second Team All-Conference
Hattabiou Barry, M, Fr., UCF
Louis Perez, M, Fr., UCF
Andreas Steineger, B, Jr., UCF
David Sanz, M, So., Cincinnati
Dylan Greenberg, B, R-Sr., UConn
Scott Levene, GK, R-Sr., UConn
Ben Roberts, B, So., Memphis
David Zalzman, M, Jr., Memphis
Jared Rice, B/M, Sr., SMU
Alan Camacho Soto, F, Fr., Temple
Thibault Candia, F, So., Temple
Rollie Rocha, M, Sr., Tulsa

All-Rookie Team
Hattabiou Barry, M, UCF
Louis Perez, M, UCF
Yoni Sorokin, M, UCF *
Josh Burnett, M, UConn
Blaise N'Gague, M, UConn *
Adrian Billhardt, F, USF *
Josue Monge, M, USF
Talen Maples, B, SMU
Alan Camacho Soto, F, Temple *
Darri Sigthorsson, B, Temple
Joe Ruiz, M, Tulsa

[*] denotes unanimous selection

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