PAWTUCKET, R.I.—Five UMass Boston men's soccer players earned their first career Little East Conference All Conference honors, the league office announced Tuesday morning.
Sophomore center back Yuran Teixeira (Praia, Cape Verde) was named to the Little East Conference First Team. Senior midfielder Edson Marques (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Eric Murakami (São Paulo, Brazil) were joined on the second team by juniors Raffi DeSouza (Watertown, Mass.) and Omar Castro-Dreher (Woonsocket, R.I.).
The quintet of Beacons led UMass Boston back to their fifth-straight Little East Conference Semifinals. UMass Boston finished 5-1-2 in conference play and earned the third seed in last week's LEC Tournament.
Teixeira was a revelation for the Beacons, after converting from an attacking midfield position to center back to start the season. The sophomore center back was the lone Beacon to start in all 21 games and he anchored a Beacons' back line that switched from a back-three to a back-four midway through the year. The Beacons defense finished first in conference play with a 0.59 goals against average (five goals in eight games). As a team, UMass Boston posted four shutouts in eight conference games and six shutouts overall.
Teixeira also finished tied for second on the team in goals (four) and fourth in points (nine). Teixeira was the Beacons' designated penalty-kick taker, as he went 4-4 from the penalty spot. He recorded both goals in the Beacons' 2-0 win over the University of Southern Maine and then scored the game-tying marker at 84:33 against Keene State College. Out of conference, Teixiera added the game-winning goal in the 86th minute against Worcester State University.
Marques earns his first LEC All-Conference honors, after transferring to UMass Boston as a junior. The former Massachusetts Bay Community College player earned National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Region honors in each of his two seasons at Mass. Bay. This season, Marques appeared in 19 games, including 17 starts, and recorded one assist. His role as a defensive midfielder was essential to the Beacons, as he provided important cover to a back line that featured three sophomores and several players who were still learning their positions. After struggling through injuries early in the season, Marques helped UMass Boston keep their opponents to one goal or fewer in 10 of his final 15 appearances.
Murakami picks up his first career LEC All-Conference honors after putting together a fantastic senior season. The Beacons left back not only proved to be one of their top defensive players, but also provided a key spark offensively. He finished tied for second on the team in goals (four) and third overall with 10 points. Murakami recorded seven of his 10 points in conference play, including the game-winning goal against UMass Dartmouth and the Beacons' lone goal against Plymouth State University. Murakami also finished tied for second on the team with his 20 starts, with the majority coming as part of the Beacons' back line.
DeSouza collects his first career All-Conference honors, after stepping into the role of lead playmaker for the Beacons. After the Beacons graduated two of their top playmakers and saw three of their top forwards go out with early-season injuries, DeSouza provided a key spark for the Beacons offense. He finished tied for second on the team in goals (four) and second overall with 11 points. DeSouza did all of his damage offensively against conference foes. He recorded a goal and two assists in a conference win against Castleton University, before tacking on a goal against UMass Dartmouth. In the Little East Conference Quarterfinal Round, DeSouza scored twice and set up the game-winning goal with an assist against the University of Southern Maine.
Castro-Dreher put together one of the best seasons of any Beacon, as the junior keeper consistently kept the Beacons in games with phenomenal saves. He started in a career-high 19 games and easily posted a new career-high with 73 saves. In conference play, Castro-Dreher led the Little East with an .868 save percentage and 0.60 goals against average and finished second with 3.5 shutouts in eight conference starts. Castro-Dreher saved his best for last, as he closed out the LEC Regular Season with a season-high 10 saves on 11 shots against Keene State College. For his career, Castro-Dreher owns the top career goals against average (0.74) and the most career shutouts (16) in program history. He will enter his senior season third in career games played/started/minutes by a goalie (48/46/4291), tied for second in career wins (26) and 11th in career saves (166).