MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — University of Rio Grande sophomore forward Sebastian Borquez has been named the River States Conference Men’s Soccer Player of the Year and the RSC Offensive Player of the Year.
League officials made the announcement of its all-conference teams and award winners in advance of last Saturday’s RSC Tournament chammpionship, which the RedStorm won over Oakland City University to claim the league’s automatic bid to the NAIA National Tournament.
The All-RSC First & Second Teams consist of 14 players each — four forwards, four midfielders, four defenders and two goalkeepers and were determined through voting by the 10 RSC men’s soccer head coaches. Also named was the RSC Men’s Soccer Champions of Character Team.
Borquez, a native of Santiago, Chile, tallied 12 goals and 30 points to lead the RedStorm (14-4) in both categories. He ranks second in the conference in goals and is third in points.
Borquez was one of seven Rio players to earn all-conference honors.
Senior midfielder Ewan McLauchlan (Aroch, Scotland) was also a first team selection, while the second team included senior forward Samuel Pedersen (Aldershot, England), junior midfielder Charlie Chechlacz (Leicestershire, England), sophomore defenders Rodrigo Basso (Santiago, Chile) and Diego Montenegro (Santiago, Chile) and senior defender Silas Machado (Sao Paulo, Brazil).
McLauchlan is tied for second on the RedStorm with eight goals and is third in points with 22. He assisted on Rio’s first goal in the title game victory against Oakland City and netted the game-winner on a penalty kick with 1:53 left to play.
Pedersen has six goals, including three game-winning scores, for 12 points.
Chechlacz also has eight goals to go along with a team-best 11 assists. His 27 points rank second on the club and his 11 assists rank sixth nationally.
Basso, Montenegro and Machado anchor a Rio Grande defense which is tied for fifth nationally with five shutouts, while leading the conference with just 15 goals allowed.
Montenegro leads the trio offensively with three goals and four assists for 10 points. Machado has four goals — including three game-winners — and an assist for nine points, while Basso has scored twice and assisted on another for five points.
Brescia (Ky.) University goalkeeper Ruben Burgos was voted the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. A junior from Madrid, Spain, Burgos led the conference with 105 saves — a figure that ranks seventh in the NAIA. In 17 games, Burgos had a goals-against average of 2.03 and led the Bearcats to a 9-8-1 overall record.
WVU Tech head coach Oliver Hewitt-Fisher, a former Rio Grande standout, was voted by his peers as the conference Coach of the Year. Hewitt-Fisher, in his third year, has led the Golden Bears to a record of 12-3 overall and 7-1 RSC this season.
WVU Tech tied Rio Grande for the RSC Regular Season Championship, but received the playoff No. 1 seed as a result of a double-overtime win over the RedStorm. The Golden Bears, who were forced to miss the RSC Tournament due to COVID-19, are ranked No. 24 in the NAIA Top 25.
Point Park (Pa.) University defender Marco Monteiro was named the RSC Newcomer of the Year. The junior transfer from Villa Boa, Portugal, was the top vote-getter among new players to the conference this year. He was one of four defenders on the All-RSC First Team and the only first-team member who is new to the RSC.
Joining Borquez, McLauchlan and the other major award winners on the first team were forwards Mitchell Roell from Point Park, Trevor Lenke of Indiana University East and Luis Alejandro Jaimes from WVU-Tech; midfielders Geert Bijl of Point Park, Gustavo Ferrari from IU East and WVU-Tech’s Pablo Muniz; defenders Ruben Martin Macias of WVU-Tech, Alex Izaga from IU East and Asbury University’s Zach Robbins; and goal keeper Trey Miller from Asbury.
The RSC Men’s Soccer Champions of Character Team recognized one member of each team who best represents the NAIA five core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship.
Rio Grande’s representative on the list was senior Connor Paine (Cornwell, England).
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.