Clarksville, Ark.-Junior goalkeeper Brian Sarber headlines a group of seven University of the Ozarks men's soccer players who were honored by the American Southwest Conference office on Monday after a vote of the league's 14 head coaches.
Sarber was voted ASC Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-ASC First Team. Sophomore midfielder Brandon Cain and junior defender Dan De Hart also earned a spot on the All-ASC First Team. Sophomore midfielder Brandon VanCleave, senior midfielder Nate Abbott, senior forward Darren Clark and sophomore defender Jason Owens were named to the All-ASC Second Team.
Sarber earned the award after leading the league in shutouts (7), save percentage (.869) and goals against average (0.67) The 6-foot-5, 230-pound native of Allen, Texas, started in all 22 matches and collected 93 saves. The three-year starter now owns the conference career record in lowest goals against average (0.81). He is also the single-season school record holder in lowest goals against average (0.67). For most of the season he was ranked among the top-30 leaders in NCAA III for lowest goals against average and saves percentage. He currently ranks 14th in saves percentage. Six of his seven shutouts were in conference matches. He had a season-high 12 saves in a 3-0 win over Piedmont College to open the year.
Sarber was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team last week, and was a NSCAA All-Region First Team and ASC All-ASC First Team selection a year ago. He earned ASC Defensive Player of the Week once this season.
He joins Aaron Coats as the only other Ozarks player to ever be named ASC Defensive Player of the Year. Coats earned the nod in 2001.
Cain, a 6-foot-0, 170-pound native of San Angelo, Texas, led the ASC in shots (82) and finished tied for third in assists (7). Cain ranked third on the team in points (19) and goals (6). He tied for second in game-winning goals (3) and was second in assists. All six goals were in six different matches, including the game-winner in overtime against Hendrix College. He created seven shots in two different matches, and had six shots four different times during the year. He totaled three points in four different matches. Cain was All-ASC Third Team in 2006.
De Hart, a 6-foot-1, 160-pound native of Rocklin, Calif., was a defensive standout, starting in 21 matches and helping the Eagles to a team 0.71 goals against average. De Hart scored one goal and collected two assists this season. His goal came on a header in a 2-1 win over Mississippi College in the ASC Tournament. He was named to the D3Kicks.com Team of the Week and earned ASC Defensive Player of the Week earlier this season. A starter in 61 career games for Ozarks, he earned All-ASC Honorable Mention in 2005.
VanCleave, a 5-foot-6, 125-pound native of Collierville, Tenn., tied for seventh in the ASC in shots (55) and was sixth in points (22). He tied for sixth in assists (6). He was second on the team in goals (6) and points. He was third in shots, and tied for second in game-winning goals (3). Two of his game-winning goals came against conference foes in overtime matches. A starter in all 22 matches, he had a season-high nine shots against LeTourneau and recorded four points against Harding University. He tallied six shots twice during the season. He was named to the 2007 ASC All-Tournament Team. He was All-ASC Honorable Mention last season.
Abbott, a 5-foot-8, 155-pound native of Pryor, Okla., started in all 22 matches, and scored two goals and had three assists. Both of his goals were game-winners, including a clutch free kick score against UT-Tyler in September. He totaled 25 shots during the season, and his seven points ranked him seventh on the team. Abbott earned ASC Defensive Player of the Week honors earlier this season, marking the second time he has earned the weekly award in his career. He was an All-ASC Third Team selection in 2006.
Clark, a 5-foot-8, 160-pound native of Broken Arrow, Okla., was third in the ASC in points (32), fourth in goals (13), fifth in shots (62), and tied for sixth in assists (6). He was the team-leader in points, goals and game-winning goals (4). He finished second on the team in shots and third in assists. A starter in all 22 matches, Clark had three matches with two goals. He had a season-high three assists and five points against Central Bible College. 11 of his 13 goals were against conference opponents. During the season, he had three or more shots on 12 different occasions. Clark completed a season in which he now ranks seventh at Ozarks in career points (50), goals (17) and assists (16). He is eighth in career shots (124) and fifth in games played (79). He was named to the 2007 ASC All-Tournament Team. He was named All-ASC Third Team in 2005.
Owens, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound native of Tulsa, Okla., was a defensive stopper for the Eagles, starting in 21 matches, while helping the Eagles to a team 0.71 goals against average. Owens was named to the D3Kicks.com Team of the Week and ASC Defensive Player of the Week early in the season. In week one, Owens held Piedmont’s Drew Griffin, the current NCAA III goals and points per game leader, to just one shot on goal. He was named to the 2007 ASC All-Tournament Team.
The Eagles (17-5-0, 11-2-0) were the 2007 ASC regular season champions and had a league-high 17 wins. For the eighth consecutive year, Ozarks made the playoffs.