Creighton men’s soccer players Ethan Finlay and Tyler Polak have been named to the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy Watch List for the 2011 season. Finlay, who was one of 15 national semifinalists for the award last year, is on the preseason list for the second consecutive year, as Creighton is one of six school’s nationally with more than one player represented on the list. The MAC Hermann Trophy is the highest individual award in intercollegiate soccer.
Finlay, the 2010 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, was named an NSCAA Second-Team All-American last year after leading the MVC with 15 goals and 34 points. The senior from Marshfield, Wis., ranked sixth in the NCAA in goals per game and seventh in points scored last year, notching the highest-scoring season by a Bluejay in a decade. The forward has led the MVC in game-winning goals in each of his three seasons and his 29 career goals entering his final campaign are tied for sixth in school history.
Polak was the 2010 MVC Freshman of the Year, starting every match of his rookie year at left back. The sophomore from Lincoln, Neb., played more minutes than any Bluejay field player last year, and was dominant in his freshman season. His outstanding defense was complimented by an assist and two goals late in the season, including the game-winner against New Mexico in the NCAA Tournament.
Finlay and Polak continue a Creighton tradition of players nominated for college soccer’s top honor. A trio of Jays were named to the preseason list in 2009 – Byron Dacy, Chris Schuler and Seth Sinovic – after Andrei Gotsmanov was a semifinalist for the award in 2008. In fact, this is the 10th time in 11 years that the Bluejays have had at least one player on the watch list to start the season.
Bluejay greats Keith DeFini, Brian Kamler, Richard Mulrooney and Ross Paule have all been finalists for the award. Creighton and MVC Hall of Famer and current assistant coach Johnny Torres was honored as the 1997 National Player of the Year.
The highest individual honor in college soccer, the recipients are selected by NCAA Division I coaches who are members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). Voting for the MAC Hermann Trophy is conducted in late November, when a field of 15 semifinalists is reduced to three finalists. Those three will be invited to the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis on Jan. 6, 2012, where a news conference will be held to announce the winner, followed by a banquet to honor the three finalists.