All-Northeast Conference (NEC) 2012 Teams and Awards

Moon Township, PA After claiming the Northeast Conference regular-season trophy and earning the right to host the 2012 NEC championship, the Robert Morris Colonials came away as big winners again, this time at the pre-tournament banquet, held Thursday evening in Moon Township, PA.

In a vote conducted by league head coaches, senior midfielder Kiel Matisz (Stoney Creek, Ontario/Saltfleet) was named NEC Player of the Year, marking the third straight season an RMU player has captured the honor. He was also recognized as the top offensive threat in the league, garnering the NEC Offensive Player of the Year trophy as well.

Bryant senior goalkeeper Jameson Love (Darien, CT/Darien) took home the NEC Defensive Player of the Year award, while teammate and freshman midfielder Kevin Massa (Huntington, NY/Elwood John Glenn) was recognized as the NEC Rookie of the Year. Andrew McMinn led the Colonials to 11 wins in his first season as head coach and his peers applauded him for that, voting him NEC Coach of the Year.

A native of Stoney Creek, Ontario, Matisz put on one of the best performances in Robert Morris history this past season. He scored 36 goals and handed out 22 assists for a career-high 58 points, just three shy of the school-record of 61 set by former two-time player of the year and All-American Trevor Moore in 2011. Through 14 games, the 6-5 midfielder ranked second in the league in goals per game (2.57) and tied for the top spot in points per game (4.14), a mark that has remained steady thanks to a 14-game point streak this season that fell in the midst of a 20-game streak dating back to last.

His efforts have also placed him among the nation's best as he was recently named one of the 25 nominees for the 2012 Tewaaraton Award, an honor given to the top lacrosse player in the country. Along with his two major awards, Matisz made his third straight appearance on the All-NEC First Team.

Bolstering the league's top defense, Love was spectacular in net this season, maintaining an NEC-best 7.67 goals against average while making 191 saves on 314 shots for a league-leading .608 save percentage. He made double-digit saves in 13 of his 16 games played, and nearly broke the 20-save mark on two different occasions, with 17 against Vermont and 19 against Fairfield. Love, who currently boasts a 12-4 record, was also awarded the goalkeeper spot on the all-conference first team.

Joining his fellow Bulldog Love in the major award winners category, Massa count not have asked for a better freshman season. The Huntington, NY native was a monster at the faceoff X, winning 226 of his 360 attempts to finish the regular season with a 62.8 faceoff winning percentage, a mark that ranks nearly six percent better than the next closest competitor in the NEC and ranks fourth in the nation. He also gobbled up a league-leading 125 ground balls to go along with two goals and 11 points. Massa rounded out the awards ceremony by landing spots on both the All-NEC First Team (specialist) and all-rookie squad.

In his first season as head coach, McMinn made sure the Colonials did not miss a beat in 2012. Under the former Providence standout's direction, RMU won 11 games for the first time in school history, captured its first conference regular-season title of any kind, and earned its second-ever national ranking. The offense, which led the country last season, has clicked on all cylinders and is on track to bring another NCAA Statistical Leaders plaque to Moon Township, averaging a nation-best 14.29 goals per game.

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2012-05-03



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