The Big Ten Conference announced the Academic All-Big Ten team for the fall season last Wednesday, Dec. 6, and an impressive total of 13 members from the UW mens soccer team were honored.
The total of 13 members honored gave the Badgers the most award-winners in the Big Ten. Northwestern was second, with 11 of it mens soccer players making the team.
To qualify, the candidates must be letterwinners in at least their second year at their institution and carry at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average.
Among the student-athletes named to the team was Badger co-captain Aaron Hohlbein (Middleton, Wis.), who made Academic All-Big Ten list for the first time in his four years at UW. Hohlbein has become quite familiar with winning awards this year, as he was named MVP of the UW-Milwaukee Panther Classic tournament, was named to the Great Lakes first team, and was recently selected to the All-America third team.
UWs other co-captain, Hamid Afsari (Whitefish Bay, Wis.), was selected as well. The senior, who was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team for the second straight year, comes off a solid 2006 season that saw him honored by College Soccer News to the National Team of the Week for the week ending at October 1st.
Senior goalkeeper Jake Settle (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) also received his second straight Academic All-Big Ten award. Settle had a fine 2006 campaign, as he recorded a remarkable eight shutouts, placing him fifth all-time at Wisconsin for shutouts in a single season.
UWs offensive firepower proved that they can score a high GPA in the classroom along with all the goals they score on the field, as forwards Victor Diaz (Madrid, Spain), Reid Johnson (Mequon, Wis.) and Eric Conklin (Rockford, Ill.) were named members of the Academic All-Big Ten team. Diaz led this years Badger squad with four goals, while Johnson and Conklin were right behind with three. For both Diaz and Johnson, it is their second year in a row winning the award.
Defenders Andrew Cardona (Waukesha, Wis.) and Andy Miller (Barrington, Ill.) and mid-fielders Eric Ortega (Western Springs, Ill.) and Nick Caronna (Brookfield, Wis.) were also honored as Academic All-Big Ten. All four student-athletes logged in significant minutes on the field this year, and were key contributors to UWs solid season that saw the team finish tied for second in the final Big Ten standings. For Cardona, Ortega and Caronna, it is their second straight season making the list.
Rounding off Wisconsins honorees was Frank Iaizzo (North York, Ontario), Christopher Ede (Wauwatosa, Wis.) and Josh White (Okemos, Mich.). Iaizzo and Ede both were awarded last year as well. Ede will add this honor to several other awards he has received throughout his years as a Badger, which include being selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District V team in 2005, and being named the mens soccer teams Athletic Board Scholar in 2004.
Overall, the University of Wisconsin had 60 student-athletes representing six sports named Academic All-Big Ten for the fall season.