SPARTANBURG, S.C. – After a great season of directing the offense, VMI lacrosse junior attackman Wesley Sanders and freshman midfielder John Daniel were recognized by the Southern Conference Thursday morning in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
As voted on by the league's coaches, Sanders was named to the All-SoCon First Team and Daniel was listed on the All-Freshman team. The honor for Sanders marks his second straight season being named to the first team and Daniel's honor marks the third year in a row that a VMI freshman has been named to the All-Freshman team.
Despite missing the last few games of the season due to injury, Sanders led the team in goals with 17 on the year and Daniel led the Keydets with 34 points by way of his 14 goals and 20 assists for the season.
“Wes was fantastic for us this year,” said VMI head coach Jon Birsner. “Day in and day out, Wes gives you everything he has and that is why he continues to get better. He was obviously keyed on by every team we played and I'm most proud of how he adjusted and evolved his game this year. His assists numbers grew tremendously and that's a credit to him making others around him better and that is what leaders do.
“Johnny was our leading point scorer as a freshman and that's not an easy task. I'm proud of the way he has grown this year and adjusted to this level. He was also handed the hard task of getting the opponent's best player, most of which were seniors, when Wes got injured and he handled that with a lot of maturity. He'll be able to use that as a stepping stone in preparation for next year and his continuing growth.”
Sanders played in 11 games and contributed eight assists in addition to his 17 goals. He also led the team in shot attempts with 91 for the year for a league-high 8.27 shots per game. His 1.55 goals per game average ranked eighth best in the league.
Daniel averaged 1.43 assists per game, which ranked fifth best in the league at the end of the regular season. His 34 points for the season ranked sixth highest in the league standings for the category.
Air Force's Chris Walsch was named Offensive Player of the Year, Richmond goalie Benny Pugh was named Defensive Player of the Year, Lou Yovino of Furman was given Freshman of the Year honors and Furman's Richie Meade was voted the league's Coach of the Year.
2017 SoCon Men's Lacrosse Awards
Offensive Player of the Year
Chris Walsch, Air Force, Jr., A
Defensive Player of the Year
Benny Pugh, Richmond, Sr., GK
Freshman of the Year
Lou Yovino, Furman, M
Coach of the Year
Richie Meade, Furman
All-SoCon First Team (four attackman due to tie)
A – Nick Hruby, Air Force, Jr.
A – Chris Walsch, Air Force, Jr.
A – Teddy Hatfield, Richmond, So.
A – Wesley Sanders, VMI, Jr.
M – Grant Gould, Air Force, Jr.
M – Lucas Wittenberg, Mercer, So.
M – J.P. Forester, Richmond, Sr.
D – Brandon Jones, Air Force, So.
D – Ryan Dennis, Richmond, Sr.
D – Brendan Hynes, Richmond, Sr.
GK – Benny Pugh, Richmond, Sr.
FO – Trent Harper, Air Force, So.
LSM – Austin Cates, Richmond, Jr.
All-SoCon Second Team
A – Tucker Ciessau, Bellarmine, Sr.
A – David Williamson, Furman, So.
A – Chris Rahill, Mercer, Sr.
M – William Holcomb, Furman, So.
M – Lou Yovino, Furman, Fr.
M – McLean Chicquen, Jacksonville, Jr.
D – Sean LaVine, Air Force, Jr.
D – Joe Stone, Furman, Sr.
D – Collin Massa, Mercer, Sr.
GK – Alec Van de Bovenkamp, Furman, Fr.
FO – Peter Moran, Richmond, Sr.
LSM – Michael O'Brien, Mercer, Fr.
All-Freshman Team (seven due to a tie)
Matt Schwartz, Air Force, A
Lou Yovino, Furman, M
Alec Van de Bovenkamp, Furman, GK
Dwayne Mattushik, Jacksonville, A
Will McCarthy, Mercer, M
Tyler Shoults, Richmond, M
John Daniel, VMI, A