Tuesday, September 11, 2012
North Carolina’s Martin Murphy earned his second consecutive ACC Player of the Week honor on Tuesday, with the former Carolina Dynamo forward leading the current and former PDL alumni who starred in NCAA Division I soccer during the past week.
Murphy, who appeared in 15 games for the Dynamo in 2011, scored both goals for the Tar Heels in their conference schedule-opening 2-0 victory against Virginia Tech on Saturday night. Murphy’s goals came less than two minutes apart, with the senior opening the scoring in the 14th minute against the Hokies for what would prove to be his third game-winning goal of the season.
Murphy also took ACC Player of the Week honors on September 4 for the top-ranked Tar Heels, scoring the game-winning goals in victories against West Virginia and Boston University the previous weekend. With fellow Dynamo players Scott Goodwin, Boyd Okwuonu, Mikey Lopez and Jordan Gafa also representing the Tar Heels this season, North Carolina has started the defense of its 2011 National Championship strongly.
Murphy was joined on the TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week by Northwestern midfielder Chris Ritter as the Chicago Fire PDL alum earned MVP honors at the NIU adidas Invitational. Ritter led the Wildcats to a pair of victories against Drake and Rhode Island, earning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.
With the Wildcats’ tied against Drake on Friday night in their opening game of the tournament, the game went to overtime, where Ritter scored from a corner kick less than three minutes in to give his side victory. Two days later, Ritter turned provider in Northwestern’s 3-2 victory against Rhode Island, recording the assist on both goals by Joey Calistri, including the game-winner.
Ritter’s Fire PDL teammate Tyler Engel was also named to the TDS Team of the Week after scoring a pair of game-winning goals and adding a pair of assists for Southern Methodist University during the weekend. Engel was also named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts that saw the Mustangs rebound from a pair of defeats the previous week.
El Paso Patriots goalkeeper Victory Rodriguez also earned TDS Team of the Week honors after recording a shutout in difficult conditions in No. 8 New Mexico’s victory against UAB, as did Portland Timbers U-23s defender Eric Miller after helping No. 3 Creighton take a pair of 1-0 victories against Santa Clara and St. Mary’s.
Austin Aztex forward Will Morse had a standout weekend for Florida Gulf Coast, earning Atlantic Sun Player of the Week honors after scoring in both of the Eagles’ victories against Iona and South Carolina. Morse, who had four goals for the Aztex this past summer, has now scored goals in three consecutive games, a school record, as FGCU moved to 3-2 this season.
Morse was joined by the Ogden Outlaws’ Ethan Summers in being honored by the Atlantic Sun, with the Lipscomb standout taking Defensive Player of the Week honors as he had two goals and one assist in a pair of games this weekend. Summer scored the game-tying goal for the Bison in the 88th minute against Oral Roberts before bagging the game-winning goal in overtime.
Former Carolina Dynamo player Chris Thomas had a standout week for Elon during the weekend, and was named the Southern Conference Player of the Week for his efforts. Thomas scored four goals in two games for the Phoenix this past weekend at the Hyatt Place Select Invitational at Lipscomb College, leading his side to a 3-2 victory against the hosts before a 4-2 win against Belmont on Sunday.
FC Tucson’s Elijah Galbraith-Knapp took the West Coast Conference’s Player of the Week award after scoring in both of San Diego’s victories during the weekend. Galbraith-Knapp had the game-winning goal for the Toreros in their 2-0 win against Ohio State on Friday night, then added another as his side defeated Houston Baptist 2-0 on Sunday.
Galbraith-Knapp’s FC Tucson teammate Aaron Long took the Big West’s Offensive Player of the Week award, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime for UC Riverside in their 4-3 victory against UNLV and fellow Tucson player Nick Marshall. The goal allowed the Highlanders to extend their winning streak to five games, a school-best since joining Division I 12 seasons ago.
Long was joined in being honored by Orange County Blue Star goalkeeper Chase Hauser, who recorded his second career shutout in his third start for Cal Poly. The sophomore, who appeared in a pair of games for the Blue Star this past summer, recorded three saves and faced 12 shots total in the Mustangs’ 1-0 victory against Valparaiso.
Ventura County Fusion midfielder Jochem Graf was named the Missouri Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Week after leading Bradley to victory in the Evansville ProRehab Aces Classic. Graf had a pair of goals in the Braves’ 4-1 victory against Portland on Sunday, his second multi-goal game of the season, and now has 11 points this season. Former Chicago Fire PDL goalkeeper Alex Riggs was also honored as MVC Defensive Player of the Week after helping Missouri State record their fifth consecutive shutout with a 2-0 win against Eastern Illinois and a 0-0 draw with Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Seacoast United Phantoms goalkeeper Travis Worra claimed a share of the America East Player of the Week award after recording a pair of shutouts to help the University of New Hampshire claim a share of the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Windjammer Classic this past weekend, sharing the award with fellow goalkeeper Conor Leland of the University of Vermont.
The Central Jersey Spartans’ Ryan Clark claimed a share of the Northeast Conference’s Player of the Week award after scoring the game-winning goal for Monmouth that kept it undefeated this season. He shared the award with former FC London goalkeeper Toba Bolaji, who recorded 10 saves for Robert Morris in its 1-0 victory against Wright State.