A pair of Gonzaga University seniors brought home some major hardware as midfielder Nick Hamer and defender Josh Phillips were named the West Coast Conference men’s soccer Player of the Year and Defender of the Year, respectively, Tuesday.
Six other Bulldogs also received honors. Senior goalkeeper Ryan Caballero and junior forward Clark Phillips were second-team selections; sophomore forward Conner Bevans, senior defender Greg Carter and junior midfielder Lars Ludwigs were honorable mention picks, and Jakob Granlund was named to the All-Freshman team.
Hamer (Mead High School), becomes the second WCC Player of the Year for the Bulldogs, joining Jeff McAllister in 1997. He scored three goals and had a team-leading six assists, all three of his goals and half of his assists coming in WCC play. He was one of four Bulldogs to start all 19 matches this season. It’s the second straight first-team honor for Hamer after being a second-team pick as a sophomore in 2011 and making the WCC All-Freshman team in 2010.
Hamer got the news from his mother who saw it on social media.
“I was in class. I found out through my mom. She called me and was practically crying she was so excited for me. It’s a huge honor that all my hard work has paid off and people noticed it,” Hamer said.
Phillips joins Nick Barclay in 2008 as the only other Bulldog to earn defender of the year accolades. A mainstay on the Bulldog defense he was instrumental in Gonzaga allowing opponents just 0.95 goals per match. The 10 wins for the Bulldogs this season marked the first double-digit wins season since 2000, and Gonzaga’s 5-4-3 WCC record for third place is the highest finish since 2008. He earned All-WCC second-team honors in 2011.
Other major awards went to LMU sophomore Paul Blanchette who earned WCC Goalkeeper of the Year selection, while midfielder Eddie Sanchez of Portland was tabbed as the WCC Freshman of the Year. LMU’s Paul Krumpe was chosen by his peers as coach of the year.