Rutherford, Shaw, Randolph, Johansson receive All-LEC honors
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Four members of the Plymouth State University men's soccer team were recognized Wednesday by earning places on the 2017 All-Little East Conference Team, as voted on by the league's eight head coaches.
Senior Nick Rutherford (Sydney, Australia) was named to the All-LEC First Team, while junior Dan Shaw (Winchester, England), sophomore Jerry Randolph (Malmo, Sweden) and freshman Filip Johansson (Lulea, Sweden) each earned All-LEC Second Team nods.
A 5-11 forward, Rutherford has plastered his name among the list of all-time greats to play at PSU. He led the Panthers in goals (nine), assists (10) and points (28) this fall, and appears among the program's all-time leaders in career goals, season assists, career assists and career points. His 30 career goals are seventh all-time, while his 10 assists this fall equaled the eighth most in a season. Rutherford began the year tied for ninth in career assists, but jumped all the way to second in program history by the end of the year with 28. His 88 career points are the sixth most in PSU men's soccer history.
"Nick's first team selection is well-deserved," said head coach Rob Wright. "He had the best points total of any player in conference play (averaging 2.14 points/game), which was even more impressive given that he was playing mostly as a left midfield player rather than a central forward. He scored some spectacular goals as more than two-thirds of his strikes this season were from outside the box."
A 6-3 defenseman and midfielder, Shaw finished the year with a goal and two assists while helping to lead a defense that posted three shutouts this fall. His two assists came in a key LEC win over Eastern Connecticut.
"Dan has done a tremendous job leading from the back," said Wright. "We are delighted he has been recognized by the LEC coaches in his junior year. With two years as captain under his belt, we have high expectations for him in his senior year."
A 5-6 forward, Randolph ended the year with two goals and three assists while using his speed to pressure opposing defenses. He played a big role in the Panthers' 3-0 win over Southern Maine as the team made a push for the LEC playoffs. Randolph scored the game winner in the eighth minute, then added an assist in the final five minutes to ice the win.
"Jerry had a breakout season playing as our 'No. 9,'" said Wright. "He did extremely well to recover from a serious car accident and play as well as he did, leading our forward line in a position dominated by taller guys."
A 6-1 defenseman, Johansson scored a pair of goals while helping to anchor the PSU backfield. The rookie's header off a Rutherford corner kick erased a 2-0 deficit to even the score in an early season game against New England College. Johansson also notched the game-winner against ECSU, when he got behind the defense and chipped the ball over the charging Warriors' keeper.
"Filip played extremely well in his freshman season in the heart of our defense," said Wright. "It speaks volumes that he was recognized for his performances when he was only able to feature in five of our seven conference games."
The Panthers ended the year with a 6-10 overall record, while going 3-4 in league play. PSU narrowly missed the playoffs after falling by a slim 3-2 margin to Rhode Island College on the final day of the regular season with the winning team guaranteed a playoff spot. Wright anticipates a bright future after sporting such a young team in 2017. Fifteen of the 25 players on the roster were freshmen or sophomores, with many gaining valuable experience for the future.
"For 2018 our challenge will be to replace Nick's goals and assists," he said, "but with a very young team this term we look forward to seeing this team grow."
Little East Conference
2017 Men's Soccer All-Conference Teams
F, Komla Dogbey, Rhode Island College
F, Chauncy Allers, Western Connecticut
F, William Salta, Keene State
M, Nick Rutherford, Plymouth State
M, Dennis Vazquez, Rhode Island College
M, Denis Martinez, UMass Boston
M, Xavier Doran, Eastern Connecticut
D, Elimane Seye, Rhode Island College
D, Marcelo Cunha, UMass Boston
D, Charlie Mull, Southern Maine
D, Shane Bierfeldt, Western Connecticut
GK, Ryan Murphy, Eastern Connecticut
F, Daniel Morales, UMass Boston
F, Jerry Randolph, Plymouth State
F, Jake Davenport, UMass Boston
M, Joshua Khang, UMass Boston
M, Darion Richeme, Western Connecticut
M, Conor Leahy, Keene State
M, Robert Della Penna, Western Connecticut
D, Shane Pugliese, Western Connecticut
D, Dan Shaw, Plymouth State
D, Ty Catunto, Rhode Island College
D, Filip Johansson, Plymouth State
GK, Richard Glemawu, Southern Maine
– 30 –