SLU men's soccer player DeMello unanimous Liberty League Player of the Year
St. Lawrence University junior midfielder Sam DeMello was the unanimous choice of the league's coaches as 2011 Liberty League men's soccer Player of the Year while classmate Alex Laird was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year and the Saint coaching staff was a unanimous selection as staff of the year.
St. Lawrence went a perfect 8-0-0 in Liberty League regular season action and 16-0-0 overall in the regular season. While the Saints were eliminated from the Liberty League tournament by Vassar on penalty kicks after the two teams played to a 0-0 semifinal tie on Wednesday, they are assured of an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament when those bids are announced on Sunday.DeMello, a second-team All America last year and now a three-time All Liberty League selection leads the Saints in scoring with 11 goals and eight assists for 30 points. He scored five game-winning goals and assisted on four others and was a four-time Liberty League Offensive Performer of the Week during the 2011 season.
Laird has been a contributor at both ends of the field for the Saints and played the middle in the Saint defense which has held the opposition to just four goals in 17 games thus far this season. As a team, the Saint defense has recorded 15 shutouts and yielded an average of just 7.4 shots per game. Laird has scored two goals and assisted on two others in addition to his yeoman work on defense.
Head coach Bob Durocher guided his team to its second straight Liberty League regular season championship and will take a team to the NCAA tournament for the 14th time in his 22 seasons. The Saints recorded the third unbeaten and untied season in program history in 2011 and were ranked number one in the nation by the NSCAA for seven consecutive weeks. Durocher is assisted by Ben Jordan, Willi Steinrotter and Luke Seymour.
Joining DeMello and Laird, who were both unanimous selections as first team league all stars are sophomore midfielder Andrew Bednarsky, senior back Mike Manfredi and senior goaltender Brian Abernethy.
Bednarsky has scored two goals and has four assists in 17 games in addition to outstanding ball distribution in the middle of the field while Manfredi played a key role in the stifling Saint defense and scored his first career goal in addition to contributing six assists, most on corner kicks. Abernethy set the Saint single season record for shutouts with 13 and leads the nation in both goals against average (0.13) and save percentage (.941).
Junior forward Brian Gilloran, who has seven goals and six assists for 20 points in 17 games, was named to the second team while rookie Jamal Samaroo, three goals and three assists with two game winners, and senior midfielder Tyler McCune, two assists in 16 games, were honorable mention selections.