By Mike Ballard
CAMDEN - Rutgers University-Camden junior midfielder Pat Baldiserra (Milmay, NJ/Buena Regional) has long been considered one of the best players in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
Now he's expanded his reputation to the rest of the country.
Baldiserra has been honored by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America by being named to the 2006 NSCAA/adidas NCAA Division III All-America Third Team.
Baldiserra becomes the first NSCAA All-American since Rutgers-Camden became an NCAA program. He is only the second All-American in program history, joining Kadalah Kromah, who was named as an NAIA All-American in 1973.
The All-America honor follows a banner year for Baldiserra, who also earned his second straight NSCAA All-Metro Region First Team honor (regional All-American) and was named to the inaugural d3kicks.com All-Metropolitan Region Second Team. Baldiserra captured his third consecutive All-NJAC First Team honor, was named NJAC Defensive Player of the Week Oct. 30, NJAC Offensive Player of the Week Nov. 13 and was the ECAC Div. III Metro Defensive Player of the Week Oct. 31. He also was named the tournament MVP as Rutgers-Camden won the ECAC Metro Soccer Championship Nov. 12 to finish the season with a 13-4-6 record.
Baldiserra collected 13 assists for the season, setting the Rutgers-Camden single-season program record. The old mark of 12 was shared by Ruthven Williams (1976) and Mike Zeno (1995).
Baldiserra also owns 24 career assists and will enter his senior season only four shy of Zeno’s program mark of 28.
The only player in the conference to earn All-NJAC First Team honors in each of the past three seasons, Baldiserra capped his junior year with a goal and three assists while leading the Raptors to the ECAC Metro title. He scored his fourth goal of the season and added an assist in a 5-0 quarterfinal victory over City College of New York Nov. 9, then added an assist in each game over the weekend as the Raptors defeated Richard Stockton (2-1 Nov. 11 in the semifinals) and New Jersey City University (1-0 Nov. 12 in the title game).
Baldiserra finished his season with four goals (two game-winning goals) and a team-leading 13 assists for 21 points. He was second on the team in scoring.
Among Baldiserra’s numerous accomplishments in 2006 was a four-assist game against John Jay College (Oct. 9) in which he tied the school’s single-game program record set by Zeno against Holy Family (Oct. 7, 1995). Baldiserra also scored a goal in that game to finish with six points in the contest.
Through three seasons at Rutgers-Camden, Baldiserra owns 14 goals, five game-winning goals, 24 assists (second) and 52 points (seventh) in 62 career games.
In the final NCAA Division III statistics, Baldiserra tied for 18th nationally with 0.62 assists per game.
The Scarlet Raptors also were ranked among the final NCAA leaders in several other categories, with senior goalkeeper David Cunningham (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern) finishing 20th in save percentage (.882) and 43rd in goals against average (0.706), while Rutgers-Camden ranked among the team leaders in goals against average (0.70) and save percentage (.884).
2006 NSCAA/adidas NCAA Division III Men All-America
* indicates prior selections