NEW HAVEN, Conn. - - Heading into the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament, the conference office announced the 2019 CACC All-Conference award winners, and the Wildcats picked up four major award winners while placing seven members on the All-CACC teams on Monday.
Leading the charge for the Wildcats (16-1-1), as he has done all season, was redshirt junior Lorne Bickley, as he was voted as the 2019 CACC Player of the Year. Senior defender Joe Bell was named the 2019 CACC Defensive Player of the Year while defensive teammate Gabriel Prgomet was named the 2019 CACC Goalkeeper of the Year. Rounding out the major award winners was head coach Nick Papanicolas being named the 2019 CACC Coach of the Year in a vote of the league's sports information directors.
All three of the major award winners were also named to the All-CACC First Team, being joined by senior forward Abdul Mansaray and junior midfielder Shawn Genus. Rounding out the Wildcats on the awards list were senior midfielder Fredrik Bentdal and senior defensemen Elliott Johnson earning Second Team All-CACC honors.
Lorne Bickley becomes just the third Wildcat to be voted as the CACC Player of the Year, joining Sarbah Tarpeh (2009) and Clifford Nwechefom (2015). Bickley also joins Tarpeh (now Anthony Allison) as the only other Wildcat to earn both the CACC Rookie of the Year and the CACC Player of the Year in their careers. He leads the team, the conference, and all of NCAA Division II with 24 goals this year, setting a new program and CACC single season record. He also leads the country with 50 points on the year, just four points shy of Anthony Allison's program record of 54 in 2009. After missing all of 2018 to an injury, the forward came out and secured a hat trick in the season opener against Millersville. He also tied his own program record with four goals in a goal, tying the mark on September 21 against Felician. He has seven multi-goal games this year.
Joe Bell has started as center back for the past two seasons for the Wildcats, but has turned on his offensive game this year as a senior. He has scored seven goals to lead all defenders in the CACC, while adding two assists for 16 points. He is a main target on Wilmington corners and set pieces, scoring the majority of his goals in the air with his head. He is the third Wildcat to earn the CACC Defensive Player of the Year award since it was installed in 2015, keeping the award in Newark after teammate Elliott Johnson earned the award last year. Adrian Tash won the first ever CACC Defensive Player of the Year award in 2015.
Newcomer Gabriel Prgomet has come in and started all 18 games in goal for the Wildcats this year. He also keeps the CACC Goalkeeper of the Year award in Newark, as Vinny Tasca won the award last year. The sophomore leads the CACC in only allowing 14 goals on the year, sporting a 0.77 goals against average. He is fourth overall in the CACC with a .754 save percentage, making 43 saves on the year. He's recorded eight shutouts on the season, tying the Wilmington single season mark set by Frank Hall in 2015. He had a season high six saves at Nyack.
Abdul Mansaray has had an outstanding season atop the Wildcats formation as well, competing with Bickley for the spotlight. Mansaray was a Second Team All-CACC member in 2017, missed all of 2018, and has come back for more in 2019. He ranks 10th in all of NCAA Division II with 35 points on the year, scoring a CACC second best 14 goals while adding seven assists. His 35 points rank third in the CACC. He has four multi-goal games on the year, scoring a season best five points at Georgian Court and again at Bloomfield.
Shawn Genus is another newcomer for the Wildcats that has made big impressions in his first year on the field, scoring 10 goals and adding a CACC third best nine assists from his center midfield position. He is sixth in the CACC and 25th in NCAA DII with 29 points. His eight assists in CACC play is the most in the conference while his nine goals against CACC competition is fourth most. He scores two goals, including a bicycle, and added an assist at Nyack for a season high five points. He also scored twice against Dominican.
Fredrik Bentdal is a driving force on all the Wilmington set pieces and has come away with 10 assists on the year. That ranks him second in the CACC and fourth in all of NCAA Division II, dishing out 0.59 assists per game. He's added three goals as well for a total of 16 points. Eight of his assists have come in CACC competition, topping the league. He has collected assists in nine of the games this year, with a season's best two at Nyack. He scored a goal and added an assist for a season's best three point at Concordia, and scored the game-winner in overtime against #1 West Chester. It is the first time in his career that Bentdal has been named All-CACC.
Elliott Johnson rounds out the Wildcats on the All-CACC teams, earning a spot for the third year in a row. The senior has started in 14 games this year and has helped anchor a defense to a 0.76 goals against average on the year. He has played as both a center back and filled in on the outside when injuries hit the team. He also has two assists on the year, his first coming against Dominican on Homecoming, and against Caldwell on October 19.
This is the fifth time that 16-year head coach Nick Papanicolas has been voted as the CACC Coach of the Year, doing so in back-to-back years for the first time in his career. He was also named the CACC Coach of the Year in 2006, 2009, 2015, and 2018. He has led the Wildcats to a 16-1-1 overall record, the highest national ranking in program history at No. 8 in the United Soccer Coaches National Poll, and tied in third in the latest NCAA Division II Super-Region 1 Poll with hopes of hosting an NCAA game for the first time in program history.
Caldwell's Andre Vieira was voted as the CACC Rookie of the Year after scoring seven goals and adding one assist in his freshman campaign. Chestnut Hill earned the 2019 Team Sportsmanship Award in a vote amongst the teams.
The Wildcats begin their quest for their first CACC Tournament Championship since 2007 on Monday, hosting Concordia at the WU Athletics Complex at 2:00 p.m. The Wildcats won their fourth CACC Regular Season Championship and second in a row and will be the No. 1 seed in the Tournament.
2019 CACC All-Conference Teams
F Lorne Bickley (Wilmington University)
F Abdul Mansaray (Wilmington University)
F Alvaro Sanchez (Post University)
F Nemanja Zivanovic (Concordia College)
M Sergio Diaz (Post University)
M Shawn Genus (Wilmington University)
M Charlie Livesey (Jefferson)
D Andrea Baleotto (Post University)
D Joe Bell (Wilmington University)
D Shane Holmes (Holy Family University)
GK Gabriel Prgomet (Wilmington University)
F Pedro Dutra (Chestnut Hill College)
F Davis Habilaj (Holy Family University)
F Sergi Varona (Goldey-Beacom College)
M Fredrik Bentdal (Wilmington University)
M Maximino Casares Martinez (Dominican College)
M Eduardo Coimbra (Goldey-Beacom College)
D Elliott Johnson (Wilmington University)
D Ethan Maguire (Goldey-Beacom College)
D Daniel Vicente (Georgian Court University)
GK David Mollenthial (Post University)
GK Mark Tobin (Holy Family University)
2019 CACC PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Lorne Bickley (Wilmington University)
2019 CACC ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Andre Vieira (Caldwell University)
2019 CACC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Joe Bell (Wilmington University)
2019 CACC GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR: Gabriel Prgomet (Wilmington University)
2019 CACC COACH OF THE YEAR: Nick Papanicolas (Wilmington University)
2019 CACC TEAM SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD: Chestnut Hill College