Eight Blue Devils earn post-season soccer honors

Jayhawk Defender of the Year Leonardo Da Silva, front left, and Coach of the Year Ruben Rodriguez head a group of eight KCKCC soccer players earning post-season honors. Joining Da Silva on the All-Jayhawk first team were, second row, from left, Frano Buhovac, Ricardo Angelo, Guilherme Grave and Giovanni Calderon while, third row, Emmanuel Hernandez, Mario Sandoval and Reed Axthelm were second team selections. Da Silva, Grave and Angelo were also All-Region VI first team selections with Buhovac named to the second team. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

The first trip to the NJCAA Division I National Soccer Tournament has produced a record number of post-season honors for the Blue Devils of Kansas City Kansas Community College.

Led by head coach Ruben Rodriguez and sophomore defender Leonardo Da Silva, four Blue Devils were named to the NJCAA All-Region VI team and eight received All-Jayhawk East recognition.

Rodriguez was named Jayhawk Coach of the Year and Da Silva the Defensive Player of the Year, the first KCKCC recipients ever of the prestigious awards and capped the best soccer season in college history.

The Blue Devils were ranked No. 10 in the final NJCAA, the first time ever in the Top 20, after winning the Region VI and Plains District championships on the way to the national tournament.

Three Blue Devils, forward Guilherme Grave, midfielder Ricardo Angelo and Da Silva, were named to the All-Region VI first team while defender Frano Buhovar was selected to the second team. All are sophomores with the exception of Buhovar.

Giovanni Calderon, a sophomore midfielder from JC Harmon, joined Da Salva, Grave, Angelo and Buhova on the All-Jayhawk first team while two other Harmon graduates, sophomore defender Emmanuel Hernandez and sophomore Mario Sandoval were named to the All-Jayhawk second team along with forward Reed Axthelm.

KCKCC sophomore Leonardo Da Silva and coach Ruben Rodriguez headed the 2017 All-Jayhawk East team, Da Silva as Defender of the Year and Rodriguez Coach of the Year. (KCKCC photo by Alan Hoskins)

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