NEW YORK — Recognizing their outstanding play for the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) men's soccer team during their program record-tying season for wins, junior Cesar Oviedo (South Ozone Park, N.Y./Christ the King) was named to the Skyline Men's Soccer All-Conference Second Team while freshman Julian Rodriguez (Whitestone, N.Y./Bayside) was tabbed the Skyline Conference Co-Rookie of the Year the league office announced today.
The post-season honors are the first collected in program history since joining the Skyline Conference last season. Under the guidance of first-year head coach Ovid Cusu, Oviedo and Rodriguez helped lead a squad to a 7-11 mark in 2016—a seven-win improvement over a winless 2015 campaign.
"I'm very happy for the Bears to have two of our own acknowledged by the Skyline Conference," commented Cusu. "Julian deserved to be the Co-Rookie of the Year and so did Cesar on his second-team selection. It takes more than just talent to be part of a team. Both men worked well the entire season and both were great teammates to everyone."
Oviedo finished his second season in a Bears uniform leading the team in assists (5) and ranked second in goals scored (4) and points (13). The junior forward used his speed to pose a constant threat to every team this season and drew many double teams in order to stop him from penetrating to goal. Oveido registered a point in eight of 17 games played this season, highlighted by a one-goal, one-assist effort in the Skyline triumph over Purchase College leading a Bears second-half comeback.
Rodriguez instantly fortified the defense making tremendous saves to keep the SJC in each game. He displayed excellent control of the box and distribution of the ball to set up the Bears counterattack. The two-time Rookie of the Week posted two clean sheets and played all but three minutes of a combined shutout. Rodriguez made 12 saves in a 1-0 blanking of defending league champion Sage College—who went on to advance to the title game again but suffered a 1-0 overtime loss to U.S. Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday. Opponents managed just 4-of-7 from the penalty spot against him and the rookie finished with three games with double-digit saves, and is ranked 21st in the nation with 120 saves.
"We are very proud to have two players receive Skyline Conference accolades," remarked Director of Athletics and Recreation James Lally. "Cesar and Julian are key components of our men's soccer program and played intricate roles for Coach Cusu's squad, tying the school record in wins during a great season. Congratulations to both student-athletes."
Cusu and the Bears will look to build upon their ninth-place finish in 2016, up three positions where they were predicted to finish in the preseason coaches' polls.
"I look forward to 2017 as we will have a year under our belt," concluded Cusu.