EIGHT RAMS EARN ALL-ATLANTIC 10 HONORS; HAJI NAMED MIDFIELDER OF THE YEAR

RICHMOND, Va. – VCU Men's Soccer collected nine All-Atlantic 10 honors as announced by the league Thursday morning.

Head Coach Dave Giffard was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year after leading the Rams to a 10-5-1 overall record, a 6-1-1 record in conference, and won the A-10 Regular Season title.

Junior Siad Haji was named the Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year and also earned First Team honors. In addition, junior defender Ryo Shimazaki along with sophomore defender Ulrik Edvardsen and sophomore goal keeper Mario Sequeira earned Second Team honors.

Giffard has been at the helm of the program since 2010 and has posted an overall record of 86-63-28, making three straight conference championship matches and three NCAA appearances.  Giffard looks to improve on this when the Rams take on Rhode Island in the conference semifinals this Friday.

"It's nice to be recognized by the league for the work our staff and team has put in. To be honest, it has more to do with the work of our staff and players than it does me, and I take it as a tremendous compliment to the team and our culture. Our coaching staff has brought a tremendous strong spirit and culture to VCU Soccer. Any success that this group has, I would attribute directly to that," Giffard stated. 

Haji logged five goals, 10 assists, 20 points, and four game-winning goals this season. His four game-winning goals are tied for first in the A-10 while his 10 assists rank second. Haji was also named A-10 Offensive Player of the Week twice throughout the season.

"Siad is one of the premier talents in the college game and is well deserving of the recognition," Giffard said.

Shimazaki has been a key part of the Rams' success as he has recorded one goal and three assists so far this season.

Edvardsen and Sequeira have made an immediate impact since joining VCU last year. They were both named to TopDrawerSoccer's Top 100 Freshman List and added to their resume this year as they earned A-10 Second Team honors.

This season, Edvardsen has registered one goal and one assist while Sequeira has tallied 53 saves and a .97 goals against percentage, which is ranked fifth in the A-10. In addition, Sequeira was named as the A-10 Defensive Player of the Week three different times this season.

Eli Lockaby, Joseph Gonnella, and Simon Fitch round out the A-10 awards for VCU as they all were named to the Atlantic 10 All-Academic Team. This marks Lockaby's second straight year earning this award.

"Team success is typically reflected in individual honors. I'm happy for the guys who were recognized by the coaches in the league. There are a few guys that I thought didn't get the recognition that I feel they deserved, but thats the nature of this process. Especially where you have 13 teams in the league and only name a first and second 11," Giffard said.

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