BANNER ELK, N.C. — Lincoln Memorial University junior forward Mario Pinto has been named the 2012 Daktronics NCAA Division II Southeast Region Men’s Soccer Player of the Year.
Pinto can add his 2012 Daktronics All-Southeast Region First Team selection and Region Player of the Year honor to a growing list of laurels from the 2012 season. He was named the South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year and All-SAC First Team at the conclusion of the regular season.
Mario came to realize these honors following one of the most impressive statistical seasons in the history of Lincoln Memorial University men’s soccer. Pinto headlined the Railsplitters’ offense, ranked 18th-nationally at the conclusion of their season, with a SAC-leading 21 goals, seven game-winning goals, 47 points and 51 shots on goal. Pinto also ranked second in the league in shots with 89, while finishing sixth in assists with five on the season.
The Uberlandia, Brazil, native also broke onto the national scene ranking second in all of NCAA Division II in points per game (2.61), total points (47), goals per game (1.24) and total goals (21).
Pinto’s 2012 campaign will be remembered as one of the greatest individual performances in LMU men’s soccer history, as his 21 goals is sixth on the all-time single season record list at LMU. He also ranks second in game-winning scores (7), third in shots per game (5.06) and fourth in goals per game (1.24) for his efforts during the 2012 season.
In just two seasons spent with the Railsplitters, Mario has etched his name throughout the all-time record book in the storied history of men’s soccer at Lincoln Memorial. With one season left to bolster his resume, Pinto sits in second in shots per game (4.49) and shots on goal per game (2.40), third in points per game (2.23), third in goals per game (0.97), fourth in shots on goal (84), fourth in game-winning goals (10) and seventh in goals (34).
Mario tallied four hat tricks this season and recorded more than one goal on two other occasions. Pinto notched back-to-back hat tricks against Tusculum College and Brevard College to lead LMU to 5-0 and 5-1 victories.
Pinto had a pair of three-goal, one-assist outings (at King on Sept. 12 and at Queens on Oct. 23) for a season-high seven points in each of those appearances.
Mario was the catalyst for a Railsplitter squad that finished the season with a 13-4-1 mark, advancing all the way to the championship match of the 2012 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament before falling in the waning seconds to Anderson University. LMU was the last team left out of the NCAA Division II Southeast Region Tournament.
The Daktronics NCAA Division II All-Southeast Region Teams are voted on by the sports information directors of the Southeast Region. The region is comprised of the Conference Carolinas, the Peach Belt Conference and the South Atlantic Conference.
As an All-Southeast Region First Team selection, Mario Pinto is now eligible for Daktronics NCAA Division II All-America honors.