No. 14 HPU MSOC Panthers Sweep Conference Superlatives

HIGH POINT, N.C. – No. 14 High Point University men’s soccer lands a program-record six players on this year’s Big South First-Team All-Conference list, the most any team has recorded since Coastal Carolina received seven designations back in 2011. Forward Ilias Kosmidis, midfielders Tony Pineda and Ryan Inman, defenders Johnny Fenwick and Rashid Tetteh, along with goalkeeper Keegan Meyer each received first-team recognition.

The Panthers also swept the 2018 superlatives, with Kosmidis earning Big South Attacking Player of the Year, Fenwick collecting Big South Defensive Player of the Year, Pineda garnering Big South Co-Freshman of the Year honors and Head Coach EJ O’Keeffe getting recognized as Big South Coach of the Year.

Midfielder Johnathan Bolanos and defender Nick Phipps each took spots on this year’s second team, while striker Siggi Benonysson received honorable mention status. Pineda and Lalas Ayertey were two of the 11 players honored on the Big South’s All-Freshman list, while Daniel Shahim’s Big South All-Academic honor makes it a total of 11 HPU athletes earning recognition in 2018.

Of this year’s 11 Panthers honored, three honed their talents in the local area before coming to High Point. Tony Pineda played for Statesville High and Charlotte Soccer Academy, while Nick Phipps is an NC Fusion and Greensboro Day alum, and Keegan Meyer is both a DeMatha Catholic and Baltimore Celtic alum.

Kosmidis’ 10 goals and 23 points are top marks in the conference, and are tied for 29th and 36th in Division I men’s soccer respectively. His five game-winners are a conference high, scoring a last-second double overtime goal to beat Longwood, along with the lone tally against No. 5/14 Duke earlier this year. Kosmidis is the leader of the 32nd-ranked offense in the country, averaging about 1.50 points per match. The junior is the first Panther to ever earn Big South Attacking player of the year status, since the conference began handing out the award in 2011.

Earning all-conference his freshman through junior years, Fenwick becomes just the third HPU player in history to earn four Big South All-Conference nods. Following teammate Rashid Tetteh from the previous season, the Panthers have secured back-to-back Big South Defensive Player of the Year honors with Fenwick’s recognition. The central defender did not miss a single minute of playing time in 2018, while helping his team to a conference-best 0.96 goals against average. The Panthers have secured six shutouts with Fenwick on the back four over the course of the year, with the senior tallying a game-winner against Gardner-Webb earlier in the season.

Pineda is tied for the third in the conference with seven goals and a total of 19 points. He joins Benonysson on the list of five Panthers to win Big South Freshman of the Year, while simultaneously receiving first-team designations. Four of his seven tallies in 2018 have come in conference-play, collecting an overtime game-winner against UNC Asheville. He has produced 12 points in his last six appearances to close out the year, and is just five away from tying a D1 program freshman record.

O’Keeffe has led the Panthers on to their most successful regular season in history, with the club clinching its second straight Big South regular season championship last weekend against Radford. Under O’Keeffe the Panthers have set a new Division I program record in winning percentage (.844), in addition to going undefeated in Big South play for just the second time in history. HPU’s 13 wins on the year tie the second-most the club has ever collected in a single D1 season, while the team’s win over No. 5/14 Duke earlier this year is the highest ranked program the Panthers have ever defeated.

Earning a second straight No. 1 seed, HPU embarks on its 20th straight trip to the Big South Championship tournament next week, hosting the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between No. 4 Campbell and No. 5 Gardner-Webb next Wednesday at 7 p.m. The No. 14 Panthers will be looking for their first tournament championship along with its first trip to the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship tournament, currently sitting 22nd in the most recent RPI.

Full List of Panther Honorees:

Attacking Player of the Year
Ilias Kosmidis | F/M | Junior | Thessaloniki, Greece

Defensive Player of the Year
Johnny Fenwick | D | Senior | Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Co-Freshman of the Year
Tony Pineda | F/M | Freshman | Statesville, N.C.

Coach of the Year
E.J. O’Keeffe | 4th Year | UNCG ’10

First-Team All-Conference
Ilias Kosmidis | F/M | Junior | Thessaloniki, Greece
Tony Pineda | F/M | Freshman | Statesville, N.C.
Ryan Inman | M | Junior | Birmingham, England
Johnny Fenwick | D | Senior | Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Rashid Tetteh | D | Senior | Accra, Ghana
Keegan Meyer | GK | Junior | Silver Spring, Md.

Second-Team All-Conference
Jonathan Bolanos | M | Junior | Miramar, Fla.
Nick Phipps | D | So. | Greensboro, N.C.

Honorable Mention All-Conference
Siggi Benonysson | F | Jr. | Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland

All-Freshman Team
Tony Pineda | F/M | Freshman | Statesville, N.C.
Lalas Ayertey | M | Freshman | Accra, Ghana

All-Academic Team
Daniel Shahim | M | Sophomore | Houston, Texas