WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Andy Huntington and Stephen Phillips, the leading scorers on the Whitman College men's soccer team, have earned spots on the All-Northwest Conference First Team.
Voting by NWC coaches also singled out Whitman's Brett Axelrod, who was named to the All-NWC Second Team, and Craig Yuen, who received Honorable Mention recognition.
Phillips, a junior midfielder, led Whitman in scoring this fall for a second consecutive season. His 12 goals and three assists made him the second-leading scorer in the NWC.
Huntington, a senior forward who led Whitman in scoring as a sophomore and freshman, finished his senior campaign with eight goals and five assists, making him the fifth-leading scorer in the conference.
Axelrod, a junior goalkeeper, had four shutouts on the season and limited eight other opponents to a single goal.
Yuen, a defender in his first three seasons, moved into the midfield as a senior, contributing one goal and tying Huntington for the team lead in assists with five.
Huntington, a four-year starter, had three game-winning goals this season, all of them coming against conference foes. "Andy likes to enjoy the game and is a true free spirit," Washington said. "He had that rare ability to find moments of brilliance on the field. His goals were never simple. He scored some of the most stunning goals I've ever seen. This past year alone, he almost ripped the net off against Saint Martin's, and then he dropped in an amazing 40-yard volley against Willamette."
Huntington, an anthropology major who played his prep ball for Seattle's Garfield High School, finished his Whitman career with 18 goals and 10 assists. "Andy was fun to coach and fun to watch play," Washington said.
Phillips, a Whitman team captain and graduate of Waterford School (Sandy, Utah), earned NWC Offensive Player of the Week honors in early September after scoring three goals that sparked two season-opening victories for the Missionaries. Three of his four game-winning goals this season came against NWC opponents. His most dramatic goal of the season came with just 90 seconds left in overtime to lift Whitman to a 2-1 victory over Pacific.
"Stephen is one of the best players we've had in my 10 years here," Whitman coach Mike Washington said. "His in-game ability to read situations is excellent. He is very creative on the ball and can be deadly in one-on-one situations. He is a great playmaker who also has that knack for finding the net."
Phillips, who is majoring in studio art and religion, leads by virtue of his strong work ethic, Washington said. "Stephen is very team orientated and never does anything to promote himself over the needs of his team. He plays in a way that his teammates all respect and admire."
Axelrod, a three-year starter at keeper, had three of his shutouts this fall against NWC opponents. He surrendered just one goal in each of five other conference games. "Brett is a remarkable athlete," Washington said. "He has become such a key to our team. He makes remarkable saves that keep us in games we might otherwise lose."
Axelrod, a race & ethnic studies major from Union, N.J., scored his first college point in this fall's season-opening victory at La Sierra University. He was credited with an assist when his long punt carried well past the midfield stripe and bounced at the feet of a teammate who then beat the keeper one-on-one.
"Only when you train with Brett on a daily basis do you get a real sense of his athleticism," Washington said. "He is not the biggest keeper, but he can out jump almost anyone he plays against, and he has cat-like reflexes. He comes up big in big games. He has single-handedly saved the day for us at times."
Yuen, a four-year starter, adapted quickly this fall to his new role at the center of Whitman's midfield corps. "Craig moved to the midfield and kept getting better and more effective all season," Washington said. "He has great vision and excellent passing skills. He also never loses possession in one-on-one situations. He was so very good under game pressure. He was our Mr. Dependable."
A psychology major and graduate of Skyline High School (Sammamish, Wash.), Yuen finished his Whitman career with nine goals and six assists. "Craig kept his composure," Washington said. "He was always the right player to take our corner kicks and penalty kicks."