Castillo named Defensive Player of the Year; four Rams honored with A-10 accolades

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Four student-athletes from the VCU Men's Soccer team were honored by the Atlantic 10 for their performance on and off the pitch on Wednesday, highlighted by senior Dennis Castillo who was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year.

Along with Defensive Player of the Year honors, Castillo also earned a spot on the All-Conference First Team. Sophomore Rafael Andrade Santos was named to the All-Atlantic 10 Second Team while newcomer Lyndsey Moreland picked up All-Rookie honors. Sophomore goalkeeper Pierre Gardan was named to the Academic All-Conference Team.

Castillo has played an essential role on VCU's backline since his arrival in the River City. He is part of the defensive unit that posted a 0.68 goals against average in league play. Last season Castillo anchored the Rams defense that was ranked 11th in the nation in goals against average (0.65). The San Jose, Costa Rica native is also tied for the team lead with three goals.

Santos, who was named to the A-10 All-Rookie team last season, scored his first collegiate goal against Hartford, which sparked a streak where he scored in three consecutive games. The Rio de Janiero native created the opportunity, and was credited with the assist on VCU's thrilling overtime game-winner at Dayton on Saturday. 

A Richmond native, Moreland, made his debut in a 3-0 victory over Jacksonville. The freshman has since made 13 appearances, including nine starts. The midfielder scored his first career goal for the Rams in a victory over St. Bonaventure. 

Gardan has started 15 games in goal with a record of 5-6-4. The sophomore posted four consecutive shutouts, and recorded a total of six during the regular season. The Lorient, France registered a career-best five saves in three matches, including against defending national champion, Virginia. In the classrom, Gardan posts a 3.857 GPA in Business Foundations.

VCU begins A-10 Tournament play Thursday (Nov. 12) against George Washington at 11:00 a.m. in Fairfax, Va. All games will be available on the Atlantic 10 Network.