YORK, Pa. - Following an 11-3-3 regular season and a Capital Athletic Conference regular season and postseason championship year, Salisbury University men's soccer Head Coach Gerry DiBartolo has been named the CAC Coach of the Year, while five members of his squad earned All-CAC recognition, including two first-team selections.
Juniors Leslie Umunna and Nathaniel Eiben were named to the first team, while seniors Dennis Runikera, Jr., Taylor Groginski, and Drew Staedeli were named to the second team. With five selections, Salisbury is the highest represented team in the all-conference honors.
In his 34th season at the helm of the Salisbury men's soccer program, DiBartolo earns the CAC Coach of the Year honor for his seventh time. DiBartolo is just the second coach to win seven conference Coach of the Year awards, as he leads the team into its 13th NCAA tournament appearance. The 17th winningest coach in NCAA Division III men's soccer, DiBartolo has announced this season would be his last as the head coach of the Gulls.
Umunna, in his first season in the maroon and gold has scored seven goals, including three game-winning goals. The seven goals, for 14 points, are both team highs and good for seventh best and 10th best in the CAC, respectively. The Bowie, Maryland native also leads the team in shots as he has taken 49 on the season.
The leading defensive scoring threat for the Sea Gulls, Eiben has made a name for himself conference wide in his first season in a primary starting role. Coming into the year with just four starts and zero career points, Eiben has started every game this season and has tallied four goals and one assist, for nine points. Eiben has also been a vital part of the 10 shutouts the team has produced this season and the 570-minute scoreless streak that is still going. Playing great defense all season, Eiben cracked into the scoring column for the first time against the University of Mary Washington on October 17, as he tallied two goals for the Gulls. Two of Eiben's goals this year have been game-winners.
Runikera earns his first All-CAC honor as he has played an important role in the middle of the field for the Gulls all season. A player that can be found making big plays on both ends of the field, Runikera tallied one goal for the Sea Gulls this year and logged important minutes down the stretch in games all season.
Groginski is also getting his first All-CAC nod as the senior midfielder scored two goals and three assists. Groginski has been used all over the field this year and at times as been the last line of defense, before Staedeli, but still managed a seven-point season. The Liverpool, New York native also had one game-winning goal as he scored the deciding marker against the United States Merchant Marine Academy early in the season.
Staedeli has had a historic season for the Sea Gulls as his stats sit at or near the top of both the CAC and national ranks. On the year, Staedeli has a .898 save percentage, good for first in the CAC and tied for fourth in the nation. In conference matchups this season, Staedeli posted a .917 save percentage. Staedeli also has 9 shutouts (second in the CAC), a 0.56 goals-against average (second in the CAC), and 97 saves (tied for second in the CAC), while only allowing 11 goals (third in the CAC) on the season. Staedeli is the only keeper in the conference to sit in the top-five of all of the aforementioned stats. With 97 saves this season – overtaking his past season high of 61 – Staedeli now sits at 222 career saves, good for fourth all time for a Salisbury goalkeeper. Staedeli was honored as the league's defensive player of the week for the week of October, 26 (his third time earning the award) after a week where he compiled 19 saves on 20 shots on goal in 220 minutes of play. This marks the third-straight season Staedeli has been recognized by the CAC with an all-conference selection.
Salisbury now travels to Montclair, New Jersey for a NCAA sectional showdown where it will take on Tufts University on Saturday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m. The winner of that contest will go on to play the winner of Montclair State University and Daniel Webster College.