Irving Named MVP of 2019 NAC Men's Soccer All-Tournament Team

Castine, Maine - Eleven men were named to the 2019 North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Men's Soccer Championship All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the event on Sunday, November 10th. Senior Josh Irving (Portland, Maine) earned MVP honors, while three Thomas teammates were also named to the team: senior Drew Parsons (Farmington, Maine), junior Hayden Elwell (Readfield, Maine), and junior Zenawi Bowen (St. George's, Bermuda). Maine Maritime seniors Matt Caron (Scarborough, Maine) and Evan Backus (Farmington, Maine), and first-year Reuben Harrison (Heidelberg, Germany) were also named to the team. SUNY Canton was represented by first-year Shayne O'Neill (Dannemora, N.Y.) and junior Kevin Valesquez (Patchogue, N.Y.). Husson players junior Jahmal Williams (Wingdale, N.Y.) and first-year Cai Pritchard (Brighton, UK) were also selected to the team.

MVP - Josh Irving, Thomas - Irving (pictured left with NAC Commissioner Marcella Zalot and Owen Parsons) - Irving found MacQuille Walker (Hamilton Parish, Bermuda) cutting through the 18 for a one-timer that beat Mariners' keeper Trevor Gray (Gorham, Maine) in the 19th minute to make it 1-0 in the championship game, a game Thomas ultimately won 4-1. In the semifinals against SUNY Canton, Irving assisted on a Zenawi Bowen goal in the first half before scoring the game-winning header off a Walker corner kick.

Drew Parsons, Thomas - Parsons, a First Team All-Conference midfielder, was key to the Thomas pressure campaign throughout the championship tournament. The Terriers held a 17-12 advantage in shots and a 7-2 advantage in corners in the championship game, which they won 4-1. Parsons had two shots, one on goal, in the semifinal win against SUNY Canton. As a team, the Terriers logged 14 shots and seven corner kicks in the 2-1 victory.

Hayden Elwell, Thomas - Elwell proved to be a defensive weapon for the champion Terriers. In the championship game, Thomas held Maine Maritime to two corner kicks, and despite taking 12 shots, the Mariners mustered only one goal when they averaged 2.67 goals per game through the season. Behind Elwell, keeper John Villanueva (Gray, Maine) only needed to make two stops in the championship victory. Villanueva was also protected in the semifinal win over SUNY Canton, needing only three saves in the 2-1 win.

Zenawi Bowen, Thomas - Bowen found MacQuille Walker on a through ball that he buried in the far netting in the 25th minute of the championship game against Maine Maritime, assisting what would be the eventual game-winner. The Terriers went on to win the game, 4-1. In the semifinal game against SUNY Canton, Bowen put Thomas on the board with an an assist from Irving. Bowen received the ball ten yards out and on the right side, then pushed the ball past Canton's keeper to the lower-left hand corner. Bowen is also a Second Team All-Conference selection.

Reuben Harrison, Maine Maritime - Harrison put the Mariners on the board a mere 41 seconds into the semifinal game, when he beat Husson's charging goalie and snuck the ball into net to make it 1-0 Mariners. He later registered two assists when Dalton Moore (Hollis Center, Maine) scored the third Mariners' goal, and then Brad McKechnie (Passadumkeag, Maine) finished a rebound off of a Harrison shot in the 60th minute to push the Maine Maritime lead to 5-1, where it would stand.

Evan Backus, Maine Maritime - A First Team All-Conference midfielder, Backus anchored the Mariners throughout the championship weekend. Maine Maritime held an 18-15 advantage in shots in the semifinals against Husson. Key to both the offensive and defensive efforts, Backus also helped protect Trevor Gray (Gorham, Maine) in the goal, as he only needed to make two saves in the semifinal victory. The Mariners registered twelve shots in the championship game despite the loss.

Matt Caron, Maine Maritime - The 2019 NAC Men's Soccer Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference forward scored the only Maine Maritime goal in the championship upset. Caron scored a diving header from a Dalton Moore redirect to put the Mariners on the board in the 57th minute, making the score 4-1. In the semifinals, Liam Welch (Temple, Maine) scored the eventual game winner when he headed a throw in from Caron in the eighth minute to give the Mariners the 2-1 lead. Caron would go on to add the fourth goal for the Mariners in the semifinal victory.

Shayne O'Neill, SUNY Canton - SUNY Canton struck early in a quarterfinal matchup at SUNY Delhi on a goal scored by Shayne O'Neill ten minutes into the game. The game-winner was O'Neill's only shot of the tournament, though he was crucial to the offensive pressure throughout both the quarterfinal and semifinal contests. He was also named to the Second Team All-Conference.

Kevin Velasquez, SUNY Canton - Velasquez played a key role for SUNY Canton in the quarterfinal and semifinal games of the 2019 NAC Championship. The junior midfielder registered two shots, one on goal, in both contests. He aided the team's defense against two hard-charging offensive teams. Delhi took 22 shots and Thomas took 14, though the Roos came out on top against Delhi, 1-0, and dropped a close 2-1 semifinal game against the eventual conference champions.

Jahmal Williams, Husson - Williams was an offensive asset for Husson, registering three shots, one on goal, in an offensive onslaught of 19 shots against UMaine-Farmington in the quarterfinal round. The Eagles and Beavers played two full overtime periods and went to penalty kicks in a thrilling tournament contest. Contributing to the defense as well, Husson keeper Ben Powell (Frankfort, Maine) had to make only two stops in regulation.

Cai Pritchard, Husson - First-year forward Cai Pritchard led Husson throughout the championship tournament. He logged two shots, one on goal, in the quarterfinal win and controlled the Eagle's offensive pressure for 110 minutes. Husson forced nine corner kicks in the game and held UMF to only one. Pritchard continued to have chances in the semifinals against Maine Maritime, taking two of the 15 shots for Husson and pressuring the defense for six corners.