Thursday, November 3, 2011 (Men's Soccer)
THREE MEN'S SOCCER PLAYERS EARN ALL-NJAC HONORS; WALTER AVANS SCORES FIRST-TEAM ACCOLADES
PITMAN, NJ (NJCUGothicKnights.com) | New Jersey City University senior forward WALTER AVANS (Roselle Park, NJ/Union Catholic) was the offensive spark in the Gothic Knight's late season run into conference playoff contention and for the third consecutive season, he has been selected to the All-New Jersey Athletic Conference team. Avans, a Second-Team All-NJAC pick in 2009 and 2010, earned First-Team All-NJAC accolades, in voting by the conference's 10 head coaches.
Avans was one of three Gothic Knights to earn All-NJAC distinction. Junior midfielder EDUARDO TEJADA (North Arlington, NJ/North Arlington) earned Honorable Mention All-NJAC honors for the second time in his career while junior transfer forward AMANFO ASSIBU (Bronx, NY/Sheepshead Bay) was a first-time Honorable Mention selection.
Avans, who finished his career ranking No. 2 in school history with 39 career goals and third with 89 points, is the first Gothic Knight to earn First-Team All-NJAC status since Cristhian Acuna, John Bernal and Edison Bilbao all received the nod in 2008.
Avans finished the season with 12 goals and five assists on 29 points in 17 games (13 starts). He attempted 56 shots (33 shots on goal), scored the first goal of a game three times while bagging a pair of hat tricks, with one game-winner. He led NJCU in goals, assists—a career high in helpers—points, shots, and shots on goal. His 1,099 minutes played were sixth most on the team and most by a forward.
On September 4, Avans broke school records that had stood since the mid-1970s when he netted five goals and 10 points in a rout of Medgar Evers College.
As of November 3, Avans ranked third in the NJAC in points per game (1.71), goals per game (0.71), and assists, fourth in total points, fifth in goals and assists per game (0.29), ninth in shots, 10th in shots per game (3.29), and 19th in game-winners.
"He is a team-oriented, hard-working player who has a nose for the goal and knows how to be in the right place at the right time," noted third-year head coach NANSHA KALONJI. "He was a little more disciplined and mature this year. He believed he could be one of the best players in this confrence and he worked hard at it. He never quits and has gotten better every season because of the offseason improvements he made. His dedication got him to where he is today. He did not want to come off the fiel and we couldn't take him off during the last six games."
Within league play, Avans ranks fourth in points per game (1.38), goals per game (0.62) and goals (5), seventh in game-winners (1), 15th in shots per game (2.75), was 16th in shots (22), and 27th in assists (1). Most notable were his hat trick in a 5-1 rout of The College of New Jersey on October 22, and his first goal in a 4-2 win over Ramapo College on October 24. He also scored in a 2-1 loss at Richard Stockton College.
Avans finished his career with 39 goals, 11 assists, 89 points, 179 shots and 99 shots on goal with a .553 shots on goal percentage and two game-winners, making 3-of-4 penalty kick tries. He played in 66 games over 3,887 minutes for NJCU. In addition to his ranking in goals and points, he his tied for third all-time in shots on goal, ranks eighth in goals per game (0.59), ninth in points per game (1.35) and 10th in shots per game (2.71).
Nationally, in games played through October 30, the senior tri-captain was among the NCAA leaders in total goals (47th), total points (51st), goals per game (59th), points per game (62nd) and total assists (203rd).
Tejada, who earned All-NJAC distinction in 2008 as a sophomore, before missing the last two seasons, didn't show much rust in his return to the pitch this season. In his role as a defensive midfielder, he played in 18 games (14 starts) with one goal and four assists for six points while attempting 25 shots (4 SOG). His 1,371 minutes played were second most on the team.
"Coming back to a team that was different than we he last played he had to adapt and the years he missed put him a step back initially," said Kalonji. "Without question he was one of the most talented players we have and if puts in the work during the offseason, he can be a first-team player next year; that's where he belongs."
Overall in the conference he ranks 10th in assists and 12th in assists per game (0.22). Two of his assists came during conference play and he ranked tied for seventh in assists during league action. He was 13th in assists per NJAC game (0.22) and 29th in NJAC game shots (15, 1.67 per).
"Eddy was a team player, sacrificing his own game," Kalonji added. He played sweeper and other defensive positions and was really a utility worker for us, stepping in and stepping up where we needed him. He started the year in the back, became a defensive midfielder then an attacking mid. He was definitely a team player."
Assibu didn't play in his first game until September 17, but demonstrated quickness and a powerful shot that kept defenses on edge. Despite missing half the season, he netted two goals and two assists for six points in 11 games (10 starts). He was third on the club with 38 shots and third in shots on goal (15). He scored one first goal.
Overall, he was eighth in shots per game (3.45), 18th in shots and 26th in assists per game (0.18). During league games, he listed seventh in assists (2), eighth in shots per game (3.38), 10th in assists per game (0.25), 11th in total shots (27), 15th in points (6) and goals (2), 16th in points per game (0.75) and 18th in goals per game (0.25).
"Amanfo made a last-minute decision to come to NJCU and coming in late hurt him because he didn't even reach his peak," said Kalonji. "The late start cost him the preseason and the first six games of the season. He's a very talented player and how hard he works during the offseason will determine if he can be a first-team player next year."