FLORENCE, Ky. — University of Rio Grande junior forward Willian Paulino has been named the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Year and is one of six RedStorm players named to the 2015 All-KIAC First Team.
The all-conference teams and award winners, which were determined through balloting of the conference’s head coaches, were announced Wednesday by the league office.
A total of 14 players were selected for the All-KIAC Men’s Soccer First Team and 11 players selected to the All-KIAC Men’s Soccer Second Team. Individual awards were selected as well, along with a Champions of Character award recipient from each school.
Paulino, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, scored 16 goals and 37 points to rank second in the KIAC in both categories for the top-ranked and regular season conference champion RedStorm. He is 11th in the country in goals per game (1.00) and 13th in points per game (2.31).
Ben Martinez, Rio’s freshman goalkeeper, was selected as the KIAC Men’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-0 native of Montpellier, France, has played every minute of all 17 games for the RedStorm and has given up just nine goals for a goals-against average of 0.52. He ranks eighth in the nation with 10 shutouts.
Martinez was also named the KIAC Newcomer of the Year.
The remainder of the Rio Grande contingent named to the First Team along with Paulino and Martinez were senior forward Luiz Filho (Sao Paulo, Brazil), sophomore midfielder Joao Paulo Antonio (Sao Paulo, Brazil), junior defender Patricio Arce (Santiago, Chile) and junior defender Heitor de Melo (Sao Paulo, Brazil).
Rio Grande was also represented on the All-KIAC Second Team by sophomore midfielder Jorge Guinovart and freshman midfielder Eduardo Zurita, both of who hail from Barcelona, Spain.
Rio Grande head coach Scott Morrissey was selected as the conference Coach of the Year. He has guided the RedStorm to the KIAC regular-season championship with an unbeaten conference mark at 6-0 and 16 wins in 17 games overall as the No. 1-ranked team in the NAIA all year long. Rio Grande is third nationally with 73 total goals.
The Comeback Player of the Year was WVU Tech senior defender Raul Martin. He has returned to action to start 15 games on defense for the Golden Bears while scoring one goal and four points on the year. WVU Tech has eight shutouts this season.
Second place finisher WVU Tech had four players on the first team while third and fourth-place teams Point Park and Asbury had two each. Point Park led the second team with three of the 11 selections. There were two selections each from Rio Grande, WVU Tech, Ohio Christian and Brescia.
The remainder of the First Team included forwards Francisco Neto (WVUT) and Sam Laughton (WVUT); midfielders Ryan Metcalf (AU), Jose Segarra (WVUT) and Dominic Canello (PPU); defenders were Austin Baker (AU) and Paul Carr (PPU); and goalkeeper Hunter Moles (WVUT).
Rio Grande’s Champion of Character recipient was senior defender Kimathi Kaumbutho (Nairobi, Kenya).
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.