EMMITSBURG, Md. – Zoncher Dennis (Swarthmore, Pa./Swarthmore), a member of the Mount St. Mary's men's soccer team, has been named the Northeast Conference (NEC) Rookie of the Year, announced on Thursday. Dennis was also named to the All-NEC first team while seniors Ian Hendrie (Potomac, Md./St. Andrews Episcopal School) and Chris Wheeler (Newcastle, Australia/St. Francis Xavier) were selected to the All-NEC second team.
Dennis, a 5-8 freshman midfielder, became the fourth player in program history to earn NEC Rookie of the Year honors. The freshman, who also nabbed a spot on the All-NEC first team, paced the NEC in goals (11), goals per game (0.69), points (23), points per game (1.44) and game-winning goals (6) while ranking ninth in shots per game (2.19). He became the sixth player in Mount Division I history to reach double digits for goals and his 11 tallies rank fifth on the Mount Division I single-season chart. Dennis tied a single-game program record when he scored four times against LaSalle on Sept. 24.
"Dennis gave us another offensive spark with this year's team which enabled us to lead the league in scoring," said head coach Rob Ryerson.
Dennis is the Mount's first recipient of the league's Rookie of the Year honor since Wheeler won the award in 2008 while Duncan Gladwin (1996) and Niall Lepper (1999) also took home NEC Rookie of the Year honors for the Mountaineers. Dennis became the third player in NEC history to earn four NEC Rookie of the Week awards.
Hendrie, a 6-0 senior midfielder, nabs his first career All-NEC selection with his second-team recognition. The senior ranked second on the team with three goals and seven assists for 13 points. Hendrie ranked second in the league in assists (7) and assists per game (0.41). The seven assists were the eighth most in Mount Division I history for a single season. Hendrie, who finished his career with seven goals and seven assists for 21 points, notched a career-best two goals and one assist against Iona on Sept. 11.
"I'm glad that Ian has been recognized for his efforts this season," said Ryerson. "He has contributed to the sucess of our team's offensive output."
Wheeler, a 6-0 senior forward, finished his outstanding career with his fourth All-NEC selection. The senior was named to the All-NEC second team in 2008 and 2011 after two-straight All-NEC first-team honors in 2009 and 2010. Wheeler is the second player in program history to earn an all-conference selection all four years, joining Mark Southern (1994-97). The senior ranked third on the team with three goals and five assists for 11 points. The 2008 NEC Rookie of the Year paced the league in shots (71) and shots per game (4.44) and ranked sixth in assists (5) and assists per game (0.31).
"Chris has been the backbone of the program for the last four years and well deserved that he receives another all-conference selection," said Ryerson.
Wheeler finished his career as the program's all-time career leader in shots (303) and the Mount's Division I leader in goals (36) and points (83) while ranking third in program history in goals and fourth in points. The senior established a new Mount Division I single-season mark for goals in a season after scoring 13 times last season.
It marks the first time since the 2000 season that the Mount placed three players on the all-conference squad. The Mountaineers also had at least three players honored in 1989 and 1999.
Mount St. Mary's finished 8-7-2 overall and 5-4-1 in NEC play. It was the first time the Mountaineers finished with a winning mark since 2003 while the squad posted a winning record in the league for the third time in the last four years. The Mount finished the regular season leading the NEC in points (74) and goals (24) and ranked second in assists (26).