Montclair, NJ (11/18/11) – Senior Dan Keegan (Fairfield, NJ / West Essex) was named Special Teams Player of the Year for the second straight season while safety Chad Faulcon (Cranford, NJ / Cranford) was chosen Defensive Player of the Year as Montclair State placed 18 players on the league's 2011 All-Conference squad released on Friday.
Keegan and Faulcon were among 10 First-Team selections for Montclair State, which finished the season at 8-2 overall, 7-2 in the NJAC. Faulcon became the first Red Hawks to win Defensive Player of the Year honors since linebacker Cornell Hunt won it in 2008. Keegan's honor marked the third straight year an MSU player won the Special Teams honor as kicker Marco Capozzoli was selected in 2009.
Joining Keegan, who was named at both wide recever and punt returner, and Faulcon on the First Team was running back Chris D'Andrea (Union, NJ / Union), fullback Sergio Garcia (East Brunswick, NJ / East Brunswick), center Dan Aguilar (Belle Mead, NJ / Montgomery), defensive lineman Alex Iachetta (Spring Lake Heights, NJ / Manasquan), linebacker Dan Avento (Montvale, NJ / Pascack Hills), cornerback Kevin Cloghessy (West Hempstead, NY / West Hempstead) and kicker Jake DelVento (Island Heights, NJ / Toms River South).
Keegan was a dangerous playmaker throughout the season with the ability to change games with a single punt return. He averaged 17.9 yards per return on 17 returns this year as many teams opted not to kick to Keegan, who also surpassed the 3,000-yard mark for all-pupose yards in 2011. Keegn led the NJAC in punt returns and currently ranks fifth in the nation in the category. He also led Montclair State with 52 receptions for 559 yards and six touchdown receptions.
A two-time NJAC Defensive Player of the Week selection, Faulcon was tapped as the top league defender after producing 72 tackles and three interceptions for the NJAC runner-up Red Hawks. He currently ranks tied for eighth in the NJAC in interceptions per game (0.30). Faulcon made several key plays for MSU this season, including a two-interception performance in a 20-0 win over William Paterson in October. He also had a game-saving tackle at the end of the fourth quarter in the Red Hawks 37-31 overtime win at Rowan.
D"Andrea put together the best season by a Montclair State running back in program history. He broke the single-season record for yards with 1,583 and also scored 15 touchdowns on the ground and another through the air, the 16 TDs the second-best single-season total in program history. He had two 200-yard performances during the season and leads Division III in rushing yards. He led the conference in that category and was also led the conference in scoring and all-purpose yards.
Garcia and Aguilar played an important part in helping D'Andrea to his record-setting season with their blocking up front.
Iachetta, Avento and Cloghessy keyed the MSU defense along with Faulcon as Montclair allowed just 188 points this season ranking among the best in the NJAC. Avento led the team with 93 tackles and added three interceptions and seven passes defended while Iachetta posted 30 tackles, one sack and interception return for a touchdown, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Cloghessey led the team with four interceptions, including one for a touchdown as well as 35 total tackles and a team-best nine passes defended.
Quarterback Tom Fischer (Livingston, NJ / Livingston) was among the Second-Team selections as he was joined by wide receiver Byron Lewin (Carteret, NJ / Carteret), offensive linemen Doug Pannone (Barnegat, NJ / Southern Regional) and Jeff Angstadt (Clinton, NJ / Voorhees) and cornerback Andrey Green (East Orange, NJ / East Orange).
Fischer threw for 1196 yards and seven touchdowns in six games this season as he missed four-plus after suffering a foot injury against Cortland in Week 5. Lewin was second on the team with 39 receptions for 493 yards and a touchdown. Pannone and Angstadt combined with Aguilar up front to help Montclair State rank near the top in several offensive categories in the NJAC this season. Green posted 36 tackles and three sacks while also grabbing an interception and seven passes defended.
Senipr punter Joe Liscio (Little Falls, NJ / Passaic Valley), freshman wide receiver Gerald Silvera (West Orange, NJ / West Orange) and linebacker Steve Shan (Bayville, NJ / Central Regional) were selected Honorable Mention.
Liscio averaged 36.5 yards per punt this season and had 13 punts downed inside the opponents 20 yard line. Of his 56 attempts this season only 17 were returned. Silvera was third on the team in receptions with 32 catches for 406 yards and two touchdowns. An NJAC Offensive Rookie of the Week selection, he closed out his initial campaign with 10 receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown versus Kean. Shan was third on the team with 54 tackles and also forced two fumbles.