KANSAS CITY, Mo. — University of Rio Grande senior forward Richard Isberner has been named to the NAIA Men’s Soccer All-America First Team for the second consecutive year.
The Sao Paulo, Brazil native leads a quartet of RedStorm players who were honored on the team, which was selected by a group consisting of the NAIA-Men’s Soccer Coaches Association Executive Committee, the championship games committee and two men’s soccer coaches based on geography.
Also receiving honors were senior midfielder Oliver Hewitt-Fisher (Swansea, Wales), who was named to the Second Team, as well as senior defender Mike Burney (Annandale, VA) and senior goal keeper Jack Marchant (Leeds, England), both of whom were Third Team picks.
“I’m really pleased about the fact that we had four guys who were recognized, especially given the fact that three of them had never received that kind of national notoriety before,” said Rio Grande head coach Scott Morrissey. “They all had good seasons and made significant contributions in their own way, but I’m pretty sure all of them would’ve taken a national championship over the individual stuff. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works ¬- it wasn’t meant to be. I know it’s important to the players themselves, but the recognition is also important to our program.”
Rio Grande’s list of All-American honorees now stands at 40 since Morrissey became the prorgam’s head coach.
Isberner, who also earned a second straight Mid-South Conference Player of the Year award, led Rio to its 12th straight national tournament appearance by leading the team with 22 goals, 13 assists and 57 points. He had an assist on the RedStorm’s lone goal in a 2-1, double-overtime loss to Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) in the second round of the NAIA National Tournament.
Isberner finished his collegiate career with 88 goals and 60 assists for 236 points. He also tallied 11 game-winning goals, including five this season.
“Obviously, Richie had a great career and it’s nice that he could end on a high note,” said Morrissey. “He’s in the top two or three in terms of all-time goal scorers at Rio and I’m sure he’s probably at the top of the list in total points. He was an outstanding player for us.”
Hewitt-Fisher finished second among team leaders with 11 goals, 10 assists and 32 points. He scored a career-best 10 points with four goals and a pair of assists in a 13-0 win over the University of Pikeville on October 13 at Evan E. Davis Field.
Hewitt-Fisher completed his time as a member of the RedStorm with 35 career goals and 34 career assists.
“Oliver has been one of our unsung heroes,” said Morrissey. “He was a guy who always played well and did so under the radar – sometimes in a position he really didn’t want to be at.”
Burney had two goals and an assist this season, but was a mainstay on the RedStorm’s defensive back line. He closed his Rio career with six goals – including two game-winners – and the assist.
“I’m happy for Mike,” Morrissey said. “He had a solid year last season, too, and we felt he got overlooked. It’s nice that he finally got recognized.”
Marchant finished with a 14-3-1 record in net, with 15 goals allowed, 41 saves and a .732 save percentage. He also recorded four shutouts.
Marchant’s final career totals show a 37-6-1 record, with 40 goals allowed, 112 saves, a .737 save percentage and 14 shutouts.
“I’m particularly pleased for Jack,” said Morrissey. “He’s been with us for five years and had a solid season for us at a position where it’s very difficult to get recognized nationally.”
Rio Grande finished its season at 16-3-1 after the season-ending loss to Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.).
The RedStorm, who spent the entire season ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 in the coaches’ poll, finished ninth in the final coaches’ poll released on Wednesday.
Rio Grande and Mid-South Conference rival Lindsey Wilson each placed a school-high four individuals on the All-America first, second and third teams.
Mobile (Ala.) senior midfielder Stephen Okai was honored as the Select Sport America-NAIA Men’s Soccer National Player of the Year. He was part of a program that went 17-5-2 on the season and posted a runner-up finish in the NAIA National Championship.
Mobile fell to Belhaven (Miss.) in the title game.