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A Shining Season – The 2023 Season Was A Season To Remember For These Twelve Men’s College Soccer Teams.


Clemson – No team in the country did a better job of staying focused on the task at hand and on doing the things that they needed to do to continue to improve than Clemson.

The Tigers were a work in progress in the early going opening the season with an unexpected 2-1 loss at home to UCF and a 1-1 tie with UNCW and a 3-2 loss to Notre Dame on the road in their ACC opener finishing the month of September with a 6-3-1 overall record and 2-2-0 mark in ACC play. From that point forward they didn’t lose a game capturing the ACC Tournament title and winning the programs fourth national championship and second under head coach Mike Noonan to conclude the season with a 15-3-5 overall record. It was a total team effort worthy of a national championship.

Senior midfielder Ousmane Sylla was awarded the prestigious 2023 MAC Hermann Trophy and was a United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News First Team All-American. Defender Pape Mar Boyce was a College Soccer News All-Freshman First Team selection.

Notre Dame – There was a lot to like about the season Notre Dame had in 2023.

The number two seeded Irish advanced to the national championship game under head coach Chad Riley for the second time in program history and the first since the 2013 season when they won the national championship under then legendary head coach Bobby Clark. It was the second trip to the College Cup for Notre Dame in the last three seasons and their first ever undefeated season in ACC play.

This was a balanced and exciting Irish team with a potent attack led by Eno Nito (11g, 1a), Matthew Roou (10g, 3a) and Bryce Boneau (4g, 7a) that averaged two goals per game and a stout defense anchored in goal by All-American Bryan Dowd that had a 0.68 goals against average and posted twelve shutouts.

West Virginia – Let’s begin with a little background information. The Mountaineers had a banner season in 2021 during which they advanced to the Elite for the first time since the 1981 season. They entered the 2022 season with high expectations and a lot of momentum but fell short of expectations with a 7-7-4 overall record and no invite to the NCAA Tournament.

Accordingly West Virginia entered the 2023 season with a lot of unanswered questions and were absent from preseason polls. The Mountaineers subsequently took the step forward in 2023 that many thought they would take in 2022 playing their way into the College Cup for the first time. This team forever raised the bar of what the program is capable of accomplishing with a 17-3-4 overall record that established a new high for wins in a single season.

All-Americans Marcus Calderia (12g, 3a) and Yutaro Tsukado (12g, 9a) were key elements in a potent West Virginia attack. The future looks bright for West Virginia under head coach Dan Stratford who will enter his fifth season at the helm of the program in 2024.

Oregon State – The 2023 season looked to be a transitional year at Oregon State with a roster that included a new head coach, Greg Dalby, and 14 new players.

The Beavers played well enough during regular season play to secure the program’s fifth berth in the NCAA Tournament in the past six seasons but a deep run in the NCAA Tournament seemed unlikely. They topped Seattle at home 2-1 in overtime in the first round of the tournament and then defied the odds when the upset Portland 3-0 in Portland, SMU in Dallas and North Carolina in Chapel Hill to secure a berth in the College Cup for the first time in program history. Oregon State’s eight game unbeaten streak and magical ride came to an end in the College Cup semi-finals when they were edged 1-0 by Notre Dame.

Forward Logan Farrington, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, and midfielder Javier Armas were named United Soccer Coaches All-Americans.

Loyola Marymount University – The Lions blazed a new trail in 2023 under second year head coach Kyle Schmid advancing to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.

LMU was awarded an at-large berth after a solid showing during regular season play during which they had resume building wins over the likes of Virginia, Seattle, Oregon State, UCLA and Portland. However, they played their best soccer of the year when it counted the most with wins in the NCAA Tournament over UC Irvine 4-2, UCLA 1-0 on the road, and James Madison 1-0 before falling in the Elite Eight to West Virginia 3-1 in Morgantown.

Western Michigan – The Broncos under head coach Chad Wiseman entered the 2023 season with their sights set on replicating and building on the success that they had in 2022 when they won the MAC Tournament, secured the conferences automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, and advanced past Louisville 2-1 and Lipscomb 1-0 before their season came to an end with a 1-0 loss to Portland in the Sweet Sixteen to finish with an overall record of 16-3-2.

They had another outstanding season in 2023 during which they won the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles during their first season as a member of the conference, secured the conferences automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, and advanced past Green Bay at home and Duke in Durham before their season ended in the Sweet Sixteen year when they were edged in a penalty kick shoutout by Notre Dame after the contest was scoreless at the conclusion of 110 minutes of play to finish the season with a 17-1-4 overall record that included a program best 20 game unbeaten streak.

Forward Charlie Sharp and defender Jaylen Shannon were named United Soccer Coaches All-Americans. Sharp and forward Dylan Sing were named College Soccer News All-Americans. Sharp became the first MAC Hermann Trophy finalist in WMU program history after a 19 goal and eight assist season in 2023.

Yale – Count a resilient Yale team under head coach Kylie Stannard among the programs that had a special 2023 season.

The number three seeded Bulldogs topped Harvard and Brown to win the first ever Ivy League Tournament and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since they won the Ivy League title in 2019. They then took a step forward when they played their way into the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.

Junior center back TJ Presthus was named the Ivy League Defender of the Year and junior midfielder Max Rogers, senior forward Eric Lagos, and Presthus were named to the United Soccer Coaches Northeast All-Region team. Yale secured their fifth consecutive winning season in 2023 with an 11-6-3 overall record which they will seek to build on next year. Stannard stated, “We talk about leaving the jersey in a better place, which is a high standard for this program, but they absolutely achieved that over the past year.”

SIUE – The Cougars under fifth year head coach Cale Wasserman belong on everyone’s short list of teams that had a banner 2023 season.

SIUE won both the Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first times since 2016 and for the third time since the Cougars returned to NCAA Division I play in 2008. They were unbeaten through their first 19 games (16-0-3) before sustaining their only loss of the season to Memphis in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to finish with a stellar 16-1-3 overall record. The 16 wins were the most in a single season since SIUE’s return to Division I play.

Junior Stephen Moreira was named the OVC Forward of the Year, senior Will Harris was named the OVC Defender of the Year, and Graduate Student Sam Gomez was named the OVC Goalkeeper of the Year. Wasserman summed things up well when he stated, “This group put in so much for our program. We had an unforgettable year and played so well.”

Hofstra – The Pride under veteran head coach Richard Nuttal had another noteworthy and impressive season in 2023 that is deserving of special recognition.

Hofstra won the Coastal Athletic Association Tournament for the third consecutive season and was awarded a national seed (14) in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. They subsequently topped Yale 2-0 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the second time in the last three seasons where they were edged by North Carolina in Chapel Hill in a contest that came down to a penalty kick shootout after it was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation and overtime.

Junior midfielder Eliot Goldthrop (8g, 15a), the 2023 CAA Player of the Year, became the first Hofstra player to be named a United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News First Team All-American. Senior forward Ryan Carmichael (17g, 5a) was a United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News Second Team All-American and senior defender Pierce Infuso was a United Soccer Coaches Third Team All-American.

Bryant – No team in the nation improved more from the 2022 season to the 2023 season than Bryant under first year head coach Ruben Resendes.

The Bulldogs jumped from a 3-10-1 overall record in 2022 to 16-2-2 overall in 2023 and progressed from a team that was winless in their first season as a member of the America East Conference play in 2022 to a team that was 4-1-2 during regular season conference play and that defeated New Hampshire in the 2023 Tournament final to win the Conference Championship to secure the programs first ever berth in the NCAA Tournament.

A productive Bryant attack produced a total of 45 goals while a tenacious Bulldog defense anchored in goal by Antreas Hadjigavriel, who had a national best 0.297 goals against average, allowed a total of only six goals. It was a season in which Bryant made their presence known in the America East Conference as well as the national scene.

Marc Pitarch Bavot (11g, 6a) was named to the United Soccer Coaches Northeast Region First Team. Vicente Valor Martinez (5g, 7a), Inigo Villaldea (7g, 5a) and defender Kerman Sukia were named to the second team and netminder Antreas Hadjigavriel was a third team selection.

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay – It was a memorable season for a gutsy Phoenix team under the guidance of head coach Jeremy Bonomo that took a big step forward in 2023.

Green Bay entered the Horizon League Tournament as the number two seeded team. They then topped number three seed IUPUI 2-1 and number one seeded Oakland 1-0 in Rochester to win the Horizon League Tournament and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009. The win over Oakland in Rochester was Green Bays first since the 1978 season. The Phoenix finished the season with a 10-4-5 overall record to secure their first double digit win season since 2011.

Senior Hesron Barry, the 2023 Horizon League Defender of the Year, was named a United Soccer Coaches All-American becoming the first Green Bay player to earn that honor since 2009.

California Baptist University -The Lancers broke through another barrier in 2023 when they topped San Diego in a match that was decided by a penalty kick shootout to claim the program’s first ever win in NCAA Tournament play.

CBU earned their second straight berth in the NCAA Tournament by defeating Utah Tech 2-0 and UNLV 2-1 in Las Vegas in the WAC Tournament becoming the first team in 14 years to win back-to-back WAC Tournament titles. Another successful season at CBU subsequently came to an end with a 10-6-4 overall record and 5-1-2 record in WAC play when they lost to Marshall in Huntington in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Lancers secured their third double digit win season in 2023 under head coach Coe Michaelson. Michaelson praised the members of the nine member senior class for laying the groundwork that has made the program competitive in the WAC and on the national scene. He stated, “This group of seniors have changed this program and built a legacy establishing CBU as a name recognized across the country in men’s soccer.”

Senior Luis Mueller, 26 career goals and 19 career assists, became the first Lancer to be named to the United Soccer Coaches All-Far West Region First Team while senior Thomas Beecham, the WAC Defensive Player of the Year, was named to the All-Far West Region Third Team.

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Picture from Bryant University Athletics

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