Oglethorpe Puts Three Players on Coaches' All-Region First Team
The Oglethorpe men's soccer team received big recognition from the coaches around the South Atlantic region this week, as senior defender Jordan Locke, junior midfielder Topher Marshall and junior forward Ryan Marcano all earned spots on the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division III Men's All-South Atlantic Region First Team. It marks the second consecutive time that Marshall has earned All-Region accolades, and the first career All-Region selections for both Locke and Marcano. It's also the first career All-Region First Team accolades for all three of them.
Locke earns his first career All-Region honor, capping off a season in which he won the SAA Defensive Player of the Year award and earned a spot on the All-SAA First Team for the third straight time. He anchored Oglethorpe's stout defensive unit this season. It was a group that allowed an impressive 0.93 goals against average (GAA) and allowed just 20 goals on the season. They led the league in both categories heading into the NCAA tournament. He was named to the SAA All-Tournament Team off his outstanding effort in the team's 2-1 final victory over Centre and their 2-1 semifinal victory in overtime over Berry. He also tallied two assists in the first half of the Stormy Petrels' 5-2 win over North Carolina Wesleyan in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Marshall garners his second consecutive All-Region selection after taking home All-South Atlantic Region Third Team honors in 2016 as a sophomore. He also won his second consecutive SAA Offensive Player of the Year award, and was named to the All-SAA First Team for the third straight year. He finished the season atop the league leaderboard in a slew of categories, including goals (14), points (32), shots (73), game-winning goals (4, tied for first with teammate Gabriel Alvarez) and games played (21). He was outstanding in a 2-1 win over Berry on Oct. 20 that clinched his team's third consecutive SAA regular season title, scoring a pair of goals to facilitate a second-half comeback en route to the victory. He also earned SAA Offensive Player of the Week honors on Oct. 16, tallying three goals and an assist in wins over Millsaps and Birmingham-Southern the week prior.
Marcano earns his first career All-Region honor after also taking All-SAA First Team accolades in his first year with the Petrels. He finished the season near the top of the SAA leaderboard in a large number of categories, including goals (second in the SAA with 12), points (second with 30), game-winning goals (tied for fourth with 3) and assists (tied for fifth with 6). He earned SAA Tournament MVP honors for his efforts in helping to earn the team's second SAA title, scoring opening goals in both the championship game against Centre on Nov. 5 and the semifinal against Berry on Nov. 3. He also tallied a pair of assists in the Petrels' 5-1 quarterfinal victory over Hendrix on Oct. 28. He earned SAA Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 11 after scoring two goals and tallying an assist for five total points at the Seahawk Classic, helping his team to wins over St. Mary's (Maryland) and Salisbury.
All three players were instrumental in the program's most successful season ever. They finished the season on a program-high 15-game unbeaten streak, and came in with a 17-2-2 record, marking the best winning percentage in school history and tying for the most wins in school history with the 2011 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship team. This year's team also advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Championship, marking the farthest a Petrel men's soccer team has ever advanced in the tournament.
"I'm very proud of all three guys for earning this outstanding honor," said Oglethorpe head coach Jon Akin. "All three had truly outstanding seasons, and all three proved to be among the very best players in the region over the course of the season, so this is a well-deserved honor. When the coaches around the South Atlantic region, which stretches down the Atlantic Coast states and all the way across the South, from New Jersey to Arkansas, take notice of you in this fashion, it's a big honor. I think it's a testament to the success we had as a team this season, as well as the success these three players had individually."
Oglethorpe's three First Team honorees tied for the most in the region, with Lynchburg and Rutgers-Newark also earning three First Team honorees apiece. The three Petrel honorees were the only three First Team selections from the SAA, and were three of just four total All-Region selections from the SAA, as Centre defender Jesse DiLuzio earned a spot on the Second Team.