ERIE, Pa. – Penn State Behrend goalkeeper Chris Ralph (Murrysville, PA/Franklin Regional) was named 2017 Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) Defensive Player of the Year, while eight other men's soccer players earned an All-Conference nod.
Head coach Dan Perritano was named the AMCC Coach of the Year for the third time in his career. Perritano guided the Lions to their 11th consecutive conference championship game appearance after sustaining a perfect 9-0 record in the AMCC.
Ralph was tabbed with his second First Team All-Conference nod. The 2017 AMCC Preseason Player of the Year finished the regular season with a .25 goals-against average, only allowing two conference goals to rank first in the conference. His eight shutouts during the regular season ranked him 13th in the country. As playoffs were approaching, only five teams tallied a goal when he was in net, two of which were nationally ranked.
Senior Matt Dziadosz (Leechburg, PA/Kiski Area) and sophomores Aaron Harris (Washington, PA/McGuffey) and Nick Schwarzel (South Park, PA/South Park) joined Ralph on the first team. Dziadosz, a first-time selection, led Behrend in goals (9), assists (11), and points (29), ranking him sixth, second, fifth in the conference respectively. He tabbed a goal and assist in the AMCC semifinal match, and also converted a penalty kick in the title game to even the score.
Schwarzel, also a first-time selection, helped the Lions to hold conference opponents to only three goals during the regular season. His crafty footwork enabled him to be an offensive threat going forward, notching two goals and an assist. Harris earned his second conference honor after earning third team last season. He was second for the Lions in goals (8), assists (5), and points (21).
Freshman Christian Eckberg (Norwin, PA/Norwin) earned a Second Team All-conference nod as a freshman. He started in all 20 games for the Lions, recording three goals and one assist in his rookie season. Andrew Mastovich (Murrysville, PA/Franklin Regional) joined Eckberg on the second team for his first All-Conference honor. The sophomore defender helped Behrend tally eight shutouts this season, including six in conference play. He also added three goals and one assist.
Freshman Richard Blanchard (Erie, PA/Cathedral Prep) and seniors Matt Baleno (Pittsburgh, PA/Plum) and Josh Kolarac (Imperial, PA/West Allegheny) each tabbed a spot on the third team, earning their first All-Conference honors. Blanchard notched six goals in his rookie season, including three game-winning goals that tied for most on the team. Baleno was a crucial role player by helping the Lions maintain possession throughout the game and making minimal mistakes on the ball. He dished out two assists on the season. Kolarac, the senior defender, was instrumental in helping the Lions maintain the second lowest goals-against average (.83) in the conference. He was the glue for the team's back-line, communicating to keep the shape and formation of the team intact.