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Five Ramblers earn NSCAA All-West region honours

Five members of the Loyola University Chicago men’s soccer team have been selected as All-West Region honourees by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), it was announced by the organisation on Tuesday. The five selections are the most for a single season in program history and were a high for any Missouri Valley Conference institution.

Redshirt junior Andrew Chekadanov (St. Louis, Mo./Parkway Central), junior Elliot Collier (Hamilton, New Zealand/St. Paul’s Collegiate) and redshirt sophomore Grant Stoneman (St. Charles, Ill./Wheaton Academy/Wisconsin) all were tabbed as First Team selections. Redshirt senior Ryan Howe (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) and junior Brody Kraussel (Milwaukee, Wis./Muskego) both landed on the Second Team. All five members of the quintet earned First Team All-Missouri Valley Conference accolades in November.

Chekadanov turned in one of the finest individual seasons for a goalkeeper in school history in 2016. The St. Louis, Mo. native earned the starting nod in all 19 games and finished the year with a sparkling 0.57 goals against average, the second best for a goalkeeper in school history, that led all Valley netminders. Chekadanov, who was named the MVC Goalkeeper of the Year, finished the year with 12 shutouts, tying Loyola’s single-season school record in the category.

After missing the first four games of the regular season due to injury, Collier rebounded to put together the top offensive season of his collegiate career. The Hamilton, New Zealand product racked up a career-high five goals, a mark which put him second on Loyola’s roster, to go along with a pair of assists. Collier notched two-goal performances in wins over Binghamton and league foe Central Arkansas.

Stoneman featured prominently in his first season with the Maroon & Gold as a key cog for a Loyola defense that once again found itself among the nation’s elite, sporting a Valley-best 0.57 goals against average. Out of suburban St. Charles, Ill., Stoneman also made his presence felt in the offensive third as well, scoring three goals and dishing out an assist. All three tallies proved to be game winners, highlighted by deciding strikes against then No. 12 Utah Valley and Drake.

Howe returned from injury in 2016 to start in all 18 games that he appeared in. The Rockford, Ill. native provided the game-winning goal in an emphatic victory over Albany and was credited with an assist in a 4-0 rout of Binghamton. As the season wore on, Howe excelled for the Ramblers in a defensive midfield role as Loyola made its impressive run through league play.

Kraussel, like his junior counterpart Collier, enjoyed the top offensive campaign of his career this past season. The Milwaukee, Wis. product finished the year with career-high marks in both goals (3) and assists (10). His 10 assists not only led the conference in the category, but also ranked in the top 10 overall nationally and placed him fifth on Loyola’s single-season record board.

Loyola finished the 2016 season with a school-record 14 victories en route to capturing the Missouri Valley Conference regular season title. The Ramblers earned their first at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament and picked up the program’s first postseason victory by downing city-rival UIC, 2-0, in a First Round matchup.