Mount Olive, N.C. --- The University of Mount Olive men's lacrosse team had the highest number of student-athletes recognized on the Nike/USILA All-Americans list as announced in late May. Senior goalkeeper Will Urban highlighted the list earning a first-team honor as well as earning the Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. Award, which is presented annually to the nation's most outstanding goalkeepers at each division, I, II, and III.
Joining Urban on the list were midfielder Thatcher Clark and defenders Cole Groebner and Brady Elbin who each picked up third-team All-American honors, while senior attacker Jacob Ball earned honorable mention recognition.
Urban collected several laurels throughout the year including being named the Conference Carolinas Defensive Player of the Year for helping his team tie for the regular season championship and advance to the semifinals of the conference tournament. He started all 16 games between the pipes for the Trojans and collected 53 ground balls and causing seven turnovers. Urban made 157 stops for a 61.3 save percentage while giving up 99 goals on the year averaging 6.60 goals-against per game. Nationally, Urban ranked 2nd in goals-against average and 3rd in save percentage.
Clark played in 15 of 16 games and started four in the midfield. He tallied 24 goals and seven assists for 31 points on the year. Clark picked up 12 ground balls and took 95 shots with 54 coming on goal. Clark was one of four midfielders named to the Conference Carolinas first-team.
Groebner received third-team All-American honors after picking up his second consecutive first-team All-Conference Carolinas honor as a leading defender for the Trojans. The senior defender Champlin, Minn., led the defensive backfield for the Trojans with 25 caused turnovers, 27 groundballs, and one goal for Mount Olive.
A sophomore specialist from Greensboro, N.C., Elbin played in all 16 games for Mount Olive scoring six times with two assists on the offensive side and defensively forced 13 turnovers and collected 29 groundballs. The third-team All-American honor is the first of his career.
Senior attacker Ball received honorable mentions after helping the Trojans to the Conference Carolinas semifinals. Ball, who was named Conference Carolinas Co-Offensive Player of the Year and a first-team honoree, led the Trojans this season in goals (27), assists (18), and points (45). Ball also grabbed 34 groundballs, which was tied for second on the team. The attacker leaves UMO as the second all-time leading scorer as he has 89 career scores for Mount Olive.
"We are very fortunate to have five players be named to the USILA All-American Teams," said head coach Mike Murphy. "The hard work and dedication of all our players allowed these five players to garner national recognition. Will Urban was named the Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Jr. as the most outstanding goalie in NCAA Division 2. It is the first time our program has been recognized at that level. Our defense finished No. 1 in the NCAA in Goals Against Average and Will was right at the top in save percentage. I want to congratulate Will, Cole, Thatcher, Brady, and Jake on earning these awards. I also want to thank Coach Dylan Price for the work he does instructing our goalies and continuing to put out one of the best defenses year in and year out. This is the fourth year in a row we have had an All-American Goalie and Dylan is responsible for the continued success at that position. I wish Will, Cole, and Jake all the best going forward and know Thatcher and Brady will be back in fall ready to work hard."
The Trojans finished the season ranked 14th in the USILA Coaches Poll with an overall record of 11-5 and 5-1 against conference foes. UMO finished the season in a tie for the regular season championship, the programs first ever, and made an appearance in the semifinals of the Conference Carolinas championship tournament. Mount Olive as a team had the best scoring defense in the nation allowing 6.50 goals per game. They finished 3rd with an 82.5% man-down defense and 5th in the nation with 10.56 caused turnovers per game.
For a full list of USILA All-American winners click here.