Pacella Wins Coach of the Year; Five Men’s Soccer Players Earn All-Conference Honors

Credit: Lyn Hutchinson
Credit: Lyn Hutchinson

SAA Release | 2019 Men's Soccer All-Conference Awards

ATLANTA - The Southern Athletic Association (SAA) made public on Monday the 2019 SAA Men's Soccer All-Conference Teams. Five Sewanee student-athletes were honored, and the Tigers earned a Coach of the Year honor for the first time since 2001.

Alpo Sipilä and Johnny McNeill were tabbed to the First Team, while Thompson Schollaert and James Murray were honored on the Second Team. Zach Shunnarah was chosen as an Honorable Mention, and head coach Tony Pacella was named the SAA Coach of the Year.

The five student-athletes match the most the Tigers have placed on an All-Conference Team since the SAA was formed in 2012. Sewanee is a charter member of the eight-team league. 

Sipilä collects his third All-SAA selection in his stellar four-year career with the Tigers. The Helsinki, Finland native totaled five points on three assists and a goal. The senior concludes his career with 32 points on 18 assists, tying a conference record set by Topher Marshall of Oglethorpe (2015-18).

McNeill garners his second All-Conference honor in his four-year career. The Raleigh, N.C. native was a major part of the Tigers defense in 2019, limiting the opposition to 16 goals, the fewest the program has allowed in 18 seasons.

After his team collected back-to-back clean sheets at East Texas Baptist and LeTourneau, he was named the SAA Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 16. The Tigers limited their opponents to five shots on goal in 180 minutes.

Schollaert picks up his first All-SAA selection after two seasons with the program. The Raleigh, N.C. native finished third in the conference in points with 25 thanks to nine assists and eight goals. The nine assists were second-most in the SAA.

He was selected as the SAA Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 16 after notching five points thanks to three assists and a goal in Sewanee's back-to-back Texas wins against ETBU and LETU.

Murray collects his first postseason honor with the league. The Black Mountain, N.C. native posted an .802 save percentage, second-best in the SAA among goalkeppers who have logged over 1,000 minutes in goal. The junior stopped 65 shots and earned five clean sheets.

On Sept. 9, the league awarded him the SAA Defensive Player of the Week after a 1-0-1 record with eight saves and allowing one goal in 200 minutes of action.

Shunnarah earns his first All-Conference selection for the freshman. The Birmingham, Ala. native contributed to the Tigers' offense with his throw-ins while providing help with the strong defensive line.

Pacella wins his first SAA Coach of the Year award, as his team earned double digits in wins for the first time since 2004 season. Finishing with an 11-5-1 record, the Tigers went 5-2 in league play to earn a 3-seed in the SAA Tournament, tying the highest finish for the program since the SAA's inception in 2012.

Sewanee earns its first Coach of the Year award in the SAA-era, now in its eighth year. It is Sewanee's first postseason honor in this category since Matt Kern won the award back-to-back with the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) in 2000 and 2001.

The Tigers wrapped up the 2019 season with an 11-5-1 record and a quarterfinal appearance in the SAA Tournament.

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