The Daily Star
---- — Staff Report
The best soccer players in the SUNY Athletic Conference wear Oneonta State uniforms.
That’s according to the SUNYAC’s coaches, whose votes for conference Player and Rookie of the Year honors in men’s and women’s soccer this season resulted in a Red Dragons sweep Thursday.
Senior defender Dan Scott won SUNYAC Player of the Year for Oneonta’s men, who also had the conference’s Rookie of the Year in freshman midfielder Sean Vinberg.
O-State’s women also doubled up on the SUNYAC’s top awards as senior forward Kayla Brantmeyer won Player of the Year and freshman sweeper Krystal Scott received Rookie of the Year.
All-SUNYAC first-teamer Dan Scott anchored a men’s defense that helped produce a SUNYAC Tournament title and an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the second consecutive season. That defense has allowed less than one goal per game heading into this weekend’s opening NCAA rounds, which will be hosted by O-State (13-5-1) at Red Dragon Field.
“This award could have gone to any number of players on our team,” said Scott, whose team will play a first-round NCAA game against MIT at 1:30 p.m. Saturday with the hopes of advancing to Sunday’s 1 p.m. second-round game against Montclair State or Salve Regina. “I am a better player because of my teammates, who push me to be the best that I can be.”
Senior teammate Eric Fortier won the SUNYAC Player of the Year honor last season, which ended with an appearance in the NCAA D-III semifinals in San Antonio, Texas.
O-State’s men also had the conference’s Rookie of the Year for the second straight season as All-SUNYAC second-teamer Vinberg follows sophomore teammate Justin Rivera as the top newcomer.
“Sean is a natural center midfielder, but after suffering a host of injuries to our defensive ranks early in preseason, we asked Sean to fill in at fullback,” O-State coach Iain Byrne said of Vinberg, a 17-game starter who has one goal and one assist. “We see a bright future for him over the next three years.”
Brantmeyer became the ninth O-State woman to earn Player of the Year honors and the first since 2008. An All-SUNYAC first-teamer, Brantmeyer led the Red Dragons (12-7-1) with 16 points, on six goals and four assists.
Brantmeyer is also O-State’s second woman to follow Rookie of the Year honors (in 2009) with Player of the Year accolades. The first was Stamford Central graduate Mary Velan, The Daily Star’s Player of the Year for high school girls soccer in 2002 who graduated from Oneonta State in 2008.
Also a First Team SUNYAC selection this season, Krystal Scott started all 20 games and had one assist for the Red Dragons. She is the Red Dragons’ fifth SUNYAC Rookie of the Year and the third in the last four seasons.
“It’s nice to have the conference coaches recognize the talent of our players,” said O-State coach Liz McGrail, who also graduated from Stamford Central. “Kayla and Krystal were an important part of our success this year. Kayla has been an impactful player in our program for four years. Krystal will be an impactful player for us over the next three years.”
Hartwick senior striker Cleyon Brown made the Mid-American Conference’s Second Team, the Hawks announced Thursday.
Brown led Hartwick in goals scored (six) and points (15) this season, the bulk of which came during a six-game span in September when he had five goals and one assist.
“We’re very happy for Cleyon,” Hartwick coach John Scott said. “The league coaches vote on these awards, so he proved to them over the course of the season that he belongs in the same company as the top forwards in the MAC.”
Brown closed his last season at Hartwick with an assist in the Hawks’ regular-season finale, a 2-1 victory at Florida Atlantic. Among MAC players, he ranks sixth in goals per game and eighth in points per game.
Brown finished with 22 points – on eight goals and six assists – in 49 games for Hartwick all-time.
Akron swept the MAC’s top awards as Scott Caldwell earned Player of the Year and Caleb Porter received Coach of the Year.
The Empire 8 Conference recognized four Hartwick women on its all-conference teams, the Hawks announced Thursday.
Junior forward Cristina Sicari, sophomore goalkeeper Hope Brown and freshman midfielder Stephanie Morini received honorable mentions from the E8, which selected senior Carly Pine as Hartwick’s representative on the conference’s Sportswoman of the Year team.
Sicari leads the Hawks with seven goals and has assisted on five others for 19 points.
Brown started every game in goal for the Hawks this season, stopping 81 shots (tied for fourth in the E8) and shutting out five opponents (third in the E8).
Morini has four goals and three assists for 11 points in her first season with the Hawks.
Hartwick (8-8-1) will compete in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III Upstate Championship for the first time since 1995 this weekend. The Hawks will face E8 foe and tournament host St. John Fisher at noon Saturday in the semifinals.