Aoyama, Noon Earn NSCAA First Team All-America
Contact: Matthew Hart
AMHERST, Mass. – While the Amherst College men’s soccer team saw its historic season cut short in the national quarterfinals, the Lord Jeffs stood out among the nation’s top programs this week as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) named defender Julien Aoyama ’14 and forward Spencer Noon ’13 to the 2012 NSCAA/Continental Tire NCAA Division III Men’s All-America First Team.
In addition to the national honors, three more Jeffs earned All-Region recognition, with Chris Lerner '13 joining Aoyama and Noon on the All-New England South first team and Jae Heo '14 and James Mooney '13E earning second team selections.
Joining Trinity University (Texas) and Montclair State University as the only programs to place two players on the 11-person first team, Amherst was the lone NESCAC school represented on the top squad, with Wesleyan’s Rory O’Neill ’13 and Williams’ Peter Christman ’13 earning third team recognition.
After earning second-team All-NESCAC honors, Aoyama rose to first-team status on the national stage, with Division III’s coaches recognizing the junior right back as the anchor of an Amherst defense that was nearly impenetrable in 2012.
The Jeffs never trailed during a match this fall en route to an undefeated 17-0-3 record. Surrendering just three goals over 20 games, Amherst posted the second-lowest team goals-against-average (0.15) in Division III history while also leading the nation in shutout percentage (0.85). Led by Aoyama, the back line recorded 17 clean sheets over the fall, routinely stopping opponents' attacks before they could show promise as it permitted an average of just 2.05 shots on goal per game.
A dominant stopper on the outside, Aoyama also proved himself as one of the nation’s most offensively capable backs, tying for fourth on the team and leading all NESCAC defenders with 12 points on four goals and four assists.
A first-team All-Region pick by the NSCAA last season, Noon’s first-team All-America award rises to the top of a long list of career accolades. The explosive striker led the conference in scoring for the third consecutive season in 2012 with 34 points on a league-best 14 goals and six assists, following up a junior year which saw him earn NESCAC Player of the Year, ECAC New England Offensive Player of the Year and D3soccer.com third-team All-America recognition.
Finishing his storied career as the program’s all-time points (117) and goals (49) leader, Noon tallied points in 14 of 20 games in 2012, including three goals and an assist in Amherst’s three NCAA Tournament games. Netting his first career hat trick in the season opener against Colby-Sawyer, the forward became the first person in program history to surpass the 100-point plateau with a two-score effort against Trinity on Oct. 9, one of nine career multi-goal games.
A two-time All-NESCAC first teamer and a second-team pick in 2010, Noon was also recognized for his achievements in the classroom this fall with a spot on the Capital One Academic All-America second team. Also excelling off the field, Aoyama joined Noon on the Academic All-District first team.
Aoyama and Noon are the first Amherst players to earn NSCAA All-America recognition since Matt Lewis’ second-team selection in 2009. The pair became the first Jeffs to earn first-team honors since Matt Diggs in 1998 and the 11th and 12th first-team picks in program history, dating back to 1941. A testament to the unparalleled success of the 2012 team which set school records for wins and goals, Aoyama and Noon’s selections mark the first time that two Amherst players earned first-team honors in the same season.
Lerner, meanwhile, headlines Amherst's All-Region selections, joining Aoyama and Noon on the All-New England South first team. Also a first-team All-NESCAC pick, Lerner teamed up with Aoyama to form one of the most talented outside back duos in the nation. In addition to his defensive prowess, Lerner served as the catalyst to many of the Jeffs’ set pieces, notching three assists, and figuring crucially into both of the Jeffs’ goals in a 2-0 victory over archrival and previously unbeaten Williams in the NESCAC Championship game.
In addition to his second-team All-Region recognition, Heo earned second-team All-NESCAC status after ranking second in the conference behind Noon in points (22) while tying for fourth in goals (7). Mooney was also a key cog in the Amherst attack, tallying five goals including the Jeffs' second tally in the NESCAC final win over WIlliams.