Dec. 11, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Three members of the University of Notre Dame men’s soccer team have been named All-Great Lakes Region performers by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Seniors Matt Besler (Overland Park, Kan./Blue Valley West) and Bright Dike (Edmond, Okla./Edmond North) were first-team selections, while junior Michael Thomas (Olathe, Kan./St. Thomas Aquinas) was named to the second team.
Besler, a central defender, played every minute this season and helped the Irish post seven shutouts along with notching three points on a goal and an assist. This marked the second straight season that Besler had been selected as an all-region performer. Last season, he was a second-team pick. The senior was a first-team all-BIG EAST member this season in addition to earning Academic All-America honors last month. The Kansas product was one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.
Dike, a forward, spearheaded the Irish offense as he led the team in goals (12) and points (29). Those were both single-season career-high numbers for Dike. His five assists also were a career-best mark. Dike, who started every match, ranked first in the BIG EAST by averaging 0.57 goals per game and copped first-team all-conference accolades. He notched a point in a team-high 13 games this season. This was Dike’s first all-region nod.
Thomas was a dominant force in the Irish midfield all season long as he started every match. He had a career-best campaign with eight goals and five assists. The junior ranked second on the Irish in goals, assists and points. Thomas registered a point in 11 games on the season en route to earning second-team all-BIG EAST honors. The midfielder ranked third in the conference in points per game (1.00) and fifth in goals per game (0.38). This was the first all-region accolade for Thomas.
The trio helped Notre Dame post a 12-7-2 record this season and earn the No. 12 seed in the NCAA Championship. The Fighting Irish registered a 7-2-2 league mark and captured their second straight BIG EAST regular-season title.