Alers Selected Team MVP For Second Straight Year; Three Others Honored With Awards
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Goalkeeper Bobby Thalman, who led the Ivy League in save percentage (.852) and saves (92), has been elected captain of the 2012 Yale men's soccer team. The announcement was made at the postseason banquet on Wednesday night following a team vote.
"It truly means a lot to me to have the confidence of my teammates and the support of the coaching staff," Thalman said. "It's a great honor to be elected captain knowing the quality of the individuals who have held the title before me, as well as the character of the guys on the team right now.
"As captain I hope to be able to improve on this season and keep the program moving in a positive direction. It has been amazing to be a part of the turnaround this team has put together, and I am very optimistic that even greater achievements are in store for us in 2012."
In the last two years, Thalman has played 3061 of a possible 3185 minutes in the Yale goal. This fall, he started all 17 games, finished with a 0.92 goals against average and was named second team All-Ivy. He earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors after making eight saves in a 1-0 victory over Harvard. That was one of his three shutouts on the season.
"Bobby has great stature and presence on and off the field," said Yale head coach Brian Tompkins. "He is highly respected by his peers and the coaching staff and has all the qualities to be an outstanding captain. As we look to build on the accomplishments of 2011, Bobby's drive and enthusiasm make him the ideal leader for the challenges ahead."
Five team awards also were presented at the banquet. Sophomore Nick Alers was the recipient of the Walter J. McNerney Award as the most valuable player for the second straight year. Alers had another strong season on Yale's back line, earning first team All-Ivy recognition. He was the anchor of a Yale defense that yielded only 16 goals and posted four shutouts. Alers also excels in the classroom. He was named to the Capital One Academic All-America third team.
"Nick was outstanding again this past season and has established himself as one of the better defenders in the Ivy League," Tompkins said. "His defensive play was a key component in the team's improved results."
Senior Charlie Paris received two awards. He was presented with the Frank Dunne Award as the most improved player and also was the recipient of the Jack Marshall Award, given by the Yale Soccer Association to the member of the team who demonstrated the qualities of team spirit, loyalty to his fellow players and dedication to the game.
After appearing in only six games in his first three years, Paris played in all 17 this fall, including making 12 starts, and tied for second on the team with three goals. For his efforts, he earned second team All-Ivy recognition. He also scored one of the biggest goals of the season, the game-winner in overtime at Penn.
The Walter Leemann Trophy, awarded to the senior member of the varsity team who, by sportsmanship and team play, upholds the ideals of former coach Walter Leemann, was awarded to Chris Dennen, the 2011 Yale captain.
In addition to providing outstanding leadership, Dennen started all 17 games, scored two goals and added three assists.
"I have the difficult task of following Chris Dennen," Thalman said. "He is a man who personifies all of the ideal qualities of a Yale captain and was able to flawlessly handle the responsibilities over the last season. One of his best qualities that I will attempt maintain within the men's soccer program is the selfless determination and drive that he brought to every aspect of life. He was a leader who could motivate a group of individuals without saying a word, and that's an attribute you don't find all too often."
Junior Adrian Wright was the recipient of the Bob "Doc" Holliday Award, presented to the squad member who regardless of playing opportunity or personal recognition has consistently demonstrated a selfless commitment, a positive attitude and has contributed to team spirit in ways that have improved the well-being of the Yale soccer program. Wright appeared in two games this fall.
Yale finished the season with an 8-7-2 overall record and a 4-3 Ivy mark. The Bulldogs won five more games overall than a year ago and three more Ivy games.
Thalman is confident the future is bright.
"We have a great dynamic within the team that will allow us to push even harder this offseason to put us in better position come August," he said. "We will never become complacent until we win an Ivy title and are able to compete on the highest levels."
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity