Photo by Stanford Athletics
With the most prestigious NCAA DI men's soccer award set to be handed out shortly after the holidays, the United Soccer Coaches have announced the finalists for the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy.
Taking up two of the three spots on this year's shortlist are PDL alums from two of the nation's top schools. From Wake Forest, Carolina Dynamo forward Jon Bakero makes the cut, joining now three-time national champion Tomas Hilliard, as the Stanford and Burlingame Dragons defender helped the Cardinal win their third-straight title last week. The two are joined by 2017 NCAA runner-up Grant Lillard of Indiana.
In a banner year with Wake Forest that saw the Demon Deacons capture both the ACC regular season and tournament titles, Bakero starred at forward, accumulating some incredible statistics. While leading Wake Forest to a 19-2-2 record and an NCAA Quarterfinals appearance, Bakero scored 16 goals and tallied 14 assists while accumulating an NCAA-leading 46 points. Over the course of his collegiate career, the Spanish senior compiled an amazing 37 goals and 26 assists, making him one of the most intriguing prospects in the upcoming MLS SuperDraft.
Joining Bakero is Stanford defender Hilliard, who's put together one of the most impressive collegiate careers in recent memory. On the heels of the Cardinal's NCAA title-winning victory over Indiana last week, Hilliard has won the championship three of his four seasons at Stanford, just the second time a team has three-peated in NCAA history.The senior defender contributed to 14 shutouts for the Cardinal in 23 matches this season, while also tallying four goals and three assists.
Lillard helped guide Indiana to an NCAA finals appearance and an undefeated regular season, though fell just short of a Big Ten title in the postseason tournament.
The MAC Hermann Trophy will be presented on January 5th, 2018 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.