Three Knights Earn All-Conference Honors

Nov. 14, 2013

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By Jennifer Clark

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - Three members of the UCF men's soccer team earned All-American Athletic Conference recognition, highlighted by Romario Williams' Offensive Player of the Year honor.

The league announced its yearly awards Thursday evening. Williams also earned a first-team all-conference nod, while senior Steven Lamberta was a second-team all-conference selection and Fernando Laverde was selected to the All-Rookie team.

"Obviously we're tremendously excited for Romario," head coach Bryan Cunningham said of Williams' honors. "He has had a tremendous season. He came in with a great attitude this Fall, especially with switching positions to playing in midfield. We're very happy the league recognized his scoring abilities. We're really excited for him to get Player of the Year, and it's a tribute to his teammates as well, who helped create his scoring opportunities."

Together, the trio helped lead the Knights to a third-place regular-season finish in the American Athletic Conference. UCF finished 4-1-3 in league play. The Knights will compete in The American Championship tournament semifinals Friday against No. 2 seed UConn in Frisco, Texas, after defeating Memphis, 2-1, in the opening round.

Williams earned Offensive Player of the Year and All-AAC First Team honors after a breakout season for the Knights. He tied for the conference lead with 10 goals in 17 games played, including six game-winners, the most in conference. He also added two assists to finish the year with 22 points, second in the conference. Williams scored five times in conference play, representing 50 percent of the Knights' scoring in league matches. 

Lamberta leads UCF with 1,605 minutes. The Knights' defender was selected as The American Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 2 after helping the Knights dominate in their season-opening draw against FAU. The all-conference accolade is the second such honor for the senior. 

"We were very happy for Steven to get honored," said Cunningham. "He was named American Athletic Conference Defender of the Week early on. He anchored our defense and had a great season. He was another player who changed positions to help the team. It's good for Steven to be recognized."

Laverde is in his first season with UCF, starting every match in his freshman campaign to tally four assists and 10 points. He scored the game-winning goal in the Knights' 1-0 victory at USF on Oct. 23.

"When we recruited Fernando we knew what he was capable of," Cunningham commented. "He really contributed as a freshman. We're happy he had a good freshman season, and that he's being recognized for his contribution to the team's success."

American Athletic Conference Honors
Offensive Player of the Year: Romario Williams, UCF, So., F
Midfielder of the Year: Adria Beso, UConn, Jr., M
Defensive Player of the Year: Jimmy Ockford, Louisville, Sr., B
Goalkeeper of the Year: Andre Blake, UConn
Rookie of the Year: Cyle Larin, UConn, Fr., M
Coaching Staff of the Year: Temple University
Team Fair Play Award: Temple University

2013 All-Conference Teams
First Team
Romario Williams, F, So., UCF *
Adria Beso, M, Jr., UConn *
Andre Blake, GK, Jr., UConn
Sergio Campbell, B, Jr., UConn
Cyle Larin, F, Fr., UConn
Marlon Hairston, M, So., Louisville
Jimmy Ockford, B, Sr., Louisville
Ricardo Velazco, F, So., Louisville
Mark Sherrod, F, RSr., Memphis
Mael Corboz, M, So., Rutgers
Ben Sweat, B, Sr., USF

Second Team
Steven Lamberta, B, UCF
George Fochive, M, Sr., UConn
Mamadou Doudou Diouf, F, Sr., UConn
Andrew Brody, M, Fr., Louisville
Michael DeGraffenreidt, B, Fr., Louisville
Liam Collins, M, Sr., Memphis
David Greczek, GK, Fr., Rutgers
Samuel Hosseini, M, Sr., USF
Lindo Mfeka, F, Fr., USF
Jared Martinelli, M, So., Temple
Robert Sagel, B, Fr., Temple

All-Rookie Team                   
Fernando Laverde, M, Fr., UCF
Kwame Awuah, B, Fr., UConn *
Cyle Larin, F, Fr., UConn
Andrew Brody, M, Fr., Louisville *
Michael DeGraffenreidt, B, Fr., Louisville
Raul Gonzalez, M, Fr., Memphis
David Greczek, GK, Fr., Rutgers
Erik Sa, M, Fr., Rutgers
Lindo Mfeka, M, Fr., USF
Deshawon Nembhard, B, Fr., SMU
Robert Sagel, B, Fr., Temple

* = Unanimous Selection



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