Balc named Player of the Season as Buckeyes continue preparations for NCAA tournament second-round game Wednesday

COLUMBUS, Ohio Xavier Balc, Ohio State senior forward, was named the Player of the Season’ and joined fellow tri-captains Casey Latchem and Eric Brunner among those receiving national honors as Top Drawer Soccer released its men’s college soccer Teams of the Season’ Monday.

Joining Balc on the first team was Latchem at goalkeeper, while Brunner was named a third-team defender. Those three Buckeyes will lead No. 5 seed Ohio State into an NCAA tournament second-round game at 5 p.m. Wednesday against Louisville in Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

“Going into the season, they were expected to be our three big returning players because of what they achieved as juniors, so the anticipation was there that they would have outstanding seasons and they have all done just that,” John Bluem, Ohio State coach, said. “At different times and in different places they have been the key people who have led us to this successful season we have had.”

Balc (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) was named the 2007 Big Ten Player of the Year and set an Ohio State record with 12 assists. He was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the Big Ten championship Nov. 11 after he helped lead the Buckeyes to three wins in the postseason, including over top-seeded Indiana in the title game.

Latchem (Perrysburg, Ohio/Perrysburg) was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Big Ten championship and set school records for shutouts in a season (12) and career shutouts (24). His current 0.69 goals against average this season is also a school record, as is his current 0.86 career GAA.

During the Buckeyes’ current 11-game unbeaten streak, Latchem and Brunner (Dublin, Ohio/Scioto/Maryland) have limited opponents to only three goals. Brunner is Ohio State’s first MAC Hermann Trophy candidate and has contributed four goals this season three of which were game winners.

“It would be hard to pick a most valuable player because those three guys have all made major contributions,” Bluem said. “For me, I’d say our starting 11 is our most valuable player this season because we have played so well as a team. That has been a big factor for us that we were able to put a unit on the field and shape them and train them that, knock on wood, they were able to stay together for a significant amount of time.”


Top Drawer Soccer Men’s College Team of the Season

1st Team
1. Casey Latchem Ohio State Goalkeeper
2. Omar Gonzalez Maryland Defender
3. Calum Angus St. Louis – Defender
4. Julius James Connecticut Defender
5. Scott Bolkan Stanford Defender
6. Jamil Roberts Santa Clara – Defender
7. Brad Ring Indiana Midfielder
8. Xavier Balc Ohio State Midfielder
9. Alejandro Bedoya Boston College Midfielder
10. Bruno Guarda SMU Midfielder
11. Andrew Jacobson California – Midfielder
12. Stephen King – Maryland – Midfielder
13. David Roth- Northwestern – Midfielder
14. O’Brian White Connecticut Forward
15. Peter Lowry Santa Clara Forward
16. Ely Allen Washington – Forward

2nd Team
1. Mike Graczyk New Mexico Goalkeeper
2. Brian Visser Depaul Goalkeeper
3. David Horst Old Dominion – Defender
4. Andy Iro UC Santa Barbara Defender
5. Jon Leathers Furman – Defender
6. Barry Rice Kentucky – Defender
7. Kraig Chiles San Diego State Midfielder
8. Anthony Beltran UCLA Midfielder
9. Pat Healey Towson – Midfielder
10. Mike Videira Duke – Midfielder
11. Andy Wright West Virginia – Midfielder
12. Joe Lapira Notre Dame – Forward
13. Ciaran O’Brien UC Santa Barbara – Forward
14. Yannick Reyering Virginia – Forward
15. Patrick Nyarko Virginia Tech – Forward
16. Kyle Patterson St. Louis – Forward

3rd Team
1. Brian Edwards Wake Forest Goalkeeper
2. Jason Landers St. Johns – Goalkeeper
3. Eric Brunner Ohio State – Defender
4. Rauwshan Mackenzie Michigan State- Defender
5. Adrian Chevannes SMU Defender
6. Adam Sloustcher Loyola Marymount – Defender
7. Mike Zaher UCLA – Defender
8. Stephen McCarthy Santa Clara Midfielder
9. Ryan Miller Notre Dame – Midfielder
10. Sam Cronin Wake Forest – Midfielder
11. Mike Pezza Connecticut Midfielder
12. Collen Warner Portland – Midfielder
13. Chris Wright New Mexico – Forward
14. Ryan Cordeiro Connecticut – Forward
15. Dado Hamzagic St. Louis Forward
16. Kenny Anaba Cincinnati – Forward

Honorable Mention
1. Zack Simmons Massachusetts – Goalkeeper
2. Chay Cain Indiana Goalkeeper
3. Stefan Frei California Goalkeeper
4. Dan Belke Colgate – Defender
5. Joe Donoho Bradley- Defender
6. Tim Ream St. Louis – Defender
7. Pat Phelan Wake Forest – Defender
8. Julian Valentin Wake Forest – Defender
9. Jack Traynor Notre Dame – Defender
10. Zach Tierney New Mexico Defender
11. Trevor Banks Old Dominion – Midfielder
12. Brandon Barklage St. Louis – Midfielder
13. Eric DeFreitas Tulsa – Midfielder
14. Reuben Ayarna Boston College Midfielder
15. Joe Mathot Denver – Midfielder
16. Jeff Scannella South Carolina Midfielder
17. Jason Leopoldo UCLA Midfielder
18. Chance Myers UCLA – Midfielder
19. Brad Peters- Eastern Illinois- Forward
20. Anton Axelsson – Jacksonville – Forward
21. Jared Britcher Memphis Forward
22. Michael Ferguson Loyola Chicago – Forward
23. Chris Pontius UC Santa Barbara – Forward
24. Mike Grella Duke – Forward
25. Cody Arnoux Wake Forest Forward
26. Jeff Stepan St. Johns Forward
27. Dejan Jakovic UAB – Forward

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Contact: Tim Stried,