Serban named CIS Rookie of the Year; Mashinchi, Clerc, and Fong named All-Canadians


CHARLOTTETOWN (CIS) –  Chris Serban, a first-year defender for the UBC Thunderbirds men’s soccer team, was named the CIS rookie of the year Wednesday evening in Charlottetown, PEI. Justin Maheu, a second-year striker from Cape Breton University, was named CIS player of the year.
Maheu, a sophomore from Ottawa became the first CBU standout to merit the Joe Johnson Memorial Trophy.
Other national award winners announced during the All-Canadian Banquet at the Hotel Rodd Royalty in Charlottetown were UBC defender Chris Serban, who received the Lou Bilek Award as rookie of the year; Toronto midfielder/striker Mario Kovacevic, who claimed the Student-Athlete Community Service Award; as well as York’s Carmine Isacco, who was voted coach of the year for the second time.
The 2014 CIS championship kicks off Thursday at the University of Prince Edward Island and concludes Sunday with the gold-medal final at 1 p.m. Atlantic. All 11 matches from the eight-team tournament will be webcast live on
Official championship website:
JOE JOHNSON MEMORIAL TROPHY (player of the year): Justin Maheu, Cape Breton
Maheu, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound forward, led the AUS in scoring in the regular season with 15 goals in just 11 games. The total – which increased his career output to 17 goals in 20 league games – was good for fourth best in the country, while his average of 1.36 goals per contest were tops in the nation. His performances helped the Capers place second in the conference standings with an 8-4-1 record.
Maheu, 21, is a second-year student in the Bachelor of Arts Community Studies program and earned Academic all-Canadian honours in his freshman year. His older brother, Sam, is the sixth all-time leading scorer for the St. Bonaventure University Bonnies men’s soccer team and was the Atlantic 10 Conference offensive player of the year in 2009.
“Justin is a pleasure to work with on the training ground. He is a competitive athlete and the drive, passion and determination that he has demonstrated during game time can be found Monday to Friday during practice,” said CBU head coach Dean Morley. “His continuous movement and willingness to exploit defences in behind, combined with his pace and strength makes him a handful for any defenders. The work he has put in during the off-season and his desire to continually want to improve makes him a great man to work with.”
The other nominees were UQAM striker Armel Dagrou, York striker Jarek Whiteman and UBC midfielder Navid Maschinchi.
LOU BILEK AWARD (rookie of the year): Chris Serban, UBC
Serban becomes the second UBC player to be named CIS rookie of the year, and the first since Adam Plummer claimed the inaugural award in 1999.
A versatile defender, Serban was an integral part of UBC’s back line, which gave up just seven goals in 12 league matches, the fewest in the Canada West. He played in 11 regular season games, all starts, and was on the field for all but 16 minutes in those contests as UBC finished with a 9-2-1 record and won its third consecutive Pacific Division title. He was also effective in joining the attack and got two assists during the year.
Originally from Calgary, he is currently a student in UBC’s Sauder School of Business. He joined head coach Mike Mosher‘s squad after graduating from the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency Program. Serban also played for the Whitecaps U-23 Premier Development League squad last year.
“This is a great honour for Chris to win this award and we are very happy for him,” said Mosher. “He has had a terrific first season with our UBC team and we look forward to future successes with Chris in the program. It is often difficult for defenders to be recognized for these types of awards as they can often fly under the radar, thus all the sweeter to see him recognized.”
St. Francis Xavier midfielder Liam Elbourne, McGill defender Alex Lamont and Guelph midfielder Ryan Vyrostko were also in the running.
A team co-captain, Kovacevic is the first U of T player to claim the student athlete community service award since its inception in 2005.
In his fifth and final season with the team, the Woodbridge, Ont., native ranked second on the Varsity Blues with eight goals in 13 league games and earned his fourth straight OUA all-star nod.

Kovacevic has been actively involved as a student-leader in the greater University community. He serves as the Co-Chair of the Varsity Board, works closely with the Council of Athletics and Recreation on campus and has spearheaded major events including Toronto’s annual high school tournament and the National Soccer Coaching Conference that is now in its fourth year of operation. 
“Mario has been a true leader on our team for many years. He is everything we look for in a student-athlete at the University of Toronto,” said head coach and manager of soccer operations, Anthony Capotosto. “Mario is not only an exceptional player on the field, he is actively involved in our U of T community and is an excellent student in the classroom. He has served as a great role model for our first-year players coming into the program. We are so proud that he receives this recognition in his final year with the team.”
The other nominees were midfielders Shea Nordheim of UNB and Luigi Bekwayo of Saskatchewan.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Carmine Isacco, York
Isacco has had a tremendous run as head coach of the York men’s soccer team since taking over in 2007, when he earned his first CIS coach-of-the-year award. He is also a five-time recipient of the OUA West award, including the last three (2007, 2010, 2012-14).
In eight seasons at the helm of the Lions, Isacco has led the team to two OUA championships (2007, 2013) and a pair of CIS titles (2008, 2010), as well as first place in the West Division in each year. The squad has competed in the OUA Final Four seven times during that stretch and has made five appearances at the CIS tournament. He has guided the Lions to a sparkling 91-12-16 regular-season record overall.
This year was arguably the best yet for the Lions. They went unbeaten in the regular season with a 14-0-2 mark while posting an astonishing goal differential of +52 in 16 games. Their 59 goals scored were the most in program history and 10 more than any other team in the country, while their seven goals allowed were the fewest in the OUA. The Lions reached the top spot in the CIS rankings in Week 7 and have now been nationally ranked in 41 straight polls dating back to Oct. 5, 2010.
“Carm has built a winning tradition within our soccer program at York,” said Jennifer Myers, Director, Sport & Recreation. “He is extremely invested in the success of his players both on and off the field, and that passion and commitment is reflected not only in our ranking as one of the best soccer programs in the country, but within the outstanding student-athletes who compete for us. It is tremendous to see Carm’s leadership recognized as the CIS coach of the year.”
Cape Breton’s Dean Morley, UQAM’s Christophe Dutarte and Saskatchewan’s Bryce Chapman were the other finalists.
The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Wednesday with York, Cape Breton, UQAM and UBC leading the way with three selections apiece.
Joining Maheu on the first squad were Victoria goalkeeper Noah Pawlowski, defenders Casey D’Mello of York and Sandro Rajkovic of Cape Breton, midfielders Navid Maschinchi of UBC, Diego Padilha of UNB, Adama Sissoko of Montreal and Brett Lewis of Saskatchewan, as well as strikers Jarek Whiteman of York, Armel Dagrou of UQAM and Kilian Elkinson of Toronto. 
The second unit is comprised of UQAM keeper Nizar Houhou, defenders Maxime Leconte of UQAM, Paul Clerc of UBC, Kevin Cossette of Laval and Bryan Fong of UBC, midfielders Jonathan Lao of York, Ian Greedy of Cape Breton and Martin Dabrowski of Ryerson, as well as forwards Marcus Lees of UNB, Jared Agyemang of Guelph and Amaury Fauvergue of Laval.
Maschinchi (2011, 2013-2014) and Lewis (2012-2013-2014) became three-time all-Canadians, while D’Mello, Rajkovic, Padilha, Clerc, Lao and Greedy were all honoured for the second straight season.
Joe Johnson Memorial Trophy (player of the year): Justin Maheu, Cape Breton
Lou Bilek Award (rookie of the year): Chris Serban, UBC
Student-Athlete Community Service Award: Mario Kovacevic, Toronto
Coach of the year: Carmine Isacco, York

Pos. Athlete University Year Hometown Academic Program
G Noah Pawloski Victoria 3 Victoria, BC Humanities
D Casey D’Mello York 5 Mississauga, ON Kin. & Health Science
D Sandro Rajkovic Cape Breton 3 Hamilton, ON Business Admin.
M Navid Mashinchi UBC 5 Port Moody, BC Business
M Diego Padiha UNB 2 Maceio, Brazil Engineering
M Adama Sissoko Montreal 3 Bamako, Mali Political Science
M Brett Levis Saskatchewan 4 Saskatoon, SK Arts & Science
S Jarek Whiteman York 3 Brampton, ON Psychology
S Justin Maheu Cape Breton    2 Ottawa, ON BACS
S Armel Dagrou UQAM 4 Montreal, QC Sociology
S Kilian Elkinson Toronto 5 Toronto, ON Philosophy
D Nizar Houhou UQAM 2 Meulon, France Open Studies
D Maxime Leconte UQAM 2 Montreal, QC Literature
D Paul Clerc UBC 5 Coquitlam, BC Kinesiology
D Kevin Cossette Laval 4 Greenfield Park, QC Sports Intervention
M Bryan Fong UBC 3 Vancouver, BC Kinesiology
M Jonathan Lao York 2 Unionville, ON Liberal Arts
M Ian Greedy Cape Breton 4 Lower Sackville, NS Business Admin.
S Martin Dabrowski Ryerson 4 Barrie, ON Business Management
S Marcus Lees UNB 2 Barrie, ON Kinesiology
S Jared Agyemang Guelph 3 Brampton, ON Psychology
Amaury Fauvergue Laval 2 Montbeliard, France Management