Men's Soccer: Agrimson named First-Team All-MAC for second time, Pala and Hagevik gain Second-Team honors



November 19, 2002


CLEVELAND, OH---Northern Illinois University's Peter Agrimson (Stillwater, MN) takes a reserved approach to his role, opting to let his actions speak louder than words. But the Huskie co-captain has plenty of people who can talk about his accomplishments---including Mid-American Conference commissioner Rick Chryst, who named Agrimson to the First-Team All-MAC men's soccer squad for the second consecutive season.

Agrimson is one of only four repeat selections on the league's elite list, and the senior defender was joined by a pair of teammates among those receiving postseason recognition from the league's coaches. Senior midfielder Rasih Pala (Markham, Ontario / Markham District) and sophomore forward Bernhard Hagevik (Oslo, Norway / Wang Academy) gained Second-Team All-MAC status.

Agrimson anchored the Huskie defense, serving as veteran leader for the young backline in front of freshman goalkeeper Steve Goletz (Downers Grove / South). Agrimson's efforts paced NIU to a 1.99 goals-against-average with a pair of shutouts, and the senior also was fourth on the team in scoring with four points, collecting unassisted goals against MAC foes Bowling Green St. University (Oct. 4) and the University of Akron (Oct. 13).

"Coaches realized the caliber of player that Peter is, so he is definitely deserving of this honor," Northern Illinois coach Willy Roy said. "I'm happy for him to get this recognition as a First-Team player for the second year in a row. Peter has done a lot in his four years at Northern Illinois."

The Stillwater, MN, native started all 72 matches played by Northern Illinois during the last four seasons, earning First-Team All-Midwest Region acclaim from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in 1999.

Pala---the Huskies' starting goalkeeper since his freshman campaign in 1999---opened eight of the first nine matches in net this fall before shifting into the midfield to bolster the NIU attack. In that limited time, the Canadian national, the only other Northern Illinois player to start all 18 contests this season, tallied three goals and set up two others. His eight points were second only to Hagevik's 13-point (six goals, one assist) total. Hagevik became the 21st player in Northern Illinois annals to register a hat trick when he hit the net three times at Marshall University on Oct. 25. That marked the 32nd three-goal outing in the program's 40-year history.

"Rasih made the sacrifice in moving from goalkeeper into the midfield. In just a few games, he made a big contribution," Roy said. "I'm glad the coaches realized his twofold talent and recognized him in this manner. It's a good way for Rasih to end his career.

"Bernard started slowly but at the end of the season he scored some nice goals in conference play," the Huskie boss added. "I'm hoping we can get him started a little earlier next year, and this should provide the motivation to move up to First-Team All-MAC."

Regular-season co-champion Akron placed three players on the First-Team All-MAC unit, including Newcomer of the Year Kirk Harwat. The junior forward joined midfielder Alex Odwell and Mike Marich as First-Team honorees, along with Bowling Green St. goalkeeper David DeGraff and University of Kentucky forward Jamal Shteiwi.

Joining Agrimson as repeat First-Teamers were University of Buffalo midfielder Mike Peplinski and Kentucky midfielder Nathan Fleetwood plus Marshall University forward Byron Carmichael, who was named the league's Player of the Year after leading the league in scoring with 15 goals and 32 points this fall. Western Michigan University midfielder Scott Duhl and Bowling Green St. defender Matt Leardini rounded out the top team.

BGSU's Mel Mahler took home Coach of the Year honors after leading the Falcons to a share of the regular-season title and top seed in the MAC tournament. Bowling Green St. opened the season with eight consecutive losses before regrouping for a 4-1-0 league ledger and advancing to the MAC tournament championship game.

Agrimson and Pala completed their eligibility in 2002 but Roy has eight starters returning next fall, hoping to improve upon the Huskies' 4-13-1 overall finish.

-30- --- Copy by Robert Hester




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