Kody Palmer of HPU Men’s Soccer Named Big South Freshman of the Year, Five Panthers Named All-Conference

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Redshirt-freshman Kody Palmer of the High Point University men’s soccer team was named the Big South Freshman of the Year and five HPU players were named to the Big South All-Conference teams the conference announced on Monday.

Seniors Shawn Sloan and Fejiro Okiomah and sophomore Mamadee Nyepon were all named first-team All-Big South and while senior Shane Malcolm and junior Adam Sewell were both named to the second team. In addition, Palmer and freshman Austin Yearwood were named to the All-Freshman team and Sloan was named the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a member of the All-Academic Team.

“We are always pleased when we have our guys recognized by the conference,” head coach Dustin Fonder said. “We didn’t finish as high as we would have liked in the standings so it is a credit to their efforts that they were noticed by the other coaches. We have a team-first mentality that stresses wins over individual honors but when our players do receive individual honors we are extremely happy for them.”

Palmer has started every game in goal for High Point during his first collegiate season and finished with a 12-4-2 record. He leads the Big South this season with nine shutouts which also ties the HPU Div. I single-season record. Palmer’s 0.70 goals-against average would be a new HPU Div. I single-season record and is currently second in the Big South. He was named Big South Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 11.

“I am extremely excited for Kody,” Fonder said. “He came in and had to sit behind Michael Chesler last season which I think helped him develop. This season when it was his turn to step in and keep clean sheets he did that. We expect this to be the start of a great career for him here at High Point University.”

Sloan has played in 13 games this season with 12 starts for the Panthers. He is second on the team with 19 points on five goals and a team-high nine assists. Sloan is tied for second in the Big South and ninth in the nation in assists. He is also seventh in points in the Big South despite playing in just 13 games. He set a new career-high earlier in the season with three assists in a win over Northern Kentucky. Sloan carries a perfect 4.0 GPA while majoring in Biochemistry. This is Sloan’s second-straight Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. He has also been named a member of the Capital One Academic All-District III first-team.

“It is a tremendous honor to be named Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year,” Fonder said. “It is probably one of the most important awards you can get in the conference. Everyone knows that Shawn is a tremendous player but to do what he does in the classroom on top of that is an incredible feat.”

Okiomah has started all 18 games at center back for High Point and has anchored a defense that has allowed just 13 goals over the course of the season. The Panthers have recorded nine shutouts which ties the team’s Div. I single-season record. Okiomah also has four points on two goals, scoring against Jacksonville and Campbell. The senior was named Big South Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 2.

Nyepon has appeared in all 18 games for HPU this season with 16 starts. He leads the team in points with 23 on a team-high 10 goals and three assists. Six of his 10 goals this season have been game-winning goals which is tops in the Big South. Nyepon is tied for third in the conference in goals scored and tied for fourth in points. Nyepon was named the Big South Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 18.

Malcolm has started every game this season for the Panthers. He is third on the team with 17 points on six goals and five assists. The senior is among the top 10 in the Big South in points, goals and assists. Malcolm has recorded a goal and an assist in three games this season and has scored the game-winning goal in victories over Adelphi and William & Mary. Malcolm was named the Big South Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 5.

Sewell has started every game for High Point this season playing primarily as a defensive midfielder. He has seven points on three goals and an assist. The junior scored the overtime game-winner in the final minutes of double overtime against Gardner-Webb. Sewell has been part of a defensive unit that has allowed less than goal per game in 2012 and recorded a record-tying nine shutouts.

Yearwood has stepped in and started every game at left back for the Panthers in his first season. He has two assists on the season including the corner kick to Sewell that gave HPU a win over the Runnin’ Bulldogs in double-overtime. Yearwood has been a pivotal part of High Point’s defensive unit which has allowed just 0.71 goals per game, its lowest in any season since joining Div. I.

High Point enters the 2012 Big South tournament as the No. 5 seed after finishing with a 5-3-2 record in conference play. The Panthers will face No. 4 Campbell in the Big South Quarterfinals on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m., in Buies Creek, N.C. HPU is 1-0-0 against Campbell in the Big South tournament after beating the Camels, 3-0, in the Big South Quarterfinals last season.

2012 Big South Conference Men’s Soccer Award Winners

2012 Big South Attacking Player of the Year
Ashton Bennett, Coastal Carolina

2012 Big South Defensive Player of the Year
Kjartan Sigurdsson, Coatsal Carolina

2012 Big South Freshman of the Year
Kody Palmer, High Point

2012 Big South Coach of the Year
Shaun Docking, Coastal Carolina

2012 Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Shawn Sloan, High Point

2012 First Team All-Conference
F – Ashton Bennett, Coastal Carolina
F – Ricky Garbanzo, Coastal Carolina
F – Mamadee Nyepon, High Point
MF – Pedro Ribero, Coastal Carolina
MF – Mitchell Cardenas, Campbell
MF – Shawn Sloan, High Point
MF – Justin Portillo, Coastal Carolina
D – Fejiro Okiomah, High Point
D – Kjartan Sigurdsson, Coastal Carolina
D – Greg White, Liberty
D – Travis Golden, Campbell
GK – Ryan Taylor, Radford
At Large – Bernardo Ulmo, Radford, MF

2012 Second Team All-Conference
F – Jhuvon Francis, Campbell
F – Kyle Breitmeyer, Liberty
F – Alex Isern, Winthrop
MF – Dario Redondo, Radford
MF – Adam Sewell, High Point
MF – Shane Malcolm, High Point
MF – Richard Nyarko, Liberty
D – Uriah Bentick, Liberty
D – Henrik Robstad, Coastal Carolina
D – Jon Ole Reinhardsen, Gardner-Webb
D – Uchenna Uzo, Coastal Carolina
GK – Ethan Hall, Campbell
At Large – Federico Bertele, Coastal Carolina, GK

2012 All-Freshman Team
Jhamie Hyde, Coastal Carolina
Jamie Summers, Radford
Kody Palmer, High Point
Isaiah Page, Campbell
Tim Harbison, Liberty
Austin Yearwood, High Point
Magnus Thorsson, Winthrop
Jannik Eckenrode, Radford
Tevin Skyers, Coastal Carolina
Lyssean Thomas, Gardner-Webb
Matt Manter, Presbyterian College

2012 All-Academic Team
Shawn Sloan, High Point
Ryan Taylor, Presbyterian College
Alex Isern, Winthrop
Matthew “Scooter” Oliver, Campbell
Bobby Castro, UNC Asheville
Newt Turk, Presbyterian College
Henrick Robstad, Coastal Carolina
Chris Davis, Gardner-Webb
Uriah Bentick, Liberty
Devin Pierce, Longwood
Kyle Farmer, VMI