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Mark Roth voted MIAC Player-of-the-Year; Pearson, da Cunha and Carlson also honored

November 9, 2018 at 10:05 am
(L to R) Marco da Cunha, Mark Roth, Adam Pearson, and Bob Carlson
(L to R) Marco da Cunha, Mark Roth, Adam Pearson, and Bob Carlson


BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Carleton College senior defender Mark Roth (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township) was voted the 2018 Player of the Year for the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) men’s soccer season, headlining a group of three Carleton College players who were named to the All-MIAC team. Roth, fellow defenseman Adam Pearson (Sr./Rockford, Ill./Rockford Lutheran), and forward Marco da Cunha (Fy./San Francisco, Calif./San Francisco University) each received all-conference recognition, while Knights’ head coach Bob Carlson took home the Coach-of-the-Year award.

For Roth, this is his third consecutive season with a spot on an All-MIAC team. This marks the fourth time that a Knight won the conference’s Player-of-the-Year award as Roth joins Paul Pedtke (2008), Robert Carleton (2009) and Branden McGarrity (2015) on that list.

As a member of Carleton’s backline, Roth was a key player for one of the stingiest defenses in the country. The Knights led the MIAC with a mere 0.453 goals against average and 11 shutouts on the year. Besides simply leading the conference, these figures also rank sixth and 15th in the nation respectively.

In addition to his stellar defensive play, Roth is a true two-way star, as seen in his offensive contributions this season. Despite playing defense, Roth still finished second in the MIAC with eight assists on the season, and he added his first four career goals. That latter figure included game-winning goals in a trio of conference matches, tied with da Cunha for tops among MIAC players this season.

While Roth dominated from his outside-back position, Pearson served as a stabilizing force at center back for Carleton’s defense, shutting down countless opposing strikers. During the Knights’ current 15-game unbeaten streak, Pearson has played a large role in holding opponents to a only six goals. Over the course of the season, the Knights back-line has permitted only one team to score multiple goals against them.

Pearson also served as a dangerous weapon for Carleton on the offensive end of the pitch, scoring two goals and notching one assist. The assist could not have come at a bigger time, as it came off a perfectly placed free-kick in the MIAC playoff semifinals against Macalester College, and resulted in the lone goal of the game.

While seniors Roth and Pearson were known quantities for the Knights’ defense, it is fair to say that Carlson was pleasantly surprised by the contributions da Cunha made at the offensive end as a rookie. His 11 goals were tops among MIAC players on the year, a figure that ranks seventh among players in the North Region. Da Cunha also paced the MIAC with seven goals during conference games, becoming only the fourth rookie since 1986—and first since 2002—to do so. In addition to matching Roth with three game-winners in MIAC matches, da Cunha has tallied five game-winning goals overall, again most among conference players in 2018. His 15 points in conference contests also tied for the top spot among MIAC players.

Carlson took home MIAC Coach-of-the-Year honors for the fourth time, having previously been honored by his peers in 2007, 2008, and 2012. He has guided his team to a 15-1-3 overall record so far this season, a campaign that included a trip to the MIAC Playoffs for the 12th consecutive year, extending the Knights’ conference record. Upon reaching the postseason, Carlson’s squad won the MIAC Playoffs championship for the third time and advanced to the NCAA Championships for the fourth time in team history.

The Knights once again won the MIAC Men's Soccer Sportsmanship Award. Carleton earned the recognition for the fifth consecutive year. This honor is presented to the team with the fewest card accumulations during the regular season. The Knights received only nine yellow cards over that span, while most other programs accumulated two to three times that amount this season.

As part of the conference’s continuing sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC announced the 13th-annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship team for men's soccer. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition. Senior midfielder William Lanzillo (Sr./Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West) was selected as Carleton’s representative.