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McKiernan Elected Captain Of 2013 Yale Men’s Soccer Team

Max McKiernan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Max McKiernan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Thalman Selected Team MVP; Three Others Honored With Team Awards

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Max McKiernan, a two-time All-Ivy selection, has been elected captain of the 2013 Yale men's soccer team. The announcement was made following a team vote at the post season banquet last week.

"It's an honor to be elected captain by my teammates and the men I respect the most," said McKiernan, a Louisville, Ky., native. "Knowing that I have the support of the team truly means a lot to me, and I can't wait to get started working toward a successful 2013 season. Along with the other seniors, I hope to help set the tone for a team that will be hardworking and tough."

McKiernan has started 43 games in his career at Yale. This fall, he earned honorable mention All-Ivy recognition for the second straight year after anchoring the Yale midfield. In his sophomore year, he was one of only four players to start all 17 games and scored the game-winning goal against Central Connecticut. In 2010, he was the only freshman to appear in all 17 games and was named to the all-tournament team at the Brown Classic.

"I'm delighted for Max to be named the new captain of Yale Soccer," said Yale head coach Brian Tompkins. "Max has a true Bulldog spirit. His work rate and competitive character on the field set the standard for his peers, and he is the embodiment of a relentless, never-say-die mentality. His tenacity on the field is well matched by his thoughtfulness and affability off it, and he is held in high regard by players and staff alike. I look forward to Max's leadership and believe that his stellar example of great energy and enthusiasm will inspire and encourage those around him."

McKiernan will receive plenty of support from his classmates.

"Our rising senior class is probably one of the most experienced groups that our program has had in some time, and I'm incredibly fortunate to have such a quality group of guys working by my side," he said. "Even though we only have one captain in name, each senior is ready to take on more responsibility and has already established himself as a leader in his own right, so there will definitely be a strong sense of collective leadership within the team."

McKiernan inherits the captaincy from Bobby Thalman. He also served under Andy Shorten '11 and Chris Dennen '12 during his tenure.

"I've had the good fortune of playing with three excellent captains," McKiernan said. "Each of them exhibited leadership differently, but together that showed me the importance of leading by example and demanding the best from myself before I can expect the best from my teammates."

McKiernan also has excelled in the classroom, earning Capital One Academic All-District I first team recognition this fall. He is a history/political science double major who serves as a volunteer tutor at St. Martin de Porres Academy which offers tuition-free and extended day education for boys and girls from low-income families in the New Haven area.

Five team awards also were presented at the banquet. Thalman, a three-year starting goalkeeper, was named the most valuable player after earning second team All-Ivy recognition. He led the league with 77 saves, tied for second in shutouts (5) and was third in save percentage (.828).

Thalman also was the recipient of 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. Thalman finished his outstanding career with 236 saves and 11 shutouts.

Senior Frank Shaw was presented with 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. Shaw played a number of roles on the field during his career and was an outstanding team leader and mentor off it.

The Frank Dunne Award as the most improved player went to sophomore Conner Lachenbruch. After appearing in 12 games as a freshman, Lachenbruch earned a spot in the starting lineup in 2012. In all, he started 15 games in the midfield and scored one goal.

Senior Andy Hackbarth 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. Hackbarth, who earned All-Ivy recognition in each of his first three years, returned to the team after missing all of last season with an injury. He continued to battle injury this fall but started 12 games and remained an integral part of Yale's defense.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity