Bannister, Leitch Named Academic Regional All-Americans

Dec. 18, 2009

BALTIMORE. - Loyola University Maryland men's soccer players Phil Bannister and Glenn Leitch were two of six Greyhounds honored by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as Regional Academic All-Americans on Friday.

Bannister was named to East Region Second Team, while Leith was named to the Honorable Mention. Four players from the Loyola women's soccer team -- Theresa Ferraina (first), Christina Gomez (third), Amanda Meehan (honorable mention) and Lina Staropoli (honorable mention) -- were also honored.

Bannister earned the selection on the men's side after leading the NCAA in assists per game this season. The junior forward from Wallsend, England, topped the nation with 0.72 assists per game after distributing 13 this year. He also earned ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District II First Team honors during the season and was a Third Team All-American.

Leitch was the team's most versatile player this season, starting games at forward, outside midfield, center midfield and defense. He finished the year second on the Greyhounds with six goals and third with 12 points.

The duo helped Loyola finish the season with an 11-8-3 record and advance to its school Division I record third-straight NCAA College Cup.

A graduate student from Long Branch, N.J., Ferraina graduated with a bachelor's degree last May with a perfect 4.0 grade-point-average and is currently pursuing her MBA. Ferraina scored seven goals and three assists for 17 points, was named the MAAC Offensive Player of the Year and led Loyola to a conference tournament title and a bid to the NCAA College Cup. Ferraina played in more games (83) than any Loyola women's soccer player, and is one of just two players in school history with at least 25 goals and 15 assists..

Gomez will graduate in May with a degree in elementary education and has maintained a 3.50 cumulative grade point average. The senior from Cary, N.C. scored six goals and added an assist this season and leaves Loyola ranked fifth in both goals (24) and points (60). Gomez also was a second-team all-conference selection this season.

Meehan and Staropoli received honorable mention recognition, maintaining a 3.49 and 3.75 cumulative grade point average, respectively. Meehan will graduate in the spring with a degree in speech pathology, while Staropoli has another year of eligibility, majoring in elementary education.

A full-time starter on defense, Meehan tallied the game-winning assist in the MAAC Championship game and converted in the final round of penalty kicks to defeat Manhattan in the MAAC Quarterfinals.

Staropoli recorded a goal and two assists this season and is tied for sixth all-time at Loyola with 15 career assists. A junior from Raritan, N.J., Staropoli also was a first-team All-MAAC selection in 2009.