NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – For the first time in 15 years, the Saint Joseph's men's soccer program has turned in an Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team performer as junior Leon Maric was tabbed one of three First Team forwards for the 2018 season, in voting conducted by the league's head coaches and announced on Thursday afternoon. Additionally, sophomore defender David Grana earned a spot on the A-10 All-Academic Team, in voting conducted by the league's Sports Information Directors.
Maric led all A-10 performers in goals with 12 on the year, including six in league play. In SJU's third A-10 match of the season, Maric scored the overtime, match-winning goal to upset then-#21 Fordham (98') and never looked back, scoring in four of the Hawks' next five conference matches against Davidson (59'), St. Bonaventure (2', 69'), then-#25 Rhode Island (76'), and Saint Louis (50'). Maric also dished out an assist at George Mason (21') to register at least one point in six of eight total league matches.
In non-conference action, Maric scored in six of 10 matches, with goals against Saint Peter's (24'), Stony Brook (8'), Sacred Heart (31'), Navy (9'), VMI (28'), and Drexel (8'); Maric's match-winner against Navy gave the Hawks their first win over the Midshipmen in program history.
Making all 18 starts as SJU's first option up top, the transfer out of the University of Virginia made an immediate impact for the Crimson and Gray in his first season on Hawk Hill, leading the Hawks in goals (12), points (25), match-winning goals (4), and penalty-kick goals (2). Maric became the first Hawk to score 12 goals in a season since Ryan Dougherty scored 12 in 1994 and finished the season tied for fifth, with Dougherty, in SJU's single-season records for goals.
Maric becomes SJU's 11th A-10 First Team honoree in program history, joining John McIntyre (1991, 1992, 1993), current head coach Don D'Ambra (1992, 1993), John Gallagher (1994), Sean Vliet (1994), Aleksander Peev (1998), Matt Cox (1999), and Adam Duffy (2003). He is the first A-10 First Teamer under D'Ambra's direction.
Grana is one of 15 selections across the league to earn All-Academic honors as a "starter or key contributor with a GPA of 3.0 or higher." The sophomore, who started all 18 matches, led the Hawks in minutes played (1,653) and turned in 16 full matches as a right back on a defensive line that recorded four clean sheets. He scored his first collegiate goal against Sacred Heart (59') and dished out a pair of assists against St. Bonaventure (69') and Drexel (15').
Grana holds a 4.0 in biology and is one of just four sophomores athletically (three academically) to be voted onto the squad. He becomes SJU's 16th A-10 All-Academic Team honoree in program history, joining Ed DeLisle (1991), Pete Walsh (1992), Roy Dumaran (1993), Andy Wallace (1993, 1994, 1995), Mike Blue (1994, 1995), Joe Deily (1994), Dougherty (2001), Matt James (2002, 2003), Tim Brennan (2011, 2012), and past back-line-mate Ben Zambetti (2017).
Maric and Grana led SJU to an overall record of 8-7-3 (2-3-3 A-10) and a home record of 6-0-2 as the Hawks were unbeaten on Sweeney Field this fall.