Nov. 8, 2012
Park Ridge, ill. -
The Big Ten Conference announced its men’s soccer All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners at the Big Ten Tournament banquet on Thursday evening. Indiana’s Eriq Zavaleta was the unanimous selection for Offensive Player of the Year. Northwestern’s Chris Ritter earned the Defensive Player of the Year award, and teammate Joey Calistri was the unanimous choice for Freshman of the Year. Penn State’s Bob Warming reeled in Coach of the Year honors.
Zavaleta earns recognition as the conference’s top offensive player after leading the Big Ten in nearly every offensive category. The Hoosier forward finished the regular season atop the conference in shots (73), shots per game (4.06), points (34), points per game (1.89), goals (16), goals per game (0.89) and game-winning goals (5). The sophomore’s 16 goals were more than double the total of the second-highest scorer. He becomes the second Indiana player to earn Offensive Player of the Year recognition since the award was established in 2009.
Ritter led a Northwestern defense that allowed 15 goals in 18 regular-season matches this season, including just three in Big Ten contests, leading the Wildcats to a share of the Big Ten title. His win marks the second time a Wildcat has won the award.
Calistri receives recognition as the Big Ten’s top newcomer after leading Northwestern and ranking near the top of the conference in points (16), goal s (7), shots (38) and game-winning goals (3). Calistri becomes the third Northwestern player to earn the award and the first since Piero Bellizzi in 2007.
Warming earns the Coach of the Year award in just his third season with the Nittany Lions. He guided Penn State to a share of the Big Ten title and the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, as the Nittany Lions put together a 9-4-3 overall record and a 3-1-2 mark in conference play. The award marks the second time a Penn State coach has earned Coach of the Year accolades and first since Barry Gorman in 2005.
Zavaleta, Ritter and Calistri all earned spots on the All-Big Ten first team and are joined by Indiana’s A.J. Corrado, Michigan’s Tyler Arnone, Michigan State’s Adam Montague, Northwestern’s Nikko Boxall and Tyler Miller, Penn State’s Jacob Barron and John Gallagher, and Wisconsin’s AJ Cochran. Zavaleta and Ritter were both unanimous choices for first-team honors. The complete All-Big Ten teams, including the All-Freshman Team, can be found below.
The Big Ten also recognized seven Sportsmanship Award honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. The complete list of honorees can be found above.