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Soccer's Simms Named Rookie of the Year
University of Hartford freshman striker Javoni Simms highlights a list of five Hawks men's soccer student-athletes who were named to America East All-Conference teams as announced by the league office on Thursday, Nov. 1. Simms took home one of the conference's six major postseason awards as he was tabbed the America East Rookie of the Year.
Simms is the first Rookie of the Year for Hartford since Alon Lubezky received the distinction in 2001. A unanimous selection for the league's top rookie, he was also named to the conference's First Team as well as the All-Rookie Team. Also highlighting the All-America East honorees from Hartford were junior Anthony Santaga and senior James Stamopoulos, who were both named to league's Second Team.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Simms made an instant impact on the pitch for the Hawks during his debut season, leading the team in goals (9) and points (19) while ranking among the America East's top five in both statistical categories. In addition, he proved to be one of the nation's top rookies, as his nine goals were the fourth-most scored by a freshman in the NCAA's highest rank. Twice named the America East Rookie of the Week on Sept. 10 and Sept. 17, Simms scored in five straight games at one point this season and converted on four of the Hawks' seven game-winning goals in 2012.
Santaga, a forward, finished his second season with the Hawks with 17 points, second most on the team, on seven goals and three assists. Three of those goals went as game-winners against Central Connecticut, Massachusetts and Binghamton. A native of Green Bay, Wis., Santaga has started and played in every game since arriving at Hartford by way of UW-Green Bay in 2011, totaling 34 points with 13 goals and eight assists during that span.
In his final campaign at Hartford, Stamopoulos, a midfielder, tied for a team-best three assists, two of which set up the game-winning goals against both Massachusetts and Binghamton. This season, Stamopoulos has seen time in 14 games, making starts in all but one. The postseason honor is the second for the Mississauga, Ontario, native as he was an All-Rookie Team selection following his freshman year in 2009.
Hartford newcomer Viltsu Tuumi also earned postseason honors by joining Simms on the America East All-Rookie Team. A goalkeeper who was a two-time America East Rookie of the Week selection, he finished his first season at Hartford with 74 saves, second most in the conference. Furthermore, his 74 saves were the most posted by a Hawks keeper since Matt Glaeser, who tallied 81 saves and earned America East Goalkeeper of the Year honors in 2007. More than half (40) of Tuumi's saves came during Hartford's seven-game conference slate, including a trio of nine-save performances against Boston University, Vermont and Binghamton.
In addition to their on-the-field accolades, Santaga and Stamopoulos round out the individual accolades by joining veteran midfielder Kevin Lewis on the America East All-Academic Team. Stamopoulos, who has earned the academic honor each of the three years he has been eligible for the award, becomes the first three-peat member of the list in Hartford history while Santaga and Lewis receive the recognition for the first time in their careers.
A three-time America East Academic Honor Roll member, Stamopoulos owns a 3.53 grade point average and will graduate in May from the Barney School of Business with a degree in marketing. Lewis (3.47 GPA), a four-year member of the Hawks' midfield, will graduate in 2013 with a psychology degree while Santaga holds a 3.67 GPA and is an economics and finance major.