Four Gamecocks Garner All-Conference USA Honors, Berson Coach Of The Year|
Nov. 8, 2011
DALLAS, Texas - Four South Carolina men's soccer players garnered All-Conference USA honors on Tuesday, while Gamecock head coach Mark Berson was named the league's Coach of the Year. The awards were voted on by the league head coaches. The honors were announced a day before the 2011 C-USA Tournament kicks off in Tulsa, Okla., at the Hurricane Soccer and Track Complex.
South Carolina sophomore forward Bradlee Baladez was selected to the Conference USA First Team, senior midfielder Stephen Morrissey was named to the second team; and freshman midfielder Braeden Troyer and senior defender Danny Cates were selected to the third team. Troyer was also named to the league's all-freshman squad.
Berson earns the C-USA Coach of the Year honor for the first time, while it marks the second career coach of the year award for the long-time Carolina head coach, as he was named the Independent Coach of the Year following the 1998 campaign. Berson led an exceptionally young team to the 2011 C-USA regular season co-championship this fall, and the squad enters tournament play as the No. 1 seed after a 6-1-1 record in league games. Earlier this season, Berson became just the eighth NCAA Division I coach all-time to reach the 450-victory milestone, captured when Carolina earned a thrilling 1-0 double overtime win at No. 22 UCF in a crucial match towards the regular-season race. Berson is in his 35th season overall as a college head coach and his 34th at South Carolina.
Baladez paced the Gamecocks during the regular season with seven goals and five assists for 19 points on the season. The Dallas, Texas, native tallied at least one point in all eight of South Carolina's conference USA matches this fall, including two game-winning tallies, at UAB and versus Tulsa. Entering postseason play, Baladez leads the Gamecocks with 52 shots, including 23 on goal. He was a 2010 all-conference third team and all-freshman team selection.
A senior captain for the 2011 squad, Morrissey has tallied four goals on 15 shots, including five on goal this season. The Franklin, Tenn., native netted the game winner in South Carolina's 2-1 victory over High Point earlier this fall, while also scoring goals versus then-No. 21 Charlotte, Bradley and SMU. Morrissey has started all 17 games this season for the Garnet and Black. He was also selected to the 2008 C-USA All-Freshman team.
Cates' selection to the all-conference team marks the first of his career. The Irmo, S.C., native has contributed five assists this season, which is tied for the team high. His first assist of the 2011 campaign came in the season opener at College of Charleston, while he also added assists versus UAB, SMU, in a shutout over NC State and versus Kentucky. A key member of the Carolina defensive line, Cates has helped the Gamecocks achieve three team shutouts this season.
Troyer quickly emerged as a force in the Gamecock midfield during his freshman campaign. The Columbia, S.C., native has started all 17 matches for the squad, and has contributed five goals, which ranks second on the team. He has also added two game winners this fall, the first against Marshall followed by the winner on the road at FIU. Troyer has eight shots on frame this season, with five of those resulting in goals.
South Carolina travels to the 2011 Conference USA Tournament in Tulsa, Okla., this week where the top-seeded Gamecocks will play the winner of the first quarterfinal match between No. 4 seed Marshall and No. 5 seed SMU. The Gamecocks will play in the first semifinal match, which will take place on Friday at 6 p.m. ET.
Conference USA All-Conference Awards
Offensive Player of the Year
Defensive Player of the Year
Freshman of the Year
Coach of the Year
All-Conference First Team
All-Conference Second Team
All-Conference Third Team