SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Six players from the Sacramento State men’s soccer team received all-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation honors as voted on by the league’s coaches, it was announced today.
Senior forward Oscar Sandoval and sophomore defender Adam Owens were both named to the first team, while senior forward Ryan Rhoads and junior midfielder Eli Millan were named to the second team. For the fourth time in his career, senior defender Utodi Madu received conference honors, named to the third team along with senior midfielder Pedro Lupercio.
A two-time all-conference selection, Sandoval was named to the first team after scoring six goals this season. The Littlerock, Calif., native ended his two-year career with the Hornets scoring a total of 14 goals with four assists. Known for his creativity and flair on the field, his highlights this season included scoring the game-tying goal by way of a bicycle kick en route to a 2-1 overtime victory at UNLV. He also scored twice in a 3-1 victory over Air Force on Oct. 13, and added and another goal in a 1-1 tie at Denver. He ended his collegiate career scoring in the final match of the season, a 3-0 victory at San Jose State.
While Sandoval provided the offense, Owens took control of the back line in just his second year with the program. A 2005 graduate of Jesuit High School, Owens earned the starting spot at central defender and was the only player on the Hornets’ roster not to miss a start the entire year. The team’s most consistent player in 2006 and the back line’s toughest tackler, Owens made large strides during his sophomore campaign, helping the team finish the year with a 1.17 goals against average. The Sacramento native also took seven shots during the year, proving to be a dangerous threat in the air and on set pieces.
Rhoads earned all-conference honors for the first time in his career, ending his four years at Sacramento State as one of the most prolific scorers in program history. This season, Rhoads got off to a slow start after returning from injury, but ended the year on a high note. The Modesto, Calif., native led the team with eight goals, matching his career high set in 2004. He finished the season on a three-match scoring streak, heading in the game-tying goal against ninth-ranked New Mexico on Oct. 27, before scoring a 30-yard bullet to the upper corner in a 2-1 overtime victory over UNLV on Oct. 29. After his play that weekend, he was named MPSF Player of the Week. Rhoads then capped his season by scoring the go-ahead goal in a 3-0 victory at San Jose State in the season finale. Rhoads leaves the Hornets with 21 career goals, a mark that ranks second in program history. His 51 career points are also second all-time.
Millan earned conference honors for the fist time in his career after providing theatrics for the team down the stretch. Another player slowed by an early-season injury, Millan took over the attacking midfield role midway through the year. He ended his season with three goals and six assists. During his career he has been involved with five game-winning goals and this year was no different, scoring the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory at UNLV. With less than two minutes remaining in the second overtime, he directed a 30-yard shot to the left corner. Other season highlights included assisting on Sandoval’s goal in a 1-1 tie at Denver and also assisting on Rhoads’ goal in a 3-1 victory over Air Force. Millan will enter his final season in 2007 with nine goals (four game winners) and seven assists. His six assists this season were the most in a single season since Ricky Rodriguez recorded six in 2004.
Playing most of his time as an outside back, Madu earned all-conference honors for the fourth time in his career. He is the only player in the history of the program to earn all-conference accolades in each of his four collegiate seasons. The Sacramento native and 2002 graduate of Valley High School ends his career having started 67 matches, a mark that ranks second in Division I program history, trailing only Sean Melendez (69).
Lupercio was also named to the third team for the second consecutive year after contributing a career-high five assists. The Dixon, Calif., native provided the assist on Ryan Rhoads’ game-tying goal against ninth-ranked New Mexico. He also assisted on two goals in the Hornets’ 3-0 shutout victory over Bowling Green. Lupercio leaves Sacramento State as one of its most dangerous offensive players in recent history, playing in 69 matches (52 starts). His 10 career assists rank fifth in Div. I program history.
Sacramento State finished the 2006 season with a 7-10-2 record and on a four-match unbeaten streak, finishing third in the MPSF standings. The team loses nine seniors to graduation, but will return Owens, Millan and 2006 starters Jack Jones, Zach Tuss, Josh Zimbrich, Ryan Kenny and Kurtis Lindsey.