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Men's Soccer: Warriors Reach 'Pinnacle' of Success as One of Only Two Men's Programs to Qualify for National USC Award

Men's Soccer: Warriors Reach 'Pinnacle' of Success as One of Only Two Men's Programs to Qualify for National USC Award

WILLIMANTIC, Conn.  – The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer program has attained numerous individual and team accolades both on the field and off under head coach Greg DeVito, but none may equal the one earned from the United Soccer Coaches for its achievements during the 2018-19 academic year.

Eastern combined its exceptional record on the pitch with its lofty academic standing and ethical conduct under DeVito to become one of only two men’s teams in all divisions of college soccer --- NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA -- to earn an inaugural Team Pinnacle Award, which was presented for the first time this fall to reflect the 2018-19 academic year.

 “This prestigious new team award designed to recognize a combination of academics, sportsmanship and athletic excellence may be the most difficult award to achieve for any soccer program,” said Steve Veal, USC awards manager.”

The select group of qualifiers bears this out. In all, only 22 men’s and women’s college programs qualified for the award, with Eastern and the Saint Joseph’s College women’s teams the only qualifying schools from New England. Only institutions who are members of the USC are eligible for USC individual and team recognition.

To qualify, programs must have received either the Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze version of the Team Ethics and Sportsmanship Award, which is based upon the percentage of yellow cards received during the year (one red card disqualifies a program from qualifying for the award); achieved recognition in the classroom as a recipient of the Team Academic Award (minimum team GPA of 3.00); and recorded a winning percentage of at least.750.

Three-Step Process to the Pinnacle Award in 2018-19

Step 1: Eastern earned a Team Ethics and Sportsmanship Bronze Award for the sixth time in the last eight years for totaling 50 percent or less yellow cards in its season contests (eight cards in 19 matches). The Warriors were one of only four men’s teams – one of two in New England -- at any level nationwide to merit the award. Among nine Little East Conference teams, Eastern had six less yellow cards than its closest competitor. During the year, Eastern was assessed only four percent of the 211 yellow cards issued to LEC teams, which was 30 total yellow cards less than the conference’s most penalized team. To reflect this, 019 graduate Ryan Murphy of Cromwell was awarded last spring the prestigious Francis E. Geissler Senior Male SportsPerson-of-the-Year Award which rewards, in part, sportsmanship, integrity, and spirit.

Step 2: The program was recipient of a USC Team Academic Award for the eighth straight year under DeVito. Nineteen of the roster players concluded the academic year with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.8, with 15 of the players reaching 3.00 and ten amassing cumulative GPAs of at least 3.50. A total of eight players achieved LEC All-Academic status and five of the program’s juniors and seniors earning an Eastern Scholar-Athlete Award.

Step 3: On the field, Eastern easily hurdled the required .750 winning standard by capturing 78.9 percent of its 19 matches. The Warriors never lost as many as two matches in a row, winning eight of their first nine and 12 of their first 14. Its record of 7-1-0 in the LEC gave them a fifth outright (seventh overall) regular-season title. It marked the fifth time in the first 12 years under DeVito that the club won at least 75.0 percent of its overall matches.

Pinnacle Award winners will be formally recognized at the College Coaches Reception this Jan. 16 as part of the USC National Convention in Baltimore.


2018-19 USC Team Pinnacle Award Winners



Calvin University







Belmont Abbey College

Benedictine College



Bridgewater College



University of California-San Diego



University of Central Oklahoma



Centre College



University of Dubuque



Ferris State University



Grove City College



Herkimer College



Iowa Western Community College



Ithaca College



Loras College



Saint Joseph’s College of Maine



SUNY Geneseo



Texas A&M University



Union County College



Webster University



University of Wisconsin-La Crosse



University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point