Five Jeffs Earn NSCAA/adidas All-Region Honors; Downs and Holland Named to All-America Teams

Taylor Downs
Senior Taylor Downs earned All-America honors for the first time in his career.

AMHERST, MA – The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) announced its selections for the 2007 NCAA Division III All-Region and All-America teams, with five members of the Amherst College men’s soccer team adding to their season accomplishments. Highlighting the postseason accolades are senior Taylor Downs (Hastings-on-Hudson, NY) and junior Grayson Holland (Sudbury, MA), who each earned All-America honors.

After earning All-NESCAC First Team honors earlier this year, Downs was named to the NSCAA/adidas All-New England First Team and All-America Second Team as a forward. Downs’ senior season was his best with the Jeffs, as he tallied a career-high seven goals to go along with four assists to record the second highest point total on his team and fourth highest in the NESCAC. Downs’ biggest goal came in the NCAA Round of 16, when he netted the game-winner with just 21 seconds remaining in regulation to lift Amherst to a 3-2 win over Western New England College.

Holland improved on his 2006 All-New England Third Team honor by earning First Team recognition this year, and also earned a spot on the All-America Third Team after being named to the All-NESCAC First Team. A dynamic defender for Amherst, Holland tallied the first three goals of his career and recorded seven points while supporting a defensive corps that trailed only Middlebury statistically in goals-against average (0.77) and shutouts (8). Holland’s well-balanced play helped the Jeffs outscore their opponents 43-14 on the year.

Senior tri-captain John Kneeland (Holden, MA) added to his All-NESCAC First Team selection by earning a spot on the All-New England First Team as a midfielder. Kneeland had a stellar senior season for the Jeffs, netting a career-high four goals and five assists to rank fifth among his teammates in scoring. Perhaps Amherst’s most talented and knowledgeable player, he often provided late-game heroics for Amherst, including a game-winning goal against Eastern Connecticut State University that came with just 75 seconds remaining in regulation to improve the Jeffs to 2-0.

Rounding out Amherst’s All-New England First Team selections is junior midfielder Nick Lynch (Kingston, Jamaica), who finished third in the NESCAC with eight assists to go along with his three goals. Lynch’s fancy footwork often left fans awestruck and provided the Jeffs with timely points. In Amherst’s final regular season game, Lynch provided the lone goal after 63 minutes of action to lead the Jeffs to a 1-0 win at archrival Williams College and give his team the top seed in the conference tournament. He followed up with an assist on the game-winning goal against Bowdoin College in the NESCAC Semifinals, while his final point of the season came when he assisted Downs on the game-winner against Western New England.

Finally, junior Jake Duker (Newton, MA) was named to the All-New England Second Team as a forward after being named to the All-NESCAC Second Team. Despite missing part of the season due to injury, Duker led the Jeffs with eight goals and three assists in just 14 games, while his 19 points marked the third highest total in the NESCAC. Four of his goals came in game-winning fashion, including an overtime tally in a season-opening 2-1 win over Trinity College.

Amherst and Middlebury each accounted for four of the 11 players named to the NSCAA/adidas All-New England First Team, as the NESCAC was very well represented in the announcement of postseason awards.

Grayson Holland
Junior Grayson Holland earned All-America honors to go along with his second All-New England nod.

Amherst College 2007 Postseason Honors
Taylor Downs – Sr. – Forward
NSCAA/adidas All-America Second Team
NSCAA/adidas All-New England First Team
NESCAC All-Conference First Team
NESCAC Player of the Week (Sept. 17)

John Kneeland – Sr. – Midfielder
NSCAA/adidas All-New England First Team
NESCAC All-Conference First Team
NESCAC Fall All-Academic Team

Joe Martinez – Sr. – Midfielder/Forward
NESCAC Fall All-Academic Team

Ryan O’Donnell – Sr. – Midfielder
NESCAC Fall All-Academic Team

Jake Duker – Jr. – Forward
NSCAA/adidas All-New England Second Team
NESCAC All-Conference Second Team

Jeff Grover – Jr. – Goalkeeper
NESCAC Fall All-Academic Team

Grayson Holland – Jr. – Defender
NSCAA/adidas All-America Third Team
NSCAA/adidas All-New England First Team
NESCAC All-Conference First Team

Nick Lynch – Jr. – Midfielder
NSCAA/adidas All-New England First Team