A pair of Bowling Green State University men's soccer standouts have been named to the All-Mid-American Conference Team. Sophomore Danny Baraldi and junior Anthony Grant each earned All-MAC First-Team honors, the league office announced Thursday afternoon (Nov. 8).
Additionally, Grant shared the league's Newcomer-of-the-Year Award. The All-MAC Team and league specialty awards are the result of voting by the MAC's eight men's soccer head coaches.
This marks the first time since the 2005 season that the Falcons have had an all-league first-team selection, and the first time in a decade that BGSU has had two players named to the All-MAC First Team. Matt Leardini and David DeGraff each earned all-league first team honors in 2002, while Omari Aldridge was voted to the first team in '05.
Grant is the second BGSU player ever to be named MAC Newcomer of the Year. Jason Began earned that honor in 1994.
Grant and Baraldi rank 1-2 on the team in scoring in 2012. Grant, a native of Kingston, Jamaica (Jamaica College), has 20 points on a team-high eight goals and four assists. Baraldi, who hails from Canton, Ohio (Massillon Jackson H.S.), has 19 points on six goals and a BG-best seven assists.
Grant leads the MAC with five game-winning goals, and he scored the winner in all three of the team's conference victories. His GWG total is the highest by a BG player since Bobby Biggs scored six winners in the 1997 season.
Grant's game-winning goals have come against Western Michigan and Buffalo at home, and Cleveland State, Michigan and Florida Atlantic on the road. He had two goals in the UB match, and also has scored vs. Milwaukee and IPFW this fall. Grant assisted on GWGs against Saint Bonaventure and Wright State, meaning that he has been involved in the scoring of seven of BG's eight winners this year.
Baraldi has two game-winning goals this season to date. He has topped his goal and point totals for last season, after leading the Falcons with 18 points, including five goals, in 2011.
Baraldi scored the winning goal in the season opener vs. Bonaventure, and scored a 'Golden Goal' vs. Milwaukee. He had two goals in the Falcons' tie on the road against nationally-ranked Coastal Carolina, and also found the net in the WMU and FAU matches. Baraldi had two assists in the Falcons' road win against Michigan, including a helper on Grant's winner, and also had assists on the game-winning goals vs. WMU and FAU.
Baraldi now has 37 career points in 36 matches at BGSU. Grant, like Baraldi, is on better than a point-per-match pace for his Falcon career, as his 20 points have come in 19 matches in his first season in Northwest Ohio.
Regular-season champion Akron led the way with seven All-MAC First-Team selections, as well as three additional players named to the all-league second team. UA's Caleb Porter was named the Gary V. Palmisano MAC Coach of the Year, while Akron senior Scott Caldwell was voted the league's Player of the Year. The Zips' Dillon Serna shared Newcomer-of-the-Year honors with Grant.
In addition to Akron's seven and BGSU's two selections, West Virginia and Western Michigan each had one player chosen to the All-MAC First Team. WVU had four players voted to the second team, while UA had three, WMU two and Hartwick and Northern Illinois one apiece.
The Falcons are 8-8-3 overall, and BGSU finished MAC regular-season play with a 3-3-1 league mark. BG, the fourth seed for the MAC Tournament, will head to Akron, Ohio, to face the top-seeded Zips – ranked No. 1 in the nation – in Friday's (Nov. 9) semifinal-round action. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at UA's FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field, and all BGSU students will gain free admission to the match by showing a valid ID.
The BGSU-UA winner will advance to Sunday's (Nov. 11) championship match, taking on either NIU or WVU. Sunday's final begins at 4:30 p.m. at FirstEnergy Stadium – Cub Cadet Field.
2012 ALL-MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE
Chad Barson, Akron, D, Sr.
Reinaldo Brenes, Akron, F, Jr.
Scott Caldwell, Akron, MF, Sr.
David Meves, Akron, GK, Sr.
Dillon Serna, Akron, MF, Fr.
Wil Trapp, Akron, MF, Jr.
Deandre Yedlin, Akron, D, So.
Danny Baraldi, Bowling Green, MF, So.
Anthony Grant, Bowling Green, F, Jr.
Eric Schoenle, West Virginia, D, Sr.
Shane Lyons, Western Michigan, F, Sr.
Brian Gallego, Akron, D, So.
Aodhan Quinn, Akron, MF, Jr.
Eric Stevenson, Akron, F, Jr.
Cleyon Brown, Hartwick, F, Sr.
James Stevenson, Northern Illinois, F, Jr.
Andrew Bevin, West Virginia, MF, So.
Peabo Doue, West Virginia, D, Sr.
Uwem Etuk, West Virginia, MF, Sr.
Travis Pittman, West Virginia, MF, Sr.
Darren Jones, Western Michigan, D, Sr.
Sean Lewis, Western Michigan, GK, Jr.
MAC NEWCOMERS OF THE YEAR
Anthony Grant, Bowling Green, F
Dillon Serna, Akron, MF
MAC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Scott Caldwell, Akron, MF
GARY V. PALMISANO MAC COACH OF THE YEAR
Caleb Porter, Akron