MONTREAT, N.C. -- Montreat College men's soccer Head Coach David Knapp announced on Tuesday the signing of NJCAA All-American goalkeeper, Oscar Hernandez (Los Angeles, Calif.), for the 2014 season.
"We are building a great class that will keep our strong momentum from last season going," said Head Coach David Knapp. "The addition Oscar Hernandez, a proven collegiate goalkeeper is an important part of this class as we lose Lucas Carvalho (SR, Joao Pessoa, Brazil) to graduation."
Knapp and his staff have been working hard to fill the void that will be left by the early graduation of the two-time First Team All-Appalachian Athletic Conference honoree, Lucas Carvalho. The 6-foot-0 keeper was named the Appalachian Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 13-20 as he recorded a career-best six shutouts in his final season. Under the tutelage of Goalkeeper Coach Michael Bruce, Carvalho finished the season ranked No. 32 in Goals Against per Game (1.02) and No. 50 in Saves per Game (4.94) in the NAIA as the Cavaliers finished second in the AAC for the first time since 2006 … when goalkeeper Howard Fisher earned Freshman of the Year honors and Sherman Gardner won the conference Golden Boot award.
Oscar Hernandez a native of Los Angeles, Calif., will be looked at to challenge for the No. 1 spot left by Carvalho. A 5-foot-11 keeper, Hernandez led Arizona Western College to the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Championship and the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Region I Finals in 2012. That season he was the nation's leader in Games Played (21), Games Started (21), Minutes Played (1,781) and Wins (18), while ranking No. 2 in Goals Against Average (0.86) and No. 3 in Saves (62) and Save Pct. (.785). Hernandez held opponents scoreless 11 times that season including a string of five straight matches between Sept. 1 and Sept 13.
The Cavaliers nabbed the NJCAA Division I All-American after he spent a redshirt season at Wayland Baptist University (Texas). Hernandez redshirted following an injury that prevented the 5-foot-11 keeper from playing for the Pioneers who climbed to as high as No. 9 in the 2013 NAIA Men's Soccer Coaches' Top 25 Poll.
"I am looking forward to joining the Cavaliers," said Hernandez. "Ultimately I chose Montreat College to experience a different environment and a fresh start following my injury last season."
Montreat itself got a new start in 2013 under first-year head coach David Knapp. Knapp took the reins following a dismal 2012 season when the Cavaliers finished eight out of nine teams. In Knapp's first season the Cavaliers finished second in the 10 team circuit and never lost by more than a single goal.
Hernandez a graduate of John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, Calif., began his collegiate career in Yuma, Ariz., in 2011 at Arizona Western under Head Coach Kenny Dale. In his first season with the Matadors, Hernandez was twice named the NJCAA Division I National Goal Keeper of the Week for the weeks of Sept. 19-25 and Oct. 3-9 and ended the season as a Second Team All-American, First Team-All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference and First Team All-Region I NJCAA. That season Hernandez appeared in and started 18 matches with eight shutouts and a 0.71 goals against average as he earned a 16-3-2 record.
In all the Los Angeles, Calif., native appeared in and started 39 matches for Head Coach Kenny Dale at Arizona Western College as he accumulated a 34-6-2 record with 19 career clean sheets in 3,303 minutes in goal.
"Not only is Oscar one of the top goalkeepers we have seen on the recruiting trail this year, he matches his soccer ability with stellar academics performance," said Head Coach David Knapp. "In the goal he has very good technique and he is very athletic. With his experience and skill set, Oscar will have the opportunity to contribute and lead right away. He has the ability to be another great keeper in a long list of great keepers in Montreat history."
5-11 | 160 | Jr. | G
Los Angeles, Calif. | Wayland Baptist University | Arizona Western College
Career: Second Team All-American, two-time All-Region I NJCAA Division I and All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference honoree … appeared in and started 39 matches for Head Coach Kenny Dale at Arizona Western College … led AWC to the 2012 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Championship and the NJCAA Division I Region I Finals … played 3,303 minutes in goal with a 34-6-2 record … recorded 19 career shutouts with a 0.78 career goals against average
2013: Redshirt season at Wayland Baptist University.
2012: Named Second Team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference and Second Team All-Region I NJCAA Division I … led Arizona Western College to the ACCAC Championship and NJCAA Division I Region I Finals … ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA in Games Played (21), Games Started (21), Minutes Played (1,781) and Wins (18), ranked No. 2 in Goals Against Average (0.86) and No. 3 in Saves (62) and Save Pct. (.785) … played in and started 21 matches for the Matadors … played 1,781 minutes in goal … recorded an 18-3-0 record … made 62 saves on 79 shots (.785 percent) … allowed just 0.86 goals against per game … held opponents scoreless 11 times including a string of five straight between Sept. 1 and Sept 13.
2011: Named Second Team All-American, First Team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference, ACCAC Goalkeeper of the Year, and First Team All-Region I NJCAA Division I … twice selected as the NJCAA Division I National goalkeeper of the week for the weeks of Sept. 19-25 and Oct. 3-9 … appeared in and started 18 matches for Arizona Western College … played 1,522 minutes in goal for the Matadors … recorded a 16-3-2 mark … made 87 saves on 99 shots (.878 percent) … allowed a career-low 0.71 goals against average … recorded 8 clean sheets … made first career appearance and start, Aug. 25, in a 1-0 overtime shutout victory over Scottsdale CC.
Club Team/Academy: Six-year member of V.U.S.C. Blast … two-year member of L.A. Rampage … two-year member of Real SOCAL … four-year member of Real SOCAL Academy.
High School: Played his prep soccer at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, Calif., where he led JMHS to its first Northern League Championship in school history as a senior (2010).
Personal: Born Oscar Rene Hernandez Jr. … son of Oscar Rene Hernandez Rivera and Luz Yamileth Hernandez.
Knapp on Hernandez: "Not only is Oscar one of the top goalkeepers we have seen on the recruiting trail this year, he matches his soccer ability with his stellar academics. In the goal he has very good technique to go along with great athleticism. With his experience and skill set, Oscar will have the opportunity to contribute and lead right away, and be another great keeper in a long list of great keepers in Montreat history."
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TREAT NOTES …
KICKOFF: The Cavaliers will open the 2014 season when they travel to Wilmore, Ky., to face the Eagles of Asbury University at 7 p.m. Montreat returns home for the first of three straight matches at Howard Fisher Memorial Field on Sept. 6 when they host the Patriots of the University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) at 3 p.m.
RANKED DEFENSE: Montreat ranked No. 33 in the NAIA in total shutouts (6) and allowed just 1.06 goals against average in 2013.
THE START … 1968: The long and illustrious 44-year history of men's soccer began as Montreat-Anderson College, when MC was a two-year institution thanks to then student David Walters. Walters was instrumental in starting men's soccer as a club team, he worked with the college's administration in hiring a coach, Arthur N. "Red" Alderman, ordered uniforms, and scheduled matches. His sec-ond, and final year at Montreat (1968) saw the first sanctioned intercollegiate soccer match for the Cavaliers. Walters now the Director of Development at Montreat College played as a striker on the inaugural squad and in 1999 Walters became the first and only men's soccer player ever honored as an inaugural member of the Cavalier Hall of Fame for his contribution to the college and the men's soccer program. At the spring athletic banquet Head Coach David Knapp began a new tradition of honoring a current member of the men's soccer team with the newly established, David Walters Outstanding Contribution Award given to the best example on our team who exemplifies our three areas, student, athlete, and citizen. Stefan Cazzonelli (JR, Weil am Rhein, Germany), a sophomore defender was awarded the inaugural honor for his outstanding contribution to the program.
HOME FIELD: Montreat College Men's Soccer plays its home matches at the friendly confines of Howard Fisher Memorial Field, named officially, Oct. 10, 2011 after the giant 6-foot-7 Kingston, Jamaica, native who worked between the pipes for the Cavs ('06-09) but was taken abruptly due to a rare blood disease that cut short the favorite Cavalier's life shortly after his senior season. Fisher a four-time all-conference selection led the Cavaliers to their first "modern day" NAIA National Coaches Pool ranking of No. 24 ('07) and to a program-high No. 11 in the nation in his final season ('09) … the Cavaliers have built a 45-20-7 (.673 percent) overall record at home since 2005.
HOME OF PROFESSIONALS … NOW AND (BACK) THEN: Montreat College Men's Soccer has developed four professionals since 2000. John Comfort signed with the Wilmington Hammerheads of the USL in 2000. Shaka Bangura followed in 2010 when he made his professional debut for the Puerto Rico Islanders against Minnesota Stars April 10, 2010. Shaka has made 61 career professional appearances playing for Richmond Kickers (USL), Angennisi FC Deryneia of the Cypriot First Division and Samut Songkhram of the Toyota Thai Premier League where he currently plays. Brothers Abdul and Adnan Bangura joined the professional ranks when they both played in Sweden in Divison 2 Norrland at Härnösands FF in 2013. On Feb. 28, 2014 the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL announced the signing of 6-foot-1 center back, Abdul Bangura.
CONFERENCE BESTS: The 2013 Appalachian Athletic Conference Runner Up have featured five (5) Conference Freshman of the Year (Shermon Gardner '03, Shaka Bangura '05, Howard Fisher '06, Troy Watson '07, Sami Bin '08), three (3) Conference Players of the Year (Scott Kilgore '98, Shaka Bangura '07, Shaka Bangura '08), and three (3) Conference Golden Boot winners (Scott Kilgore '98, Sherman Gardner '06, Shaka Bangura '09).
HISTORIC WIN: On September 13, 2008 the Cavaliers traveled to play then No. 1 ranked (NAIA Men's Soccer Coaches' Top-25 Poll), Lindsey Wilson in Columbia, Ky. After playing regulation to a scoreless stalemate behind six Howard Fisher saves, it was a ball from Jonathan Viana to the Cavaliers reigning Appalachian Athletic Conference Player of the Year Shaka Bangura that truly shocked the top-ranked Raiders, 1-0, in the 100th minute. The win improved Montreat to 4-1-0 as they went onto post a 12-5-2 mark, including a 4-2-1 record in conference play and moved up the NAIA National Coaches' Top-25 Poll to as high as No. 11 in the nation. Montreat has played 14 top-25 opponents since 2000 including two in 2013 and holds a 5-9-0 mark all-time, including a 1-2-0 mark in 2013.
OVERTIME: Since 1998 the Cavaliers have played past regulation 30 times. During these intense and exciting matches Montreat holds an 11-7-12 (.566) mark in matches over 90 minutes. During their historic run to the 2011 AAC Tournament Championship title and NAIA National Tournament appearance, the Cavaliers won four overtime matches including back-to-back wins, Oct. 18 against Asbury (N.C.), 3-2 OT, and Oct. 22 at Bluefield (Va.), 4-3, 2OT.