Five men's soccer players from Heidelberg University earned All-Ohio Athletic Conference honors, released by the league on Wednesday.
Junior defender Erik Furst (Columbus/Upper Arlington) received first team honors for the first time in his career. Senior Ryan Smith (Roanoke, TX/Keller) and sophomore Hamid Shariff (Columbus/Centennial) were named second team All-OAC, while freshman Chris Koczak (Springboro) and sophomore Nico Samaneigo (Huron) received honorable mention selections.
Furst is a mainstay for the Heidelberg University men’s soccer team on the right side of the defense.
As a defender, Furst recorded a goal along with an assist in his third year as a Student Prince. The goal, which came in a 4-2 loss against Oberlin on September 2, was the first of Erik’s career. He finished the season with 12 shots, three of which were on goal.
Ryan Smith finished a distinguished career as a Student Prince, receiving a second team All-OAC selection. For the first three years of Smith’s career, he was a decorated goalkeeper, earning All-OAC honorable mention a season ago along with Academic All-OAC honorable mention and first team All-OAC as a sophomore.
As a keeper, Smith amassed 215 saves in over 4518 minutes of playing time. His goals allowed average stands at an impressive 0.96. He recorded 16 shutouts in three years between the posts and boasts an overall record of 22-19-7.
However, this year's second team All-OAC selection is awarded to Smith for his exceptional play as a forward. In 2012, Smith tallied seven goals for the Berg, which is second on the team. His seven goals are accompanied by four assists and 26 shots on goal with a shot on goal percentage of .605.
Joining Smith is sophomore Hamid Shariff, who had a standout year for the Berg. The selection is Shariff’s first All-OAC accolade. In his second year as a Student Prince, Shariff played in all 20 of the Berg’s contests and accumulated five goals with two assists.
Nico Samaneigo, named honorable mention, collected one goal in 2012, which came in the OAC Tournament quarterfinal match against the Crusaders of Capital University. The goal marked the first of Nico’s career. Samaneigo added to Heidelberg’s offensive attack with four assists, which is a career high.
Freshman Chris Koczak finished the season as The Berg’s leading scorer with ten goals, three of which were game winners. Koczak also added two assists and 22 shots on goal to his 2012 resume.
As a unit, the Heidelberg underclassmen accounted for 24 of the Berg’s 34 goals in 2012.
The Student Princes began their 2012 campaign, dropping their first three contests by a combined score of 7-2. Following those games, the Berg rallied around the guidance of 24-year head coach Brian Haley and won five of their next seven contests before entering OAC competition.
The Berg, predicted to finish ninth in the OAC preseason poll, went 4-2-3 in OAC competition and finished the regular season in fourth place. With a 3-2 victory overCapital in the OAC quarterfinals, the Berg earned the right to play Ohio Northern, the regular season champion.
In the semifinals, the Polar Bears defeated Heidelberg 3-1, which capped off a 2012 season that was interesting and entertaining for Berg soccer fans.
Ohio Northern would go on to defeat John Carroll 2-0 in the OAC Tournament finals.
With the defeat in Ada, the Student Princes finished the season 10-7-3 overall, a handsome improvement from their 3-11-4 finish a season ago.