March 6, 2006
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern head coach Tim Lenahan presented the team awards while the Wildcats reflected on their accomplishments from last season and turned their attention to the future of the program during the annual Northwestern soccer banquet held on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Allan Center.
During the banquet, Northwestern's seniors were given an opportunity to speak about their time as a Wildcat men's soccer player.
"I remember being told that this would someday become to me one of the most important things in my life," senior midfielder Eric Brin said. "I said to myself, `no way, all I want to do is go back to California and see my girlfriend.' Now four years later I see how true that really was."
In addition to the various accolades awarded to the players throughout the year, the 'Cats received team awards for their performance, work ethic, attitude and academic accomplishments throughout the season.
Junior Brad North (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) garnered the team's Offensive MVP award. North led the Wildcats in almost every pertinent offensive statistical category including shots (43), goals (8) and total points (17). In addition, North tallied three game-winning goals for NU, including game winners to help the 'Cats post perfect 2-0 records at the 2005 Lakeside Classic and Adidas/Baymont Inn Invitational. North is a 2005 first team All-Big Ten selection.
On the other end, senior Adam Sirois (Dover, N.H./Berwick Academy) took home the team's Defensive MVP award. Sirois helped the Wildcats post a program-high six shutouts the last two seasons, including a shutout over then-defending national champions Indiana in 2004. Sirois started in 80 matches for the Wildcats over the last four years, starting all but three of those while becoming a mainstay in the Wildcats' backfield. Sirois was named topdrawersoccer.com Big Ten Defender of the Week following his performance in the 2005 Lakeside Classic.
Senior captain Brad Napper (Dallas, Texas/Jesuit College Prep) was awarded the team's Leadership award after continually displaying his exceptional ability to bring out the best in his teammates. Napper, who started all but one of his 78 matches at Northwestern, was a two-time captain who leaves as the leading goal-scorer as a defensive player in Big Ten history. Napper became the first NU player drafted by an MLS club when he was chosen by FC Dallas in the second round of the MLS supplemental draft.
"The one thing I will take from my experience at FC Dallas was the realization that there was no one else in training camp that had the same college experience I did," Napper said. "The camaraderie that we share at Northwestern is special and unique and something I have learned to never take for granted."
Seniors Jaro Pylypczak (Lombard, Ill./Benet Academy) and Sammy Semwangu (Gettsville, N.Y./Willamsburg North) each were honored with the Coaches Award, which is presented to the player that coaches feel best optimizes the mission of Northwestern soccer. Pylypczak is a two-time captain who started all 81 matches of his Northwestern career. In addition to contributing heavily on the defensive end, Pylypczak made his mark for the 'Cats on the offensive end as well, recording 17 career points on five goals and seven assists. Pylypczak received NU's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award nomination this season.
Semwangu solidified himself as one of the premier one-on-one defenders in the Big Ten during his four years with the Wildcats. Semwangu led a Wildcats defense that tallied six shutouts each of the last two seasons and was one of NU's most vocal leaders on the pitch.
Senior Dan Carew (Reno, Nev./Galena) garnered the Margaret "Peg" Lenahan Spirit of the Game Award, which is presented to the player who loves the game and puts the team ahead of himself and is presented in honor of coach Lenahan's late mother. Carew is a selfless player who helped the team in any way he could over the last four seasons and was twice named Academic All-Big Ten.
Senior Dave Vargas (North Olmstead, Ohio/St. Ignatius) was awarded for his performance and dedication in the classroom when he was presented the team's Academic Award, which is presented to the senior with the highest cumulative GPA. Vargas played in 79 matches for Northwestern while becoming a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, the most possible selections for a four-year student-athlete.
Freshman Tyler Voigt (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton Warrenville South) capped off his stellar rookie season by winning the team's 12th Man Award, given to the player who arrives to practice day in and day out and competes to the best of his ability. Voigt played in 16 matches for the Wildcats -- the most of any freshman -- starting six of them. He recorded one assist on the year.