CLEVELAND, Ohio – Freshman Thomas M'Barek of the Cleveland State University men's soccer team was named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week in a League announcement Monday afternoon.
While it is the first weekly honor for the CSU rookie, it is the second straight season in which a CSU freshman earned Defensive Player of the Week honors. Sebastian Kalk claimed the award last season.
M'Barek was one of the key factors that helped Cleveland State post a shutout in its 3-0 win at preseason favorite Oakland.
M'Barek started in central defense, for the seventh time in eight matches this season, and helped hold Oakland to only seven shots and just a single shot on goal. He helped limit the hosts to their lowest shot total in their past 14 League matches. Five of Oakland's seven shots came in the final 11 minutes of the game once the Golden Grizzlies had fallen behind 3-0. M'Barek, who played all 90 minutes, also notched an assist on the opening goal of the match, his first collegiate point and the first point by a CSU defender this season.
M'Barek was just one piece of the CSU defensive puzzle this past weekend as senior Kareem Banton, redshirt junior Madifing Conde and freshman Dan Manolache started alongside the rookie in defense. Kalk was directing traffic from between the posts, helping CSU to its second straight shutout.
It is the third consecutive season in which a Viking has claimed Defensive Player of the Week honors. M'Barek is also the first Viking outfield player to earn a weekly defensive award since the League began recognizing two honorees each week in 2012.
After facing the Horizon League preseason favorite this past weekend, CSU will welcome the Patriot League preseason favorite Monday, Sept. 25, at 6:00 p.m.