Area NCAA Division III Soccer Players Named Academic All-Americans

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Five collegiate soccer players from area institutions were named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic NCAA Division III All-America team on Dec. 8.

Westminster College senior Sam Accordino and graduate student Nick Iregui were named to the team for the second straight season.

Grove City College men’s soccer junior Sam Belitz and women’s soccer senior Tirzah Lloyd each received second-team honors.

University of Mount Union senior Rylan Wikle was named to the second team.

To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at his current institution and be nominated by their respective sports information director.

Accordino, a Canfield native, was a first-team honoree – the first time any Westminster boys soccer player earned that distinction. Iregui, who is from Gig Harbor, Wash., was named to the second team. Both players were second-team honorees last season, marking the first time any Westminster player received those awards multiple times.

Accordino is a neuroscience major and named two-time All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference first-team selection for his play on the pitch. The Titans four-year starter has garnered Principals’ Athletic Conference academic honor roll honors four times, been on the school’s dean’s list six times and named to the United Soccer Coaches scholar all-region team.

Iregui, who is pursuing his master’s of business administration, is the program’s first four-time scholar All-American [College Sports Information Directors of America and United Soccer Coaches]. He led the Principals’ Athletic Conference with 37 points, along with finishing as the Westminster leader in points [150], goals [61] and assists [28].

Iregui and Accordino joined defender Chris Ellwanger [2008, second team] as the only College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-Americans in program history. Westminster was only one of six schools to have multiple honorees on this year’s NCAA Division III team.

Grove City’s Belitz was named Presidents’ Athletic Conference Player of the Year with 15 goals and 2.12 points per match. Belitz paced Grove City with six assists and five game-winning goals. His 36 total points ranked second in the league.

Belitz, a three-time, first-team Presidents’ Athletic Conference honoree, was named to the dean’s list and conference academic honor roll. Belitz, an exercise science major, is the fifth Grove City men’s soccer player to earn College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America honors, joining Jeff Hinebaugh [1988], Chuck Witt [2011], Tim Boswell [2012] and Brian Eckenhoff [2012].

Lloyd, a computer science major, led a Grove City defense that posted a 1.10 goals-against average this year, along with three shutouts. Offensively, she finished second on the team with five goals and 12 points. She is a first-team, all-conference honoree, along with garnering United Soccer Coaches all-region honors.

Lloyd is the fourth Grove City women’s soccer player to achieve College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America distinction, joining Meg Tilley [2002-03], Alix Flowers [2007] and Trishae Winters [2017].

Belitz and Lloyd are the 50th and 51st all-time Grove City student-athletes to achieve College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America honors. Grove City has produced at least one of these honorees in each of the last 20 years.

Meanwhile, Mount Union’s Wikle, who had seven goals and five assists, was named to the All-Ohio Athletic Conference men’s soccer team.

Wikle, a biology major, is the 75th Academic All-America selection among 55 student-athletes all-time at Mount Union that have earned the award.

Pictured: Area Academic All-Americans include Westminster’s Sam Accordino and Nick Iregui, Tirzah Lloyd and Sam Belitz from Grove City College, and Mount Union’s Rylan Wikle.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.