By Mike Ballard
PHILADELPHIA - Sophomore midfielder Pat Baldiserra (Milmay, NJ/Buena Regional) was named the Rutgers University-Camden men's soccer team MVP for 2005 when the Scarlet Raptors held their annual post-season banquet Sunday, Dec. 4, at Dave and Buster's in Philadelphia.
The Raptors also cited senior back Brandon Bond (Cinnaminson, NJ/Cinnaminson) as the team’s Defensive Player of the Year, while senior midfielder Baris Uslu (Giresun, Turkey, Triton Regional) earned honors as the club's Offensive Player of the Year.
Senior forward Kevin Ridgway (Cinnaminson, NJ/Cinnaminson) was honored for scoring the “Goal of the Year” on the deciding tally in a 2-0 win over Montclair State University Oct. 22. The goal, scored at 7:10 on a shot inside the left post, was assisted by Uslu and Baldiserra.
Baldiserra earned his MVP honor after another sterling season in which he captured his second consecutive First Team All-New Jersey Athletic Conference honor. He tied for second on the team in scoring (six goals, six assists for 18 points), and tied Uslu for the team lead with three game-winning goals. He also earned Raptor of the Week honors Sept. 19, 2005. Baldiserra’s sophomore season followed a banner freshman year in 2004 in which he was named NCAA Division III All-Metro Region, NJAC Rookie of the Week (Sept. 20), Raptor of the Week (Sept. 13) and was tabbed as the team’s Rookie of the Year, in addition to his NJAC First Team honor.
In Baldiserra’s first two seasons, the Business major has notched 10 goals and 11 assists for 31 career points.
Uslu, one of the team’s tri-captains, led the Raptors in scoring (eight goals, five assists for 21 points), earned Raptor of the Week honors Oct. 10 and added NJAC Offensive Player of the Week recognition the same day. He capped his senior season earning All-NJAC Honorable Mention recognition.
A two-time All-Mideast Junior College and All-Region 19 player at Camden County College, Uslu transferred to Rutgers-Camden for the 2003 season. That year he was cited as the Raptors’ “Top Offensive Player” after scoring six goals and three assists for 15 points. He was named to the all-tournament team as Rutgers-Camden won the St. Joseph’s College-Patchogue Tournament (Sept. 13-14, 2003), and he was the Raptor of the Week and NJAC Offensive Player of the Week Sept. 22, 2003. He was sidelined in 2004 by an injury before finishing his career this fall. In 43 career games (42 starts) at Rutgers-Camden, he collected 14 goals (four game-winning goals) and eight assists for 36 career points.
Bond played in all 21 games this season as one of the Raptors two center backs, collecting one assist. He earned Raptor of the Week honors Nov. 7.
During their outstanding four-year careers, Bond and Ridgway established a new program record, playing in 80 games. Bond, who was named the team’s Most Improved Player in 2004, finished with four goals and four assists for 12 career points as a fullback. He also earned Second Team Academic All-District II and Second Team NJAC All-Academic honors last season.
Ridgway collected 38 career points (15 goals, eight assists) as a Scarlet Raptor, including five game-winning goals. He was named Second Team All-NJAC and NCAA Division III All-Metro Region Third Team last season after leading the Raptors in scoring (7-4-18).
The Raptors posted a 15-5-1 record, tying the 2004 team for the most wins in program history. Rutgers-Camden finished second in the conference regular-season race, advanced to the NJAC title game for the first time in program history and was ranked as high as No. 23 nationally (Nov. 1).