The Big Ten released its list of men’s soccer award recipients for the regular season on Friday, with seven members of the No. 10 Maryland men’s soccer team earning recognition.
The standout selections of the day were that of midfielder Ben Bender and forward Joshua Bolma, who won Midfielder of the Year and Freshman of the Year, respectively.
Bender followed up his breakout freshman season in the spring with a dominant second season. His seven goals pace the team and are atop the conference leaderboard.
Although he started the year slow, Bender has rattled off goals in five consecutive matches. This torrid stretch aided the sophomore in earning the distinction by unanimous decision.
Bolma spent the spring season with the Terrapins but was ineligible to hit the pitch. After a year on the sidelines, he burst onto the scene for head coach Sasho Cirovski’s squad.
In his first two Big Ten games against Michigan and Ohio State, Bolma tallied five points on two goals and an assist. Finishing second on the team in both goals scored and points, Bolma’s speed and versatility have been a welcome addition to the offense.
Defender Brett St. Martin is the lone first-teamer for the Terrapins after garnering second-team honors in the spring, while goalkeeper Niklas Neumann has rebounded nicely to after his previous season ended prematurely due to injury, earning second-team honors.
St. Martin and Neumann have been catalysts for Maryland’s stout defense, one that has allowed an average of 0.76 goals per game. Neumann has recorded 32 saves this season. Another piece of the Terps’ formidable backline is defender William Kulvik, who earned All-Big Ten freshman team honors for his excellent play at right back.
Forward Caden Stafford is the other Terp to land on the All-Big Ten freshman team after tallying three goals across eight starts, including the game-winning goal in the season opener versus Charlotte.
Forward Justin Gielen was also recognized by the conference as he received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for the Terrapins. Gielen has been a steady veteran presence for the Terrapins this season, one that has undoubtedly had a huge impact on such a talented young team searching for its first Big Ten Tournament title since 2016.