The National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) announced the NSCAA/Continental Tire 2011 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer All-America Team on Wednesday and Oglethorpe University senior center back Mark Lavery of Woodstock, Ga. was selected to the First Team. Lavery becomes the first Stormy Petrel in school history to receive a First Team All-America designation in men's soccer following Oglethorpe's most successful season on the pitch in 50 years of competition.
The First Team All-America selection caps a busy postseason of collecting honors for Lavery. He was named the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Defensive Player-of-the-Year and also was tabbed to the All South Atlantic Region First Team by the NSCAA. A two-year starter at center back since transferring to Oglethorpe from the University of Kentucky, Lavery spearheaded an Oglethorpe defense that allowed its fewest goals per game (1.22) since the 2005 squad. In addition to controlling the back line with aplomb, Lavery was also a key offensive weapon for the Petrels, tallying 6 goals and assisting on four others for 16 points on the season. He becomes the first Stormy Petrel to be named SCAC Defensive Player-of-the-Year since the award was instituted in 2003.
The Oglethorpe team set a school record by winning twelve straight games during the 2011 campaign en route to posting a 17-4-0 overall record and winning the team's first SCAC Championship. The 17 wins are a program best and the .810 winning percentage is also tops all-time for a team that celebrated 50 years of soccer being played on the campus in October. The squad's success earned the school's first trip to the NCAA Tournament and gained national attention when the team appeared in the NSCAA rankings for the first time.
"I'm ecstatic for Mark," said Oglethorpe head men's soccer coach Jon Akin. "The First Team All-America distinction is the highest honor a soccer player can earn and Mark is a well-deserving candidate. His commitment to Oglethorpe soccer is one of the key reasons our program reached new heights this season."