ASHEVILLE — Four Knights from three different St. Andrews University sports programs were selected as Appalachian Athletic Conference players of the week for their stellar play.
Junior goalkeeper Leandro Custodio and junior midfielder Filipe Checco of the men’s soccer team were recognized, as were freshman goalkeeper Gianna Annichiarico of the women’s soccer team and senior setter Jaden Lynch of the Knights volleyball squad.
Custodio and Checco were honored for their respective performances in the quarterfinal round of the AAC tournament, where St. Andrews posted a 3-0 win against Tennessee Wesleyan.
Custodio was awarded Defensive Player of the Week after he made seven saves in the victory. The shutout win was the third this season time he’s helped hold an opponent scoreless. The junior ranks first in the AAC with 91 saves, and leads the league with an average of 5.7 saves per contest. It is the second time this year Custodio has received the honor — he also earned the award the week of Sept. 14.
His teammate Checco was honored after the junior scored two goals in the victory against Bulldogs. Checco is second on the team with eight goals this year, and he’s also dished out three assists. It is the first time this year the Southampton, England native has garnered the award.
Custodio, Checco and the rest of the Knights will attempt to knock off the AAC’s top seed, Bryan, today when the two programs take the pitch at 4 p.m for the semifinal match.
The St. Andrews women’s soccer team is also still alive in its hunt for a conference crown, thanks in large part to the efforts Annichiarico. The freshman played well above her year in the Knights’ two conference tournament wins last week, earning Defensive Player of the Week honors.
She made 15 combined saves in the two matches, including 11 stops in St. Andrews’ quarterfinal win over Point. The Plantation, Florida product also connected on a penalty kick during the shootout victory over Skyhawks to help the Knights advance to today’s semifinal tilt against Truett-McConnell. Annichiarico has brought home the award the week of Sept. 14.
St. Andrews volleyball is having one of its best seasons in program history, and Lynch has been a major catalyst during the Knights’ recent stretch of impressive play. The AAC’s Setter of the Week helped St. Andrews win three of four games a week ago and racked up 134 assists during that span.
In the Knights’ 3-0 victory over Columbia, Lynch handed out 38 assists and she ranks second in the AAC with 9.4 assists per set. This is the third time this year that the Williston, North Dakota native has been honored.
St. Andrews, which is 20-9 and the No. 3 seed heading into conference tournament play, will begin its hunt for an AAC championship when it plays No. 6 Tennessee Wesleyan Thursday in quarterfinal action.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.