Red Hawks Put 15 on All-NJAC Football Team; Fischer Named Co-Offensive Player of the Year

Montclair, NJ (11/19/10) —Junior quarterback Tom Fischer (Livingston, NJ / Livingston) was named the Co-Offensive Player of the Year highlighting several major award winners for Montclair State as the Red Hawks grabbed 15 spots on the All-NJAC Team released on Friday.

Junior Dan Keegan (Fairfield, NJ / West Essex) was selected Special Teams Player of the Year while freshman linebacker Dan Avento (Montvale, NJ / Pascack Hills) was chosen Defensive Rookie of the Year. Head coach Rick Giancola was named the Coach of the Year for the second straight season.

All three players were named to the First Team along with linebacker Ed Kirschenbaum (Lake Como, NJ / Manasquan), cornerback Gary Knoeppel (West Long Branch, NJ / Shore Regional), safety Mario McLean (Montville, NJ / Montville) and punter Joe Liscio (Little Falls, NJ / Passaic Valley).

Fischer becomes the first MSU player to earn Offensive Player of the Year honors since Ed Collins in 2001. He became the fourth player in Montclair State history to surpass the 5,000 yard mark in both passing and total offense this season as he threw for 1,993 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing 134-of-231 passes. An Offensive Player of the Week selection in September, Fischer currently ranks second in the NJAC in passing average and is second in efficiency rating (153.6 rating) and third in total offense (189.4 ypg). Fischer is also 24th in Division III in pass efficiency and earlier this month was named First-Team ESPN Academic All-District.

Keegan made it two straight seasons that Montclair has captured Special Teams Player of the Year honors. Kicker Marco Capozzoli won the award in 2009. Keegan led the NJAC and is ranked second in the nation in punt return average at 22.91 yards per run back. He returned one kick for a touchdown this season and his return average this season is nearly six yards better than the MSU single-season record.

Avento is the first Defensive Rookie of the Year honoree since linebacker Sal Fama in 2004. Four times this season Avento was named the Defensive Rookie of the Week and he is second on the team with 76 tackles in addition to two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), two forced fumbles and a recovery. Avento is ranked 10th in the NJAC in tackles at 7.6 stops per contest.

Kirschenbaum collected his first honor in 2010. The NJAC Defensive Player of the Week for October 11, Kirschenbaum leads MSU with 92 tackles, including a team-best 9.5 for loss as well as 4.5 sacks, including three against The College of New Jersey in a 30-14 win on October 9. Kirschenbaum is fourth in the NJAC in tackler per game. McLean nets his third All-Conference honor while Knoeppel gets his second. The two have played a key role in MSU's No. 1 rated pass defense this season. Knoeppel had registered 40 tackles and a team-leading five interceptions with two returned for touchdowns. McLean has six pass breakups to go along with his 51 total tackles.

Liscio averaged 35.2 yards per punt during the season on 58 attempts. He pinned MSU opponents inside its own 20 yard line 22 times.

Keegan was also chosen to the Second Team at wide receiver as was junior Byron Lewin (Carteret, NJ / Carteret). Offensive linemen Dan Aguilar (Belle Mead, NJ / Montgomery) and Jeff Angstadt (Clinton, NJ / Voorhees) earned their first All-Conference honors as did Alex Iachetta (Spring Lake Heights, NJ / Manasquan) and Bobby Skinner (Staten Island, NY / New Dorp), who were named on the defensive line.

Lewin leads Montclair State in receptions with 50 while amassing 582 yards and four touchdowns. Keegan pulled in 26 passes for 450 yards and a team-best six touchdowns. Aguilar and Angstadt both started every game this season up front as Montclair ranked as one of top scoring offenses in the NJAC this season averaging 27.6 points per game. Iachetta recorded 30 tackles and two sacks this season along with two forced fumbles. Skinner was impressive in his first season with MSU as he is currently tied for the team lead in sacks with 4.5 while also getting 32 tackles.

Senior running back Matt Jimenez (Waldwick, NJ / Waldwick) and senior defensive lineman Shaun Bach (Upper Saddle River, NJ / Northern Highlands) were named Honorable Mention.

Jimenez leads Montclair State in rushing with 498 yards and four touchdowns on 142 carries. Bach had three sackles, four pass breakups and 7.5 tackles for loss this season. He also notched 45 tackles.

Giancola was selected as the NJAC Coach of the Year by his peers for the third time in the last eight seasons. Montclair earned a share of the NJAC Championship, its 19th overall and the 10th under Giancola's watch in addition to earning a second straight appearance in the NCAA Division III Playoffs. Giancola, now in his 28th season, also picked up his 200th career victory in the regular-season finale against William Paterson becoming the sixth coach in MSU athletic history to rack up that number of wins in a career while also joining the list of four active coaches in Division III to attain that mark. Giancola is 200-88-2 in his brilliant career.of 190-86-2.