Menlo's storied 2011 campaign continued today as the California Pacific Conference announced its postseason accolades, with the Oaks cleaning house. Six players earned a spot on the All-Conference Team in Eric Angell, Matheus Barbosa, Alex Palomarez, Eric Tilbury, Alex Vukic, and Sam Zipperstein, but it didn't stop there. Palomarez took home Cal PAC Player of the Year honors, Angell earned the Conference Newcomer of the Year award, and Head Coach Mike Keller was recognized with the Cal PAC Coach of the Year in only his second season at the helm of the Oaks.
For Palomarez, Menlo's outstanding goal keeper, the Player of the Year award should come as little surprise after being named Conference Defensive Player of the Week on five separate occasions, as well as earning NAIA National Defensive Player of the Week honors in mid-October. "Alex has had a great year. He played big in big games to put him over the top for this award," commented Menlo Head Coach Mike Keller on the exceptional achievement.
The high recognition from the Oaks skipper was one of many as senior Team Captain Sam Zipperstein gave his fellow teammate similar praise. "I am really happy for Alex," claimed Zipperstein, an All-Conference player in his own right with an impressive 11 assists this year. "He has saved us more than a few times this season and is definitely deserving of the award."
For Eric Angell, the Cal PAC Newcomer of the Year, his honor is "well deserved" according to the aforementioned Coach Keller. "Eric is a pretty talented guy. He earned this award," said Menlo's head man. "He has done a lot on defense as well as the attack."
Among the six players who found themselves on the All-Conference team, Barbosa, Vukic, and Zipperstein showed their offensive prowess all year long, with Eric Tilbury proving his incredible defensive capabilities, as evident by the Oaks' eight shutouts this season. Barbosa led the team in goals with 10, while Vukic had nine despite missing an entire month due to a left wrist injury. "It feels good to be able to come back and help the team this year," remarked Vukic on his accolade. "All the hard work has paid off, but it wouldn't have been possible without the rest of my team."
"This is great for those individuals," commented Keller. "Everyone on the team worked hard, but this isn't just a result of those guys, but the result of the hard work of the team as a whole."
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