Evans, Ga. – In the midst of a stellar 2017 season, the Lander men's soccer team nabbed two conference awards and placed six players on all-conference teams at the Peach Belt Conference men's soccer banquet on Thursday night. Freshman midfielder Thibault Chretien was honored as the league's co-Freshman of the Year, while third-year head coach Lee Squires collected his second consecutive Coach of the Year award.
Junior defender Jordan Skelton was Lander's lone selection to the all-PBC first team, while Chretien was joined by senoir forward Sam Lofts, junior midfielder Oliver Brock, junior defender Richard Bryan and sophomore goalkeeper Dean Cowdroy on the all-PBC second team.
In 14 matches this season, Chretien (Laval, France) has tallied three goals, two game-winners, and two assists in his first collegiate season. He netted an overtime free kick that gave the Bearcats a road win at Flagler and scored the decisive goal in Lander's victory over Carson-Newman. The Bearcats are 4-1 when Chretien records a goal or an assist this season. His 13 starts are the most by any Bearcat freshman on the year. Lander is the first program in league history to earn three consecutive Freshman of the Year honors.
Squires led the Bearcats to their second consecutive PBC regular-season championship as Lander compiled a 6-0-1 record in league play. Lander is 39-10-4 in Squires' tenure and has gone unbeaten in conference play in each of the past two seasons. Squires is the first coach to collect back-to-back PBC Coach of the Year awards since Greg Hooks from USC Upstate in 1997-98.
Skelton (Newcastle, England) earned his second career all-conference scroll in a breakout junior campaign on the Lander back line. The Bearcat captain ranks first in the PBC with a .583 shot percentage and an unblemished 4-for-4 mark on penalty kicks. He is tied for the team lead with seven goals this year and leads all conference defenders with 17 points. Skelton is a three-time PBC Defender of the Week this season.
Lofts (Swindon, England) collected his third all-conference nod in his third year as a starter for the Bearcats. Through 15 matches in 2017, Lofts has scored seven goals and added four assists to lead the team with 18 points. He ranks fourth in the PBC in assists and has appeared in 51 of Lander's last 52 matches. He owns the school record for most career points accumulated at Van Taylor Stadium (41).
Brock (Mansfield, England) ranks second in the conference with eight assists on the season, including a pair of multi-assist matches against Anderson and Francis Marion. He has added 14 shots and four shots on goal this year.
Bryan (Enfield, England) earned his second all-conference selection with three goals and two assists on the season, along with anchoring one of the league's best defenses. He is one of only three Bearcats to start every match this season. Bryan has started 49 out of 52 possible matches during his Bearcat career.
Cowdroy (Canberra, Australia) owns a 9-1-1 record in goal this season and tied for first in the league with five shutouts. The sophomore ranks second in the conference in wins and goals allowed and third in save percentage.
No. 23 Lander (11-3-1) faces Clayton State in the semifinals of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament at 5:00 p.m. on Friday night at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga.