Rebels Clean Up At WAC Postseason Awards Banquet|
Nov. 12, 2014
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - It was nearly a clean sweep of the major awards for UNLV men's soccer on Wednesday night at the WAC Men's Soccer tournament banquet. The regular season champions won three of the four awards, as Salvador Bernal was named the conference's Offensive Player of the Year, Kyle Mellies the Defensive Player of the Year, and Rich Ryerson was selected as the WAC Coach of the Year. Newcomer of the Year went to Julian Zamora from Bakersfield.
Joining Bernal and Mellies as first-team selections were senior goalkeeper Ryan Harding and senior midfielder Julian Portugal. Named to the second team was junior forward Rodrigo Fuentes.
Bernal, the first player in UNLV history to be named first-team all-conference all four years, was the top offensive leader for the top scoring offense in the WAC. The Las Vegas native ranked in the top ten in the league in every offensive category, scoring eight goals and adding three assists for 19 points this season thus far. He was tied for the WAC-lead in game-winning goals with three, which included the only goal in a 1-0 upset victory over No. 14 UMBC earlier this season.
Mellies anchored a Rebel defense that held teams to just 9.1 shots per contest, by far the lowest among conference teams, while UNLV posted nine team shutouts during the season, tied for the WAC-lead. Another Las Vegas native, the senior played just as big a role offensively this season as he tied for third on the team with 12 points off five goals and a pair of assists.
Ryerson, a former UNLV standout in his fifth year as the Rebels' head coach, has overseen a complete turn-around of the program. After winning three total games his first year, UNLV stands at 13-4-2 coming into this week's league tournament, which ties for the sixth most wins in team history. He guided the Rebels to their first national ranking since 1992 and the first conference championship since the 1987 squad won the Big West.
Bernal was the lone repeat on the first team for the Rebels, as Mellies, Harding and Fuentes were both second team selections a year ago. Harding, a senior from Troutdale, Ore., finished the regular season with 8.1 shutouts, which ranked him second in the league. His 1.16 GAA was fourth in the WAC and a career-best as well. He is currently second all-time at UNLV for shutouts in a season, while the 13.1 in his career has him third all-time.
Fuentes made his second appearance on the all-conference team after a season in which he posted 12 points to tie for third along with Mellies. The San Diego native and junior forward had the game-winner in UNLV's 3-1 victory at Seattle earlier this season.
Portugal, a midfielder and Las Vegas native, has been the key player in UNLV's midfield for the past four years, and earned his first career season honor. He currently ranks in the top 50 in the nation in assists with six on the year, which is tied for second-best in the WAC, and his 15 career assists rank him 11th in team history.
As the top seed in this week's WAC Tournament, the Rebels receive a bye into the semifinal round, where they will meet the winner of Thursday's UMKC-San Jose State first round contest. That semifinal game will be played on Friday at 4:30 pm, and can be seen live on the WAC Digital Network, off a link on UNLVRebels.com.
2014 WAC MEN'S SOCCER SEASON HONORS
First Team All-Conference
F-Julian Zamora, Fr., Bakersfield
F-Salvador Bernal, Sr., UNLV
F-Hamza Haddadi, Jr., Seattle U
MF-Christian Duarte, Jr., Bakersfield
MF-Alex de la Garza, Incarnate Word
MF-Julian Portugal, Sr., UNLV
MF-Ian Hines-Ike, Jr., Seattle U
D-Kyle Mellies, Sr., UNLV
D-Kyle Bjornethun, So., Seattle U
D-Alex Neff, So., Utah Valley
GK-Ryan Harding, Sr., UNLV
Second Team All-Conference
F-Dylan Kelly, Jr., Incarnate Word
F-Rory Knibbs, So., San Jose State
F-Alberto Sanchez-Garcia, Jr., Grand Canyon
F-Rodrigo Fuentes, Jr., UNLV
MF-Joe Masumiya, Sr., Bakersfield
MF-Gustavo Alvarado, Sr., Houston Baptist
MF-Tayna Chiaparro, Sr., UMKC
MF-Jonathan Colunga, So., San Jose State
D-Jonathan Camarena, Jr., Incarnate Word
D-Guerrero Pino, Jr., UMKC
D-Joe Brown, So., Incarnate Word
GK-Shane Haworth, Jr., Seattle U
Offensive Player of the Year: Salvador Bernal, Sr., F, UNLV
Defensive Player of the Year: Kyle Mellies, Sr., D, UNLV
Freshman of the Year: Julian Zamora, F, Bakersfield
Coach of the Year: Rich Ryerson, UNLV