EIGHT Bobcats Earn Cal-Pac Conference Honors and Awards!

Marcus DeCouto was named the California Pacific Conference Freshman of the Year and highlighted eight UC Merced men’s soccer All-Conference honors Wednesday night.

DeCouto also earned a spot on the Cal Pac All-Conference First Team, along with senior defender Brennen Canfield and junior goalkeeper David Hernandez.

In addition, Ricky Rosas, was named to the All-Conference Second Team, while Artemio ContrerasDavid EsparzaMarco Torralva and Juan Floresearned Honorable Mention.

DeCouto was an integral part of a UC Merced team that ranked top five in eight separate statistical categories and became the first player in program history to finish the regular season with double-digit goals (10) and assists (10).

Both marks were team highs and he was the strongest during conference play, where he tallied nine of his ten goals and scored at least one goal in six consecutive games spanning from October 7 to October 29.

Canfield, a senior from Bakersfield, Calif., collected First Team honors due to his stellar defensive play all season long. He helped anchor the UC Merced defense to ten shutouts, including five in a row to end the season and was crucial reason why UC Merced snapped Marymount California Universities 28-game winning streak against Cal Pac opponents this past Thursday.

Along with Canfield, junior goalkeeper David Hernandez was a key part in the shutouts and totaled a team high 26 saves in his first season in between the posts for UC Merced. The sophomore from Santa Rosa College hasn’t allowed a goal since October 15 against La Sierra University.

Freshman midfielder Ricky Rosas begins his college career with a spot on the Second Team and he finished the season with two goals and five assists. Rosas totaled 20 shots, with nine on goal and contributed multiple shots on goals for the rest of his teammates.

Contreras earns an All-Conference postseason honor for the third straight year and placed second on the team with nine goals and eight assists. With his stellar campaign, Contreras is now ranked second in program history with 79 points and 31 goals.

Another player ranked in the top five is senior David Esparza, who finishes out his regular season career with 20 assists, good for third in program history. This season, the midfielder tallied five assists and also tied his career high with five goals.

Senior Marco Torralva earns his first All-Conference selection and it was very well deserved as he scored a career high six goals and contributed a pair of assists. He also peppered with the opponents all season long and took at least one shot in 15 of the team’s 17 games.

Lastly, UC Merced saw freshman and Fresno, Calif., native Juan Flores earn an All-Conference Honorable Mention. Flores got off to a great start and scored at least one goal in five straight games spanning from September 13-30, including a hat trick on September 28 against Simpson University. Flores also scored against Cal Maritime and Pacific Union towards the end of the season to tie Contreras for second on the team with nine goals.

The men’s soccer team continues their season tomorrow afternoon as they take on Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (AZ) in a Cal Pac semifinal game.

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