ST. LOUIS – Park University placed four men's soccer players on the 2016 American Midwest Conference All-Conference team – three earning first-team designations plus one honorable mention selection – announced Friday after the AMC championship game in Columbia.
Park's three first-team All-AMC honorees were all seniors – forward Mario Erpel, midfielder Tim Kloster and defender Mirko Sandivari – while one junior, Rodolfo Lopes, was an honorable-mention all-conference performer in the midfield.
"Every one of the guys deserve the recognition as they have made a significant impact on our team," said Park men's soccer coach Efrem Shimlis. "Especially in a year where we had so many young players on the team. The season did not end the way we wanted it to, but a lot of learning and growing took place, and it's because of these four players. I am honored and forever grateful to have been given the opportunity to know and coach these young men. They were great players, great students, and most importantly, they are wonderful people. Every member of our Park family has beneftited from having them as teammates on and off the field. They're true class acts, talented and amazing young men. This is well-deserved recognition for them."
For Erpel, at forward, his best scoring season came as a senior, recording 10 goals this season to go with four assists, totaling 24 points to bring his career point total to 50. In four years, Erpel netted 21 goals and eight assists, taking 96 shots with 40 on goal. He had three game-winning goals in his career. As a senior, he ranked 34th in goals per game (0.77) and 36th in points per game (1.85) in the NAIA.
In the midfield, Kloster had the NAIA's 50th-best assists-per-game average at 0.44, playing in 16 games in 2016 with six goals and seven assists for 19 points, one better than his junior-season point total of 18. In his career, Kloster scored 13 goals from 2014 to 2016, for the Pirates, with 19 assists for 45 career points. He took 82 shots and put 49 on goal in three seasons.
Sandivari, a defender, also added to Park's offense in the last three years with five goals and three assists. In the defensive backfield, Sandivari helped Park outscore its opponents 31-25 in 2016, outshooting opponents, on goal, 138-83.
"These three seniors meant so much to our team," Shimlis said. "We can't replace the leadership they provided. We will need our returners to step up and try to fill what's left by these guys. They're special, and I will miss them."
Lopes will be one of the juniors from 2016 asked to step up next season. In his honorable-mention season, in the midfield, Lopes did not score but did provide five assists, taking 22 shots with 11 on goal. Lopes was also Park's representative on the AMC Men's Soccer Champions of Character Team.
The Pirates ended the 2016 season with an overall record of 8-6-2 with a 7-4 mark in the AMC, matching Lyon College for fourth place in the league but falling to the Scots, 2-0, in Nov. 5's quarterfinal round of the American Midwest Conference Men's Soccer Championship.
2016 AMC Men's Soccer All-Conference Team
Player of the Year –
Coach of the Year – David Erskine, Hannibal-LaGrange
Freshman of the Year – Sebastian Durand, Lindenwood-Belleville
Newcomer of the Year – Claudio Rivadeneira, Hannibal-LaGrange
Fair Play and Sportsmanship – Freed-Hardeman University
Forwards –Rodrigo Alves, William Woods; Mitchell Conning, Columbia; Isaac Lehmkuhl, Hannibal-LaGrange; Mario Erpel, Park; Edin Campara, Columbia.
Midfielders – Claudio Rivadeneira, Hannibal-LaGrange; Tim Kloster, Park; Zachary Felz, Columbia; Ignacio Garrido, Hannibal-LaGrange; Nassar Ssempa, Freed-Hardeman; Gerardo Espinoza, Missouri Baptist.
Defenders – Matija Ceraj, Columbia; Daniel Carrasco, Hannibal-LaGrange; Sebastian Reyes, Lindenwood-Belleville; Adriano Baeta, Hannibal-LaGrange; Mirko Sandivari, Park; Lucas Alvarez, Lyon.
Goalkeepers – Joaquin Hansen, Hannibal-LaGrange; Christian Espinoza, Lindenwood-Belleville; Connor Cable, William Woods.
Alberto Pitarch, WWU
Pere Servera; CC
Arne Meyer, Lyon
Connar Armstrong, MBU
Nester Moguel, CBC
Travis Owen, CBC
Benjamin Randolph, MBU
Javier Piedra, WBC
Anthony Moscatello, WWU
Andres Garza Rodriguez, L-B
Mario Alonso, Lyon
Omar Fabila, Lyon
Alex Meany, FHU
Erick Ocampo, MBU
Thomas Jamieson, STLCOP
Pablo Martinez, L-B
Thiago Sooma, WBC
Rodolfo Lopes, Park
Matheus Alonso, WBC
Sebastian Durand, L-B
Ulises Caba Cordova, Lyon
Joshua Phillips, MBU
Callum Morris, CBC
Aris Nukic, MBU
Champions of Character Team
Cory Ballew, Central Baptist
Zachary Felz, Columbia
Nassar Ssempa, Freed-Hardeman
Vinicius Mariani, Hannibal-LaGrange
Jordy Elera, Harris-Stowe
Alex Acuna, Lindenwood-Belleville
Ali Fawaz, Lyon
Connar Armstrong, Missouri Baptist
Rodolfo Lopes, Park
Thomas Jamieson, St. Louis College of Pharmacy
Juan Roman, William Woods
Patrick Smith, Williams Baptist