Five Others Receive Awards At Team Banquet
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Chris Dennen, one of only two players to start all 17 games this fall, has been elected captain of the 2011-12 Yale men's soccer team. The announcement was made on Wednesday night at the team banquet.
"It means a lot to me to be elected by my teammates to be the next captain," Dennen said. "It is a big responsibility, and I am honored that the team has faith in me to lead. I hope to bring a spirit of competition and energy to the team. I am excited about this opportunity, and I am ready to get to work."
Dennen was one of the anchors to a Yale defense that posted four shutouts and allowed one goal or less nine times. In addition, he assisted on the game-winning goal against Cornell.
"Chris possesses all the qualities to be a terrific captain," said Yale head coach Brian Tompkins. "He plays with a warrior's spirit and tireless drive and determination. His exemplary commitment and passion will make him an inspirational and effective leader both on and off the soccer field."
Dennen, a Bronxville, N.Y., native, will be one of six seniors on the roster next year.
"I am very lucky to have such a great class supporting me," Dennen said. "Each senior will have his own role in leading the team."
Dennen inherits the captaincy from Andy Shorten.
"I have big shoes to fill," Dennen said. "The past three captains - Andy, Jordan Raybould and Alex Guzinski – have provided great examples of what it means to be a leader. I have learned from them to lead by example and to always work hard."
Five team awards also were presented at the banquet. Shorten was the recipient of the Walter Leemann Trophy, awarded to that senior member of the varsity team who, by sportsmanship and team play, upholds the ideals of former Yale coach Walter Leemann. Shorten, who led the team in scoring, appeared in 59 games in his career.
The Walter J. McNerney Award as the team's most valuable player was presented to freshman Nick Alers. Alers made an immediate impact for the Bulldogs, starting 16 games and serving as a mainstay on Yale's back line.
Senior Sebastian Serra received the Jack Marshall Award, which is given by the Yale Soccer Association to the member of the team who demonstrated the qualities of team spirit, loyalty to his fellow players and dedication to the game. Serra started a career-high six games this fall and scored his first career goal.
The Frank J. Dunne Award as the team's most improved player was presented to sophomore goalkeeper Bobby Thalman, who started 16 games, played nearly 1,500 minutes and had a .730 save percentage. In his rookie year, Thalman made only one appearance, 45 minutes against Sacred Heart.
Sophomore Tony Wilbar was the recipient of the Bob "Doc" Holliday Award, which is presented to the squad member who regardless of playing opportunity or personal recognition has consistently demonstrated a selfless commitment, a positive attitude and has contributed to team spirit in ways that have improved the well-being of the Yale soccer program. Wilbar was limited to one game this fall.
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity