SPARTABURG, SC – UNC Greensboro junior Randi Patterson was among seven Spartans earning all-conference honors and became the first player in 20 years to earn back-to-back Southern Conference Men’s Soccer Player of the Year honors when the conference announced its annual awards on Tuesday.
UNCG placed five players on the first team and two on the second team. Joining Patterson on the first team were midfielders Scott Jones and Jokull Elisabetarson, defender David Worthen and goalkeeper Jay Benfield. Defenders D.J. McCurry and Casey Davis earned second-team honors.
Patterson, a junior forward from Hackensack, NJ, became the first player since Appalachian State’s John Nedd won consecutive Player of the Year awards in 1984 and 1985. Patterson is the fourth to win consecutive Player of the Year awards in the 32 seasons that the Southern Conference has chosen a Player of the Year. Appalachian State’s Thompson Usiyan (1977 and 1978) and Mark Schwartz (1981 and 1982) were the other two to win the award in consecutive years. Usiyan is the only person to win the award three times, also earning top honors in 1980.
Patterson, a candidate for the Hermann Award (given to College Soccer’s National Player of the Year), leads the SoCon with 39 points this season on 16 goals and seven assists. Six of his 16 goals came against SoCon competition. He is currently fifth in the nation in goals per game and sixth in the country in points per contest. Six of his goals were game-winners this season, which also leads the conference. He has at least one point in 13 of UNCG’s 18 matches this season, including each of UNCG’s conference matches. Earlier this season, he became just the 13th player in school history and only the sixth junior to record 100 career points. It was also his third all-conference honor and second straight first-team recognition.
Jones, also a candidate for the Hermann Award, earned his third-straight first-team all-conference honor. The Dallas, TX native is seventh in the country in assists per match. He leads the conference in assists with 12 and is fifth in the league in points with 20 (four goals). Five of Jones’ 12 assists came in conference play.
Benfield, a senior from Lewisville, NC, is currently sixth in the country in save percentage at .843, which is also tops in the SoCon. His 0.74 goals against average and seven shutouts are also best in the conference. He allowed just one goal the entire month of October, including a shutout streak of 534:39 at one point. In six SoCon matches this season, Benfield had a 0.34 GAA and a .905 save percentage.
Elisabetarson, a freshman from Iceland, solidified the UNCG midfield this season. He also recorded two goals this season, but more importantly, was a big part of the Spartans success on the defensive end of the field along with Worthen, McCurry and Davis. Worthen, a redshirt sophomore from Morehead City, NC, earned his second-straight first-team selection. McCurry, a sophomore from Gastonia, NC, earned his first all-conference selection, appearing in 16 of 18 matches thus far this season. Davis, a senior from Columbus, NC who played in all 18 matches this season, was also a second-team all-conference selection in 2003.
UNCG alumnus and former assistant coach Darren Powell was named the SoCon’s Coach of the Year. Powell, who moved up I-40 from UNCG to Elon last winter, guided the Phoenix to a third-place finish this season and beat both of the regular season co-champions UNCG and Davidson.
Elon’s Kiki Willis was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year.
Southern Conference All-Conference Teams
F-Randi Patterson, UNC Greensboro
F -Jeremy Gold, College of Charleston
F -Kiki Willis, Elon
MF -Scott Jones, UNC Greensboro
MF -Dominic Cianciarulo, Furman
MF-Jokull Elisabetarson, UNC Greensboro
D -David Worthen, UNC Greensboro
D -John Latting, Davidson
D -Keion Yearwood, College of Charleston
D -Junior Nombre, Elon
D -Jon Leathers, Furman
GK -Jay Benfield, UNC Greensboro
F-Jesus Arroyo-Peco, Wofford
F-Tate Parrish, Appalachian State
F-Brian Martin, Furman
F-Lawrence Smith, Georgia Southern
MF-Cass Baltz, Davidson
MF-Brett Paschall, Elon
MF-Josh Villalobos, Furman
D-D.J. McCurry, UNC Greensboro
D-Nahum Navas, Davidson
D-Casey Davis, UNC Greensboro
GK-Taylor Saxe, Elon
Player of the Year: Randi Patterson, UNC Greensboro
Freshman of the Year: Kiki Willis, Elon
Coach of the Year: Darren Powell, Elon
- UNCG -