Five Whitworth Pirates have been named to the 2012 All-Northwest Conference men’s soccer team and Sean Bushey has been selected as the NWC Coach of the Year, based on voting by conference coaches.
Senior GK Kyle Novak was chosen as the NWC Defensive Player of the Year, while Balin Larson, Andrew Flint and Will Wren were all selected as All-NWC First Team defenders. Robby Ubben made the first team as a forward.
Six other Pirates received honorable mention consideration.
All 11 players led Whitworth to a 13-2-3 overall record and a Northwest Conference title with a 10-2-2 mark.
Bushey was selected as NWC Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his career. He led Whitworth to its eighth NWC title in his tenure, despite having to replace eight starters from the 2011 season – seven of whom earned all-conference honors. He had previously won the award in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2008.
Novak led the NWC, and currently ranks fourth in the nation at the NCAA Division III level, in goals-against average this season. He allowed 0.29 goals per match while posting 12 shutouts in the 17 games he started. Novak was selected as the NWC Defensive Player of the Week twice in 2012: September 4th and October 9th. He accomplished all of this despite missing the entire 2011 season while studying abroad.
Novak is the third Pirate ever to be named NWC Defensive Player of the Year following GK Brian Sherpe in 2011 and defender Todd Sabrowski in 2004 and 2005.
Larson, French and Wren were part of a Whitworth defensive backfield that limited opponents to an average of 8.3 shots per match and limited shots on-goal to only 2.9 per contest. Larson was picked as NWC Defensive Player of the Week on September 18th and October 23rd. Wren was chosen for the same award on September 25th. Larson and Flint led Whitworth’s position players in total minutes played by a wide margin.
Offensively Wren finished the regular season with three goals and two assists, while Larson had two goals.
Ubben is Whitworth’s fifth member of the first team. He led the Pirates in scoring this season with seven goals and he added an assist. Five of his scores were match-winners.
The six Pirates who picked up honorable mention All-NWC consideration are MF Mike Chavez, MF Sam Selisch, MF Matt Bray, F Andrew French, F Samuel Engle, and D Colin Shockman.
Chavez started 16 matches and had one goal while tying for the team lead in assists. Selisch started 17 matches and had one goal and two assists. Bray started 14 matches as a defensive midfielder and had one assist. French started 15 matches and finished with four goals and one assist. Engle was second on the team in scoring with four goals and three assists. Shockman earned honorable mention All-NWC for the second straight season.
Of the 11 Pirates listed on the 2012 All-NWC team, only Novak is a senior.
Whitworth will meet Mississippi College in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament on Saturday night.