HAMPDEN-SYDNEY, VA (April 18, 2008)—Recently the 2008 soccer team and over 150 guests gathered at a banquet to celebrate the 2008 season. The Tigers this past fall had one of their best seasons with a 12-6-1 record and a 6-3-1 conference mark. Head Coach Josh Laux was the main speaker for the night which was highlighted by his remarks, a highlight film, the celebration of the 2008 senior class, and the team awards voted on by the players and coaches.
Laux praised his eight seniors that helped him turn around the Hampden-Sydney soccer program. Over their four year careers, they compiled an overall record of 43-25-8, an Old Dominion Athletic Conference record of 22-11-4, and a 32-7-4 home record. They were also a large part of the 2005 team that was named the 12th most improved program in the nation, and have been ranked in the top ten of the South Region for all four years.
The eight seniors, however, were not the only ones recognized. Six different awards were given out that were voted on by both players and coaches. A new award was created this year for the team leader in goals. Freshman Bryan Wharton (Glen Allen, VA/Deep Run) received the award for his team-leading 14 goals in his rookie campaign; those 14 goals are also a Hampden-Sydney record for goals by a freshman. Senior Jason Butler (Richmond, VA/Mills Godwin) won the Hustle Award for the third straight year for his constant effort and work ethic.
The 12th man award was given to senior James Bishop (Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Latin). Bishop had a breakout senior season in which he played in 15 games at the outside back position, and gave the Tigers energy and physical play.
Throughout the year, the team has a performance point competition where points are accumulated, and the 2008 winner was sophomore Matt Swaney (Potomac Falls, VA/Potomac Falls). Swaney is a fierce competitor and comes to play every day; that certainly showed as he earned the most points over the course of the year.
The final two awards were the Coaches and Players Choice MVP awards. The coaches voted on sophomore Matt Hampton (Virginia Beach, VA/Kellam). Hampton asserted himself this year as the catalyst in the Tiger midfield. "Good things happen when the offense works through him," Coach Laux said of the sophomore. "He doesn't get all the stats, but he is always willing to do the dirty work and knows how to make the right play."
The players voted on their choice for MVP, but came up with two names on the opposite side of the field. Junior forward Will Robertson (Charlotte, NC/Charlotte Catholic) and sophomore keeper John Robert Plyler (Charlotte, NC/Myers Park) took home Players Choice Co-MVP awards. Robertson had a breakout junior season in which he scored eight goals and added seven assists. He was also named First Team All-ODAC, First Team All-State, and Second Team All-Region. Plyler also had a great 2008 as he only gave up 17 goals in his 19 matches. His 0.93 goals-against-average was greatly helped by his 54 saves and .761 save percentage.
With Hampden-Sydney's spring season at an end, they begin their preparations for 2009 and seek their first ODAC Championship.