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UK men’s soccer star a finalist for national player of the year award

Photo slideshow: Kentucky advances to NCAA soccer’s Elite Eight

Kentucky's men's soccer team defeated Lipscomb 2-1 in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen on Saturday night in Lexington.
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Kentucky's men's soccer team defeated Lipscomb 2-1 in the NCAA Tournament's Sweet Sixteen on Saturday night in Lexington.

Kentucky soccer forward JJ Williams was named one of three finalists for one of college soccer’s most prestigious awards.

The United Soccer Coaches announced Friday the men’s and women’s finalists for the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy and included Williams, along with Indiana senior defender Andrew Gutman and Denver senior forward Andre Shinyashiki.

Williams, a junior, was third in the nation in goals this season with 18. Shinyashiki led the way with 28. Gutman is part of a Hoosiers squad competing this weekend in the College Cup and is part of a back line that has given up the second fewest goals against in the nation this year (.466 average).

Williams was part of a UK team that went 19-2-1 and won the Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles, earning its highest seeding ever into the NCAA Tournament at No. 3. The Cats advanced to the Elite Eight before falling to Maryland last week.

On Thursday, Williams was among three UK players named All-Americans by the United Soccer Coaches. Williams earned a first-team selection. Goalkeeper Enrique Facusse earned second-team honors and defender Aime Mabika, a Henry Clay product, earned third-team recognition.

The MAC Hermann Trophy has been presented to the college soccer player of the year since 1986. The women’s finalists are Stanford senior midfielder Jordan DiBiasi, Georgetown senior forward Caitlin Farrell and Stanford sophomore forward Catarina Macario.

This season’s winners will be announced at the Hermann Trophy banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis on Jan. 4, 2019.

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