MISL announced its players of the week as follows:
GOALKEEPER OF THE WEEK
Danny Waltman, Chicago Storm
Danny Waltman saved 10 of 15 shots as the Chicago Storm improved to 5-7 with their most impressive win of the 2005-06 Major Indoor Soccer League season, a 6-5 overtime win over the first-place Milwaukee Wave before the home crowd at the UIC Pavilion on Sunday evening.
Waltman, a MISL All-Rookie Team selection in 2004-05, played 65:25 minutes of the Storm's win, earning his fourth win of the year when Lazo Alavanja scored the overtime game-winner off of an assist from Gaston Pernia. The goal came with Waltman and Chicago a man down (short handed) and represented the second time that Waltman and the Storm was able to survive a Milwaukee Wave power play in the game's final 10 minutes. For the Storm, it was the team's second-straight victory.
For the Wave, it was the team's first road loss of the season, their first loss of the season to Chicago, and the team's second-consecutive loss overall. Chicago's victory further tightened the race in the MISL standings, as Milwaukee slipped into a first-place tie with St. Louis, both at 9-3.
Chicago, now tied for fourth-place with Philadelphia, moved to within four games of the MISL co-leaders with its 5-7 record. The individual award is Waltman's second MISL Goalkeeper of the Week honor of the season (Nov. 21, 2005). He's started 11 of 12 games for the Storm, has a record of 4-7, a 5.15 goals against average and a 67.3 save percentage. In his first MISL season in 2004-05, the University of Washington graduate and Gig Harbor, Wash., native, started 36 of 39 games for the Storm, led MISL goalkeepers in minutes played (2145), had a record of 18-18, a goals against average of 5.23, and a 68.7 save percentage.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
D.J. Newsom, St. Louis Steamers
D.J. Newsom wasn't the only star, but rather one of many key components involved with the dismantling of Milwaukee Wave in the St. Louis Steamers 10-4 road win on Friday night. The 27-year-old defender, and sixth-year indoor soccer professional, assisted in an incredible defensive effort that limited the high-powered Wave offense to a season-low eight shots on goal, which enabled goalkeeper Brett Phillips to score a victory with only four saves.
In addition, Newsom scored a goal for the second consecutive game as the Steamers improved to 9-3, which following the Wave's second loss of the weekend, pulled the MISL rivals into a tie atop the League standings, both with 9-3 records.
In helping their team win eight of nine games, St. Louis defenders have earned four consecutive MISL Defensive Player of the Week awards. First it was Mali Walton (Dec. 27), Randy Soderman (Jan. 2) and Genoni Martinez (Jan.9), and now Newsom (Jan. 16). The Steamers yield an MISL-low 4.7 goals per game, a figure that is tied with Milwaukee for the best in the League.
Newsom graduated from Rosary High School in St. Louis in 1996 and was a first-team all-state selection as a senior. He was a four-year starter at Quincy (Ill.) University, before beginning his professional indoor career in St. Louis in 2000. He played one season with the Cleveland Force (2002-03) before returning to St. Louis the following season. In 2004-05, Newsom played 28 games for the Steamers, with nine goals, three assists and 25 blocks. This season, in 13 games, he has three goals, one assist, and 13 blocks for St. Louis.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Lazo Alavanja, Chicago Storm
Lazo Alavanja played the hero in Sunday's 6-5 overtime victory for the Chicago Storm against the Milwaukee Wave at the UIC Pavilion. Alavanja, one of the original members of the Storm's 2004-05 inaugural team, and a Crown Pointe, Ind., native, scored the game-winning goal at 5:29 of overtime off the assist from Gaston Pernia, helping the Storm to its second consecutive win, and first against rival Milwaukee this season.
He also assisted on Awadalla Morad's game-tying third quarter goal that capped a Chicago comeback from an early 4-1 Milwaukee lead. Alavanja, one of the League's top midfielders, now has six goals, two assists, and eight blocks in 11 games.
One season ago, Alavanja led Chicago midfielders with 33 blocked shots. He was tied for second on the Storm in assists with 13, and was second in shots with 102. Prior to his joining the Storm, Alavanja was a three-time All-American at Indiana University and played four professional outdoor seasons with Dallas and D.C. United of Major League Soccer (MLS).