Nov. 12, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Notre Dame senior forward Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) was named the 2009 BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year on Thursday evening at the annual BIG EAST men’s soccer awards banquet. In all, six Fighting Irish players garnered league accolades on the night.
Joining Dike on the all-BIG EAST first team was Irish senior midfielder Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas). Fellow senior Justin Morrow (Cleveland, Ohio/St. Ignatius), a defender, was a second-team pick. Junior forward Jeb Brovsky (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain) and sophomore defender Aaron Maund (Dorchester, Mass./The Roxbury Latin School) were selected to the third team. Freshman midfielder Dillon Powers (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior) was named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
Dike becomes the second Notre Dame player ever to earn the league’s offensive player of the year trophy. Joseph Lapira took home the honor in 2006. Dike, the conference’s preseason offensive player of the year, leads all BIG EAST players with 23 points and he is tied for the league lead in goals with 10. The senior forward has played in every game this season and has tallied two golden goals in BIG EAST play (Providence and Connecticut). This marks the second straight year that Dike was named to the all-league first team. He was a unanimous selection this season.
“I want to thank my coaching staff, (assistant coach) Chad Riley, (assistant coach) BJ Craig and Boss, (head coach) Bobby Clark, along with my teammates,” said Dike during his acceptance speech. “They have helped shape me into becoming a better person both on and off the field.”
Thomas has been a dominant force in the Irish midfield. The senior has a team-high six assists to go along with six goals, which rank him second among all Fighting Irish players. Thomas, a two-time team captain, has started every match this season. This marks the second straight season that Thomas has earned all-BIG EAST honors. He was a second-team pick one year ago.
This is the first all-BIG EAST accolade for Morrow. The senior captain has started every game this season and made the switch from midfield to defense early in the campaign. Morrow has tallied two goals this season with both of them being game winners.
Brovsky has appeared in 18 matches, including 12 starts, this season. He missed one game due to injury. The junior has registered 10 points on three goals and four assists. Brovsky is second behind Dike on the Irish squad with 43 shots attempted. This is the second straight season that Brovsky has earned all-BIG EAST third team honors.
Maund has been an anchor in the Irish backline by starting all 14 matches in which he has appeared. He along with Powers missed five games earlier in the season as they were competing with the United States Under-20 National Team at the U-20 World Cup in Egypt. Maund notched the first goal of his career in the 2-2 draw with USF in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals on Sunday. This is the first all-conference nod for Maund.
Powers has played in all 14 games that he has been available for Notre Dame. He has started twice and is tied for second on the team, along with Brovksy, with four assists. Powers assisted on Maund’s equalizer in the match against USF. He also collected an assist on Dike’s golden goal versus Connecticut.
In addition to Dike, the other major award winners of the night were Toni Stahl (midfielder of the year), Kwame Watson-Siriboe (co-defensive player of the year) and Carlos Alvarez (rookie of the year) from Connecticut, Phil Edginton from Louisville (co-defensive player of the year) and Jeff Attinella from USF (goalkeeper of the year). Louisville claimed the coaching staff of the year trophy.
All voting for the all-conference teams and awards were done by the league’s 16 head coaches.
The Fighting Irish finished second in the BIG EAST Blue Division with an 8-3 record. The eight wins equaled the most ever for the Irish in a single BIG EAST campaign. Connecticut won the Blue Division, while Louisville claimed the Red Division.
No. 25 Notre Dame (10-7-2) will face seventh-ranked Louisville (13-2-3) tomorrow in the BIG EAST Championship semifinals in Morgantown, W. Va. The match is slated for a 5:30 p.m. (ET) kickoff at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium and can be seen live on CBS College Sports. St. John’s and Providence will play in the first semifinal at 3:00 p.m. The BIG EAST title game will take place at 12 noon on Sunday.