Cambridge, Mass. – Three seniors on the UMBC men's soccer team and the Retriever coaching staff earned top league honors, as the America East Conference announced its major awards and All-Conference squads on Friday, Nov. 7.
Oumar Ballo (Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Curley) earned his second consecutive Defender of the Year honor, while Mamadou Kansaye (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) was selected as Midfielder of the Year and forward Kay Banjo (Upper Marlboro, Md./Largo) was tabbed Striker of the Year. Kansaye and Banjo were unanimous selections by the coaches.
The league's head coaches also selected the UMBC coaching staff, led by head coach Pete Caringi, Jr., as the 2014 Coaching Staff of the Year.
Ballo, Kansaye, Banjo and senior midfielder Geaton Caltabiano (Lothian, Md./Mount St. Joseph) earned America East First Team honors. Another pair of senior defenders, Jordan Becker (Pocomoke, Md./Pocomoke) and Marquez Fernandez (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh), were selected to the second team.
In addition to earning a place on the second team, Fernandez was tabbed to the America East All-Academic Team. Joining him on that select squad are junior midfielder Michael Scott (Fife, Scotland/Inverkeithing) and red-shirt sophomore goalkeeper Billy Heavner (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield).
Ballo became the third Retriever to earn back-to-back top honors at his position. Current professional standout Matt Watson was selected as AE Midfielder of the Year in 2004 and 2005, while Pete Caringi III earned Striker of the Year accolades in 2012 and 2013. In addition, UMBC has trotted out the league's top defender in three consecutive seasons, as Liam Paddock earned the honor in 2012.
The Retriever central defender earned NSCAA Second Team All-America honors in 2013. He scored a pair of goals in 2014 and spearheaded a defense that permitted only four goals in seven conference contests.
Kansaye earned his second consecutive First Team honor and became the fourth Retriever to earn Midfielder of the Year honors. In addition to the aforementioned Watson, Levi Houapeu (2009) and Kadeem Dacres (2013) also captured the league's highest honor.
Kansaye has produced his best offensive season and is currently second on the squad with 14 points. The two-time team captain has 19 assists in three seasons in a UMBC uniform, which is tied for 10th place on the school's all-time list.
After three outstanding years at Towson, Banjo brought his talents to UMBC in 2014 after the Tigers dropped their program following the 2012 season. After the regular season, he leads the league in goals per game (7, 0.44), assists per game (6, 0.38) and points per contest (20, 1.25). He is 41st in the nation in scoring and tallied game-winning goals in conference victories over UMass Lowell and New Hampshire.
Caltabiano earned his first America East honor, although the midfielder was a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Second Team selection while competing for Loyola in 2011. He scored four goals this season and has recorded 15 goals and 13 assists in his collegiate tenure.
Becker competed in his 77th game at Stony Brook in the regular season finale on Nov. 5, moving into a tie for seventh place on UMBC's all-time list. An attacking left back, Becker has scored five goals and added eight assists to date in his career.
Despite standing only 5'8", Fernandez contributed two outstanding seasons on the field and in the classroom for UMBC after transferring from the University of Maryland. He has started 33 of 34 games in the back, contributing four goals and two assists. A candidate for the 2014 Senior Class Award, Fernandez earned UMBC President List honors (4.00 GPA) last spring and maintains a 3.68 grade-point average in sociology.
Scott and Heavner join Fernandez as first-time recipients of the All-Academic award. Scott moved into the starting eleven this season and scored the game's first goal in the recent 5-1 victory over Vermont. He is maintaining a 3.67 grade-point average in physics.
Heavner also earned a starting role midway through the campaign and has performed exceedingly well, posting a 7-1-1 record, a 0.64 goals against average and three shutouts (four overall) in his last four outings. The financial economics major is the only member of the 13-member squad to possess a perfect 4.00 grade-point average.
The team is voted on by a committee made up of America East student-athlete support and athletic communications administrators as well as faculty athletic representatives.
Retriever student-athletes earned twelve accolades, tying the most for the program with the 2012 squad.
The coaching staff earned its second consecutive honor and Coach Caringi has now been cited three times, in 2005, 2013 and 2014.
UMBC is the top-seeded squad for the upcoming America East Tournament and will host the winner of the match between No. 5 Vermont at No. 4 Albany. That semi-final match will take place at Retriever Soccer Park on Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 7:00 p.m.