Hofstra’s Nealis Named Top CAA Defender

Nealis, Hofstra, soccer, Red Bulls
Sean Nealis. Photo: Hofstra University.

Six members of the Hofstra men’s soccer team were honored by the Colonial Athletic Association. Senior Sean Nealis received CAA Defensive Player of the Year honors and was also named to the All-CAA First Team.

In addition, five of Nealis’ teammates received All-CAA honors. Alex Ashton, Luke Brown, and Matthew Vowinkel of New Hyde Park were named to the All-CAA Third Team. Jacob Goker and Luca Tausch were chosen as CAA All-Rookie Team selections.

Nealis of Massapequa is the fourth Hofstra men’s soccer player to earn top defensive player honors. The others are Richard Martinez (2009), Shaun Foster (2010, 2011, 2012), and Harri Hawkins (2016).

This season the Massapequa High School graduate appeared in 17 games and anchored a defense that allowed just 1.06 goals per game and had 10 shutouts. The Pride also had an eight-game shutout streak earlier in the season. Beyond his defensive efforts, Nealis added a goal and three assists on the season.

Ashton earns his first All-CAA accolade after starting 14 games in 2018 and posting a 6-5-3 record. On the season he had 48 saves, a 0.96 goals against average and eight shutouts. The Telford, England, native’s eight shutouts came consecutively during the Pride’s unbeaten streak and are a program record for consecutive clean sheets.

Brown makes his third consecutive appearance on an All-CAA team. He previously earned first team and all-rookie accolades in 2016 and third team honors in 2017. Limited to 12 games in 2018 due to injury, Brown had five goals and two assists.

Nealis, Hofstra, Vowinkel
Matthew Vowinkel

Vowinkel earns his first CAA postseason honor after recording a team-high six goals and 12 points in 18 games. The New Hyde Park native had one game-winning goal and recorded a two-goal game against William & Mary.

Goker was a key member of the Pride defense as a freshman and started 12 of 15 games. The Hurth, Germany, native also had one assist.

Tausch, a midfielder, started all 17 games in which he played. The Freiburg, Germany, native posted one goal on the season.

Information for this story provided by Hofstra’s Office of Athletics Communications.