PAINESVILLE, OHIO - Lake Erie College's best season of men's soccer as a member of NCAA Division II was highlighted by several Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) awards, which the conference office announced Thursday (Nov. 3). Freshman defender Willy Cognee (Montreal Quebec, Canada) was selected GLIAC Freshman of the Year, the first Lake Erie College freshman to receive the award in any team sport, while a pair of juniors, goalkeeper Ricky Carreira (Toronto, Ont./Dante Alighieri Academy) and forward Randy Danso (Toronto, Canada/North Count Community College) earned first-team All-GLIAC selections.
CLICK HERE for the full GLIAC Men's Soccer release.
Cognee helped lead a complete overhaul of the Storm defense from a season ago. Though Cognee began the season as just a 16-year old, he stepped in from day one and played in all 18 matches with 17 starts. The freshman was one of three new starters on the Lake Erie back line this season and manned the left back position. The squad allowed 27 goals in 18 matches this season (1.5 gpg.) after surrendering 49 in the same number of matches a season ago. Cognee also came through big on the offensive end during an Oct. 9 match against Ashland. His only goal of the season was the game winner with 5:59 to play, giving the Storm a 2-1 victory.
"Willy is a confident and mature freshman and is comfortable on the ball," said Head Coach Davie Carmichael. "He loves to get forward and can split defenders with his pace and passing ability. Defensively he is reliable, disciplined, composed under pressure and tough in a tackle."
For more information on Cognee, watch THIS VIDEO FEATURE produced earlier this season.
Carreira is the first-team GLIAC goalkeeper for the second straight year, become the first Lake Erie player to be a two-time first-team member. The junior finished second in the GLIAC with 79 saves this season, starting all 18 matches, after leading NCAA Division II in saves in 2010. He was in the goal for two shutouts this season and even assisted a key goal against Northwood in a 2-1 overtime win on Oct. 16. Against Saginaw Valley State on Oct. 14, Carriera made his 280th career save to break the Lake Erie record.
"It has been an absolute pleasure to coach Ricky this year," said Carmichael. "A confident leader on the field with unrivalled work ethic, Ricky has been consistent throughout the season and was often called upon to pull us through some difficult games with big saves at crucial times. His shot-stopping ability, reactions, athleticism, passion for the game, intensity in training and confidence between the posts certainly makes him an All-GLIAC Goalkeeper."
Danso completed his first season with the Storm after transferring from North Count Community College. The junior scored six goals and added two assists, finishing second on the squad in goals and points while participating in all 18 games with 15 starts. The 6-8 forward had one multi-goal match this season, as he scored a pair in a 4-0 victory over Salem International on Oct. 19. He also scored the Storm's lone golden goal of the season, netting the overtime winner against Northwood.
"Randy is a natural athlete with electric pace, excellent movement and strength that can not only hold the ball as a target striker but can also turn defenses and cause problems in behind," said Carmichael. "He is an industrious worker and aerial threat that works tirelessly on both ends of the ball."
This trio's efforts were part of a widespread improvement for the Storm as they went 8-8-2 overall and 5-5-2 in GLIAC play, and were in playoff contention until the season's final day, after going 1-16-1 (0-12 GLIAC) last season.