EDWARDSVILLE — Southern Illinois University Edwardsville men's soccer players Matt Polster and Christian Volesky are among the 34 candidates on the 2013 preseason watch list for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, the highest individual award in intercollegiate men's soccer.
"As a program we're very pleased for both Matt and Christian, as I think they're deserving of this preseason recognition," coach Kevin Kalish said. "Both of these young men are examples of the type of student-athlete we strive to produce at SIUE - strong people, students, and players."
The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) released the list Tuesday afternoon. The Hermann Trophy is the annual award given to the top player in NCAA Division I men's soccer and has been awarded each year since 1967.
SIUE is one of just six programs nationally with multiple players on the list. Charlotte, Connecticut, Memphis, Saint Louis, and Tulsa are the others.
Polster, a junior midfielder from Las Vegas, has been a mainstay in the Cougars' starting lineup during his career at SIUE. Last season, he was named to the NSCAA All-Region First Team along with being honored as a First Team All-Missouri Valley Conference performer. He started 19 of the Cougars' 20 games as a center back, anchoring an SIUE defense that posted seven shutouts.
As a freshman, Polster was named MVC Freshman of the Year and also was SIUE's Newcomer of the Year. Operating as a center midfielder in his first year with the Cougars, he scored three goals to go with a team-high six assists.
Volesky turned heads last season after transferring to SIUE from the University of Denver. A junior forward from Henderson, Nev., Volesky was honored as a First Team NSCAA All-Region and a First Team All-MVC performer. He also was selected as a Third Team All-American by College Sports Madness.
Playing up front for the Cougars, Volesky quickly established himself as one of the MVC's most dangerous finishers. As a sophomore, he was the MVC's regular season leading goal scorer with nine goals and was third in the MVC with 18 points. He struck for the game-winning goal against Missouri State and Central Arkansas and produced multi-goal games against Missouri State and Green Bay.
"As we move closer to the regular season, there's no doubt Matt and Christian will play integral roles for us," Kalish added. "These are guys who are hungry to improve each day, and help our group reach its goals this year."
Near the end of the 2013 regular season, 15 players from the watch list will be announced as semifinalists for the Hermann Trophy. That list is then voted on by NCAA Division I men's soccer coaches whose teams are current NSCAA members.
In early December, the top three vote-getters are announced as finalists for the award. These three individuals are invited to an annual banquet held at the Missouri Athletic Club of St. Louis.
Polster and Volesky helped the Cougars to a 2-0 exhibition victory over Milwaukee last Friday in the team's first competitive match of 2013. SIUE will return to action this Friday when it welcomes IUPUI to Korte Stadium for at 7 p.m.