Chris Thomas named SoCon men's soccer Player of the Year
Elon sophomore Chris Thomas was named the 2010 Southern Conference Men’s Soccer Player of the Year and six Phoenix players earned all-conference honors.
Seniors Clint Irwin and Brad Franks and junior defender Austen King joined Thomas on the All-SoCon first team, while rookies Nick Butterly and Daniel Lovitz were chosen to the all-freshman team. Elon had the most first-team selections of any team in the conference.
Thomas, who was the league freshman of the year last season, tied for the SoCon lead with 10 goals in 2010. Three of the striker’s goals on the year were game-winners and he had a five-match stretch in September in which he scored a goal in each match. Thomas drilled the game-winner in the early minutes of Elon’s victory over Old Dominion, giving the Phoenix its first-ever win against the Monarchs. He also notched game-tying scores in Elon’s 2-2 draw against Coastal Carolina and 1-1 tie with Jacksonville. The forward was selected as the SoCon Player of the Month in September.
A four-time all-league selection, Irwin is only the 11th player in SoCon history to be named all-conference in each year of his career. While an injury sidelined Irwin for the latter part of the season, the senior keeper posted three more shutout this season to bring his career total to 22. He leaves Elon as the career record holder in shutouts and ranks third in goals allowed average (0.89). In his final season, Irwin allowed only 10 goals in 1249:31 minutes of action. The goalie is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.
Franks had an impressive senior campaign, doubling his career total and tying for the team lead with six assists. His second straight all-conference selection, this is Franks first appearance on the first team. A three-year starter and team co-captain in 2010, Franks’ pass led to Elon’s goal in the final minute of double overtime to give the Phoenix a 1-0 victory at SoCon co-champion UNCG in early October. The midfielder finishes his Elon career with five goals and 12 assists.
King earned a full-time starting role this year, anchoring an Elon defense that racked up four shutouts. The defender also created offense, scoring two goals and adding two assists. He was tied for third on the squad with six points. King headed in a score against ACC power Wake Forest and also tucked in a header against reigning league champion Wofford.
Defender Nick Butterly and midfielder Daniel Lovitz had impressive first years in the maroon and gold. Butterly scored a goal and contributed an assist while helping support a defense that featured several new starters. Lovitz tied for the team lead with six assists from his position out wide. The rookie had two assists, including the helper on the game-winner, in Elon’s first victory of the season against Richmond. A Lovitz pass also led to the game-tying goal in the Phoenix’s draw against Coastal Carolina.
Elon has had six all-conference members in each of the last two years.