FLORENCE, Ky. — After being named NAIA National Player of the Year in his respective sport and leading his team to a national championship, University of Rio Grande junior men’s soccer player Willian Paulino has been voted the 2015-16 KIAC Male Athlete of the Year, the conference announced Thursday night.
Each KIAC member school nominates one male student-athlete for the award each year.
Conference athletic directors cast the voting with one winner chosen across all KIAC sports.
Paulino, a junior forward from Sao Paulo, Brazil, had a team-high 19 goals and 43 points for Rio Grande, which had an historic season with a final record of 23-1 overall and an NAIA men’s soccer national championship.
“Certainly, it’s an honor for Will as an individual to win this award, but it’s also an honor for our men’s soccer program as a whole – his teammates, the coaching staff and everyone else involved,” said Rio Grande head coach Scott Morrissey. “He had an outstanding season, no doubt, but I can speak for Will in saying that the award is a reflection of what he and his teammates accomplished as a group. He’s a humble guy and I know he’s honored. We’re equally as honored that he’s part of our program – he’s a great representative of the University of Rio Grande.”
Rio Grande was ranked No. 1 in the nation all year.
Paulino’s 19 goals led a RedStorm offense that ranked second in the nation with 93 total goals on the year.
Paulino was 12th in the nation in goals and 15th in points.
KIAC Offensive Player of the Year honors went to Paulino as well with the RedStorm going a perfect 6-0 in conference play and winning the KIAC Tournament.
Other awards included NAIA Men’s Soccer All-America First Team and NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship All-Tournament Team.
Paulino led Rio Grande with five game-winning goals.
He had two goals in a key 3-0 win over NAIA Top 25-ranked WVU Tech in a key KIAC showdown that kept the RedStorm atop the conference and national rankings.