David Lilly Headlines 2014 MIAC Men’s Soccer Postseason Awards

Posted on November 13th, 2014 by

Senior midfielder David Lilly was named the MIAC Player of the Year, becoming the sixth student-athlete in Gustavus men's soccer history to be bestowed the honor.

Bloomington, Minn. – Gustavus Adolphus senior midfielder David Lilly (Maple Grove, Minn.) headlined the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) post-season awards by being named the Player-of-the-Year on Thursday, Nov. 13.

To go along with Lilly taking home MVP honors, senior forward Zach Brown (Eau Claire, Wis.) and junior midfielder Charlie Adams (Stillwater, Minn.) were named to the All-Conference Team. It is the fourth consecutive season and 13th time since the turn of the century that the Gustavus men’s soccer team has placed at least three players on the All-Conference Team.

“David being named conference MVP is a truly outstanding achievement, not only because he is an exceptional player but also because he plays a position that does not garner individual awards unless you are truly outstanding,” said Head Coach Mike Middleton. “He’s the best midfield player in the conference, and his partner, Charlie Adams, is the second best.  Watching them play and combine, with seemingly so much time on the ball and being so calm in the heat of the battle, is truly exceptional.  They ooze class and they love playing together.”

David Lilly, a three-time All-Conference performer, led the MIAC in assists this season and seconds second all-time at Gustavus. Photo courtesy of Sport PiX.

David Lilly, a three-time All-Conference performer, led the MIAC in assists this season and seconds second all-time at Gustavus. Photo courtesy of Sport PiX.

Making his third straight showing on the All-Conference Team, David Lilly is the sixth Gustavus player in program history to be named the MIAC’s Player-of-the-Year.  He joins Scott Crowell (2000), Joe Hartwell (2004), Bobby Kroog (2005), Mike Butterworth (2007), and Zach Brown (2013) in the club of former Gustie MIAC MVPs. It is also the first time a single institution has housed the player-of-the-year since Carleton’s Paul Pedtke and Robert Carlton earned the distinction in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Lilly is also the first midfield MVP since Pedtke in 2008.

“Due to the heavy reliance on statistics when making these choices, it is outstanding when a central midfielder receives this honor ,” Middleton continued. “David has spent a lot of the season operating in front of the defense – that is why David has be given the award. Give great credit to the coaches for recognizing this because they would have had to have seen him play and seen his impact on the field.”

Within Mike Middleton’s possession style system, David Lilly has been a staple feature and driving force in the midfield for four seasons. Fiercely competitive, creative, and in charge of nearly all the team’s corner kicks, Lilly dished out a league-best 11 assists this season – seven of which came inside conference play. To go along with two goals, the Maple Grove product finished 12th in overall scoring and was one of just three Gustavus players to start and play in all 20 of matches.

Middleton says that Lilly is both clever in possession with top-class movement when not in possession. “The first noticeable thing about David is that he makes such good decisions in possession. He always seems to make the right choice and that is a wonderful gift to have. Defensively, he takes up such good positions, controls the team shape, and is as hard as nails.  That fact does not come across as he is such as smooth player, but when you look closely you realize that competitiveness is just part of his make-up.”

“Teams have tried to man-to-man mark him, teams have tried to kick him out of the game, and teams have tried to get under his skin,” continued Middleton, “but he is impervious to that stuff.  He rises above it and is a behemoth on the field. Simply put, David has proven to be the best out there.”

One of the premier strikers in the history of Gustavus men’s soccer, Zach Brown garners All-Conference honors for the third time in his career. A harassing and ever-present threat in the opposition’s box, Brown recorded 13 points off five goals and three assists within league play.

One the men's soccer program's most decorated goal-scorers, Zach Brown takes home All-Conference honors for the third time in his career.

One the men’s soccer program’s most decorated goal-scorers, Zach Brown takes home All-Conference honors for the third time in his career.

“An All-American and MIAC Player-of-the-Year last season, Zach has certainly had a lot to live up to. Despite all that, he’s constantly adding to his game,” Middleton said about his senior forward. “He has scored more goals than last year, has added extra work-rate to his game, and his movement to break up defensive shape gets better and better.  He has also taken more pride in his defensive role. When you add that to the qualities he has in abundance  – power, strength, physicality and pace to burn – what’s not to like?”

Overall, the Eau Claire, Wisconsin native has scored a team-high 11 goals to go along with six assists for 28 points (2nd/MIAC). Of Brown’s 11 goals, seven are game-winners, which ranks 12th in NCAA Division III.

“Tirelessly competitive, he loves games when defenders start shoving him around – or trying to at least,” Middleton said about Brown. “It’s red rag to a bull; mild mannered off the field and a rottweiler on it. He snarls and bristles with latent aggression and loves running onto the ball and bearing down on goal.  He’s an absolute handful for any defense.”

Both David Lilly and Zach Brown are the first three-time All-Conference performers since Lucas Thompson ’13 was bestowed the award in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Middleton commends Brown for his excellent touch and cleverness when in possession. “The ball seems to stick to him and he rarely loses it, which is a great facet for a striker,” stated Middleton.  “He shields confidently and introduces other players into the play.  He is an excellent finisher and is equally adept at shooting with power or finishing with finesse.  Zach will score some of the best goals you’ll see; goals that demonstrate innovation and creativity.   Added to that, he jumps like a gazelle and is excellent in the air.  Not bad, when you also consider that he never shirks getting into areas that require a high degree of bravery.”

Considered to be a pace-setter of Middleton’s midfield, Charlie Adams earns All-Conference accolades for the first time in his career.

“Charlie is a central midfield player of consummate skill,” said Middleton. “Superb in possession and rarely rattled, he seems to find time and space out of nothing.  He is a virtuoso performer amongst the seemingly pallid and the bland.  He is a true artist – the color on a grey canvass. The kind of player that you’d pay to watch perform. One of opposition’s players even called him a ‘magician’ this year. That’s tough to argue with and quite the compliment.”

Adams, who was an All-MIAC honorable mention performer last season, has started and played in all 20 matches. Amongst the team leaders in minutes, he finished with three assists – all of which came on the game-winning goal of their respective match. Thanks in part to the play of Adams in the midfield, Gustavus was able to push up and score a league-best 25 goals within conference play.

A driving force and key tone-setter in Gustavus's midfield, Charlie Adams makes his first appearance on the All-Conference Team.

A driving force and key tone-setter in Gustavus’s midfield, Charlie Adams makes his first appearance on the All-Conference Team.

“In truth, there is a lot more to Charlie than silky skills,” Middleton added.  “He is the hardest worker with a great engine.  He keeps the flow of the play moving, constantly introducing his teammates.  Additionally, he is as hard a teak, as tough a nut as you’ll ever see.  Teams have not been able to cope with him. He’s at home in the thick of the fight and loves the physical stuff. There is a touch of genius to Charlie, he is on another plain to most mortals.  Added to his soccer talent, he’s life and soul of the party and is always smiling. As we’d say back home, he’s a proper player.”

In addition to Gustavus’s three All-Conference recipients, three Gusties were placed on the All-MIAC Honorable Mention Team including Elliot Emerson (Sr., Minneapolis, Minn.), Braden Schmid (Sr., West Fargo, N.D.), and Ryan Tollefsrud (Sr., Spearfish, S.D.). Emerson, a central defender, helped Gustavus finish with the best goals against average within league play for the fourth straight season. This year, the Gusties allowed just five goals for a 0.48 goals against average in conference play. Behind Emerson and the back line was goalkeeper Braden Schmid who went 4-1-1 inside league play and led the MIAC in both goals against average (0.48) and save percentage (.857). Despite missing the last portion of the season because of an injury, Ryan Tollefsrud scored three-game winning goals against league foes. He still ranks second on the team in scoring with 17 points (7G, 3A) and at one point of the year went on a team-best six-match scoring-streak.

As part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC announced the ninth-annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for men’s soccer. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition. Representing the Black and Gold on this season’s team is junior forward Konnor Tranoris (Jr., Des Moines, Iowa).

MIAC Release


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