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UConn men’s soccer players rack up preseason AAC accolades

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STORRS, Conn. (Via University of Connecticut) – With the 2016 regular season set to being on Aug. 26, four members of the UConn men’s soccer team were tabbed as preseason All-Conference selections, as announced by the American Athletic Conference on Tuesday.

Senior tri-captain Jake Nerwinski (Lawrenceville, Conn.) headlines the group, earning distinction as The American’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year and is joined on the All-Conference preseason team by Kwame Awuah (Toronto, Ont.), Simen Olafsen (Oppegaard, Norway), and Abdou Mbacke Thiam (Dakar, Senegal).

Nerwinski, one of two returning captains, started in all 22 games during his junior campaign in 2015. The Husky defender finished the season second on the team and ninth in the league with five helpers, earning a spot on the American Athletic Conference First Team. He was an important piece of the UConn defense which recorded seven shutouts and a stellar 0.76 goals against average.

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In 2014, The Husky defender finished fifth on the team with seven points on two goals and three assists on his way to an American Athletic Conference All-Second Team nod. He played a crucial role in the Connecticut defense that allowed just three goals in conference play and ranked 19th in the nation in shutout percentage.

Awuah, who served as a co-captain in 2015, established himself as one of the nation’s premier midfielder players after a fantastic junior season that ended with American Athletic Conference Co-Midfielder of the Year honors. An All-Conference First Team member, Awauh led the league with 12 assists and also collected three goals, including a pair of scores in the Huskies’ 3-1 comeback victory over Boston University in the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 29.

Olafsen was placed on the league’s All-Rookie team in 2015, making 21 starts as a centerback and helping the Husky defense record seven shutouts. Thiam burst onto the scene as a freshman a season ago, leading the team with 11 scores on his way to a selection to both The American All-Second and All-Rookie Team. His 11 goals ranked 21st in the nation while his four game-winning scores ranked 23rd among qualified players.

In addition to the four individual Husky honorees, UConn was picked to finish third in the league in a vote of the conference’s coaches. The Huskies finished with a pair of first-place votes, garnering 40 points.

Connecticut opened its two-game exhibition schedule on Sunday night with a 2-0 victory over UMass at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. In the Husky victory, Thiam scored a pair of goals and the Husky defense held the Minutemen without a shot on goal.

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