MARSHFIELD, Mass. - For only the second time in the 11-year history of the New England Collegiate Conference, one team has swept the End-of-Season Major Awards. The Newbury Nighthawks join only the 2015 Daniel Webster Eagles in winning all four Major Awards in the same season.
Nighthawks junior Andrew Kalombo (Worcester, Mass.) has been named Player of the Year. Fellow junior Chris Tran (Nantucket, Mass.) secured Goalie of the Year. Freshman Warren Exceus (Boston, Mass.) takes home Rookie of the Year. Lastly, Head Coach Bill Maddock completes the quadruplet with Coach of the Year.
Kalombo is the fourth defender to ever be named Player of the Year and the first since 2014. The junior defender was part of a back line that allowed only four goals to conference competitors this season with only two coming off non-set piece opportunities. The four goals against are the third-fewest a team has allowed to conference opponents in NECC history. He added a career-high two goals, one assist, and five points this season.
"Getting the individual award is great but it's this team and coaches and staff that led me to this together," said Kalombo. "The whole team, I mean we finished the season with eight clean sheets and couldn't be happier for this team and our effort. But our work is not over, we need to stay focused. Individual awards are nice, but our main goal and focus is Friday and still trying to win a championship."
Tran is the first goalie in program history to earn the Goalie of the Year award. Tran started five games in goal during conference play, posting a 3-0-2 record, allowing 0.20 goals against with a save percentage of .933. He allowed just one goal in his five starts and was credited with three clean sheets and one shared shutout. Overall, Tran posted a 3-2-2 record in all competitions, allowing just 0.57 goals against with an .867 save percentage.
"It's a huge honor to win this award," said Tran. "Our team has done great things this season, but we're not done yet."
Exceus continues a line of impressive first-year players to play for the Nighthawks. He finished the conference season with three goals and four assists for a total of 10 points. Exceus scored or assisted on seven of the Nighthawks 18 conference goals in 2018. In all competitions, Exceus led the team with six goals, eight assists, and 20 points. The eight assists are a record number for a freshman and program history and one shy of the overall record.
"It's really God's plan with this team," said Exceus. "With all these beautiful teammates and coaches, they helped me accomplish this. But the players and coaches and staff know the job is not done. We still need Friday and need to focus. I always wanted this award in freshman season, but my team got me here. We are a family and we're focused on the big goal."
For Maddock, he becomes the first coach in program history to secure Coach of the Year. The Nighthawks became only the sixth team in NECC history to go unbeaten in the regular season, finishing 5-0-3 in NECC action. Newbury finished 9-4-4 in all competitions this season, including an 8-1-3 stretch from Sept. 15 to Oct. 23 and a five-game winning streak in that same span. Maddock is 25-27-6 (11-9-3 NECC) since becoming head coach in 2016 and the Nighthawks will make their third straight NECC Semifinal appearance later this week.
"I am extremely proud of the guys who received NECC honors," said Maddock. "We have a lot of guys in this roster deserving of accolades so I was happy to see some many gain recognition around the conference. The impact of Andrew, Chris, and Warren have had on our success this year is undeniable. They have been committed to team success from day one and have worked really hard to receive these honors and they are well deserved."
The Nighthawks await the winner of the First Round Match between No. 4 Elms and No. 5 New England College, scheduled for Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. Newbury hosts the winner on Friday in the NECC Semifinals at Hormel Stadium at 2:00 p.m. The winner moves to the Championship Match on Sunday.
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