DeLand, Fla. - Six members of the Stetson men's soccer team earned postseason honors from the Atlantic Sun Conference, including junior midfielder Jonathan Mendoza (Bogota, Colombia) as A-Sun Player of the Year and junior defender Luis Ocejo (Mexico City, Mexico) as A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year. This is the second straight year in which a Hatter has been named Offensive Player of the Year while Ocejo is Stetson's second A-Sun Defensive PoY in the last three seasons.
Ocejo, a First Team All-Atlantic Sun selection, was also named to the All-Conference Academic Team along with senior forward Joakim Helland (Bergen, Norway). Senior midfielder Gonzalo de Mujica (Buenos Aires, Argentina) joined Mendoza and Ocejo on the First Team with junior midfielder Kai Eckenrode (Springfield, Va.) landing on the Second Team and rookie defender JJ Lofthouse-Smith (London, England) on the All-Freshman Team for Stetson. The Hatters finished the regular season 10-5-3 overall and 6-1-1 in A-Sun action, finishing second in the standings and earning a bye into Friday's A-Sun tournament semifinals.
Mendoza was the A-Sun's leading scorer in the regular season with 27 points on 11 goals and five assists to join former teammate Frederik Brustad as back-to-back league Players of the Year for the Hatters. Mendoza, who was named A-Sun Player of the Week twice in 2011, was a 2009 A-Sun All-Freshman Team pick and a 2010 First Team All-Atlantic Sun selection as well as a member of the A-Sun All-Tournament Team both years.
Ocejo scored his first two career goals and handed out two assists this year while anchoring a Stetson back line that notched six shutouts and finished the regular season unbeaten in its last nine matches. He joins former teammate Robert Hodge '10 as the only A-Sun Defensive Players of the Year in program history.
Stetson team captain Gonzalo de Mujica also earned First Team honors after scoring five goals and tying for the team lead with six assists for 16 points, good for second on the Hatters in scoring. He was previously a 2008 A-Sun All-Freshman Team member and a 2010 Second Team All-Conference honoree.
Eckenrode landed on the Second Team as he scored four goals and tied with de Mujica for the team lead in assists with six. Eckenrode earned A-Sun Player of the Week as well as National Team of the Week honors from both College Soccer 360 and the College Soccer News on October 31 for scoring three goals in a 1-1 tie with #9 UCF and a 4-3 OT win at A-Sun rival Jacksonville.
Lofthouse-Smith joined the team during August preseason training and immediately seized one of the starting fullback spots; he went on to start 17 of 18 matches for the Hatters and averaged over 90 minutes per appearance (due to Stetson taking seven matches to overtime).
The Hatters have now had at least one First Team All-Atlantic Sun selection 11 years in a row and an All-Freshman Team pick in each of that award's 11 seasons of existence. Second-seeded Stetson will await either third-seeded Jacksonville or tourney host sixth-seeded ETSU in Friday's semifinals at 7:00 pm.
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