FOREST, Va. – The Old Dominion Athletic Conference announced its 2015 all-conference football team on Tuesday and Washington and Lee had 12 players honored, while also collecting the Coach of the Year Award.
Despite the first 7-0 season in conference history, the Generals claimed just three first team selections. Junior Michael LaSala (Wilton, Conn. / Wilton) and sophomore Chris Osier (Lebanon, Tenn. / Lebanon) both garnered First Team All-ODAC laurels on the offensive line, while sophomore linebacker Max Garrett (Fairfield, Conn. / Choate Rosemary Hall) was named First Team All-ODAC as well.
Senior offensive lineman Raymond Monasterski (Roswell, Ga. / Westminster), senior defensive end Moody Heard (Houston, Texas / Episcopal), junior running back Marshall Hollerith (Richmond, Va. / St. Christopher's) and junior placekicker Matt Underhill (Bethesda, Md. / Landon) were all placed on the second team. Senior defensive lineman Patrick Wright (Tampa, Fla. / H.B. Plant), junior quarterback Charlie Nelson (Redding, Conn. / St. Luke's), junior running back Connor Chess (Fairfax, Va. / Flint Hill), junior tight end Jack Taylor (Broad Run, Va. / Battlefield) and sophomore defensive back Michael Shields (Charlotte, N.C. / Charlotte Country Day) all received third team accolades.
Head Coach Scott Abell collected the ODAC Coach of the Year Award for the second time in four seasons with the Generals. After posting a 2-8 record in 2014, he led W&L to its first undefeated regular season in 54 years, recording a school-record 10 wins (10-1). The Generals attained their first national ranking in 65 years and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament after being picked sixth in the ODAC preseason coaches poll. Abell is now 25-17 (.595) in his four seasons.
LaSala and Osier both started all 11 games on the offensive line, LaSala at tackle and Osier at guard. For both, this marks their first career postseason honor. As a team, W&L rushed for an NCAA-best 433.9 yards per game this season and set school records for both total offense (5,439 yds.) and scoring (417 pts.).
Garrett started all 11 games at linebacker and led the team and finished second in the conference in total tackles with 105 stops. He also had four pass breakups for a defense that allowed an average of just 21.9 points per game in conference contests. He will enter his junior season already posting 158 career tackles.
Monasterski started all 11 games at center and finished his career as one of just three players in school history to have played in a W&L-record 42 career games. He helped the Generals lead all of college football in rushing and W&L ranks among the Division III leaders in total offense (494.5 ypg) and scoring (37.9 ppg).
Heard earned second team laurels for the second straight year after ranking fifth on the team in tackles with 52 total stops. He started all 11 games and notched 6.0 tackles for a loss (-26) and tied for the team-lead with 3.0 sacks (-17). Additionally, he posted three forced fumbles, two pass breakups and one interception. Heard finished his career with 141 tackles, six pass breakups, four forced fumbles, three sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.
Hollerith played in 10 games and ranked second on the team in rushing with 850 yards on 161 carries. He led the team with 13 touchdowns and finished fifth in the conference in scoring with 78 points. A Third Team All-ODAC pick last year and a second-teamer as a first-year, Hollerith garnered the ODAC Rookie of the Year Award in 2013. Through three seasons, he already ranks fifth on the school's all-time rushing list with 2,634 career yards. His 35 career rushing touchdowns rank second all-time at W&L.
Underhill garnered his first career postseason honor after ranking second on the team and sixth in the ODAC in scoring with 69 points. He went 4-of-6 (.667) on field goals and 57-of-58 (.983) on PAT's during the season. His 57 made PAT's are a school-record and he also set a record by booting a 51-yard field goal in a 20-17 win over Guilford. Underhill will enter his senior season 13-of-21 (.619) on field goals and 89-of-91 (.978) on PAT attempts.
Wright earned third team laurels for the second year in a row after starting all 11 games at defensive line. He finished with 28 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for a loss (-27). Wright also notched 3.0 sacks for a loss of 24 yards. Like Monasterski, Wright also tied the school record for games played in a career (42). He tallied 119 tackles and 12 sacks (-78) over his four seasons.
Nelson quarterbacked the offense to one of the greatest seasons in school history to earn his first career honor. He completed 23-of-58 passes for 431 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions and was third on the team in rushing despite missing two games. He totaled 755 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, carrying the ball 119 times. After three seasons, Nelson claims 1,535 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns and he has completed 43.8 percent of his passes for 1,265 yards and six scores.
Chess finished his junior campaign as the team's leading rusher with 882 yards and 10 touchdowns on 112 carries. He started all 11 games and averaged 7.9 yards per rush, with three 100-yard rushing efforts during the season. He enters his senior season with 1,030 career rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
Taylor started all 11 games at tight end, earning his first postseason honor. In addition to blocking for the most prolific rushing offense in college football, he also finished third on the team in receiving with five catches for 129 yards. He averaged 25.8 yards per catch on the season. Taylor has 12 catches for 240 yards and one touchdown for his career.
Shields started all 11 games at safety and was the team's third-leading tackler with 63 total stops, 54 of which were solo tackles. He also had seven pass breakups, forced three fumbles and intercepted three passes for the season. Through two years, Shields has 104 tackles and four interceptions.
Guilford senior quarterback Matt Pawlowski earned the J. Stokeley Fulton Offensive Player of the Year Award, while Shenandoah senior defensive lineman Jake Payne received the Lou Wacker Defensive Player of the Year Award. Hampden-Sydney running back Kyree Koonce was named the ODAC Rookie of the Year.
Washington and Lee saw its season close on Saturday with a 51-21 loss to ninth-ranked Thomas More in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. The Generals will carry an 11-game regular-season unbeaten streak into the 2016 season.