Dec. 10, 2013
CHICAGO – Four members of the UIC men’s soccer team have been selected to the 2013 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Continental Tire All-Great Lakes Region teams, it was announced by the organization on Tuesday.
Senior Bob Novak earned a spot on the All-Great Lakes Region Second Team, while fellow seniors Josh Beard and Slobodan Aleksov and junior Jesus Torres were named to the All-Great Lakes Region Third Team. The honors are the first such accolades in each of their careers.
The four all-region selections mark the most in a season since 2006, when former standouts Jovan Bubonja, Tonci Skroce, Pavle Dundjer and Cesar Zambrano were honored. In total, 17 individual Flames have been recognized since 1999, while 26 All-Region accolades have been collected.
The Horizon League Co-Player of the Year, Novak was also named to the All-League First Team after serving as a key component in UIC's midfield. The Homer Glen, Ill., native played and started all 20 matches for the Flames and scored three goals throughout the season, while adding six assists.
Beard collected the Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year accolade and was named to the All-League First Team. The Schaumburg, Ill., native guided the Flames' back line, who contributed to 10 shutouts and limited the opposition to scoring just 16 goals. While playing and starting in 17 matches, Beard scored three goals and two game-winners, including the goal that clinched the Horizon League regular season title.
An All-Horizon League First Team selection, Aleksov captained the Flames in their standout season, as he saw action in all 20 matches and started 19. The Belgrade, Serbia, native led UIC in goals (10), points (23), shots (62) and shots on goal (29), while recording four two-goal games and registering four game-winners.
The fourth-of-five Flames to be named to the All-Horizon League First Team, Torres played and started in all 20 games while leading the League and placing within the top 15 nationally in assists with nine. The Chicago, Ill., native assisted on five game-winning goals, scored two of his own, and netted four total goals on the season.
UIC ended 2013 with a 16-4-0 mark after winning 16 of its last 18 games and producing a 10-match win streak that continued into the postseason. The Flames concluded the regular season at 15-3-0, 7-0-0 HL, to set a program record for most victories during the regular season, while its 7-0-0 conference record set the most conference wins and the first time UIC had won every league match.
The Flames finished atop the Horizon League with a perfect 7-0-0 record, marking the first time a team had collected every conference win since the 2002 season when Milwaukee went 7-0-0. UIC clinched the Horizon League regular season title and locked in the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament on Oct. 30, when it defeated Oakland, 1-0. The feat was the fifth all-time for UIC and the first since 2008.