Eye on POY: Delaware boys soccer

The fall soccer season may have concluded, but the search for Gatorade State Boys Soccer Players of the Year is in full swing. The award recognizes not only athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field. Here are two top candidates who meet the basic award criteria as determined by our ESPNHS team that administers the program’s selection process.

Matthew Hogsten

Senior forward, Dover (Del.)

2011 Team record: 10-5-1

2011 Team standing: Lost state tournament first round

2011 Goals: 20

2011 Assists: 14

2011 Points per game: 2.13

Career goals: 67

Career assists: 31

Academics: A-minus average

Collegiate destination: Undecided

How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: The Senators averaged 4.07 goals per game with Hogsten in the lineup and 1.50 goals per game in the two games he missed. Had a direct hand in 34 of Dover's 60 goals (56.7 percent). 2011 NSCAA All-Region II selection. Two-time First Team All-State selection. Three-time All-Henlopen Conference selection.

Josh Mercer

Senior midfielder, Indian River (Dagsboro, Del.)

2011 Team record: 13-3-1

2011 Team standing: Lost state tournament quarterfinals

2011 Goals: 15

2011 Assists: 9

2011 Points per game: 2.00

Career goals: 45

Career assists: 30

Academics: A average

Collegiate destination: New Jersey Institute of Technology

How he’s played herself into the State POY conversation: Had a direct hand in 23 of Indian River's 75 goals (30.7 percent). Recorded a goal and an assist in the Indians' 3-2 overtime loss to eventual state runner-up St. Mark’s (Wilmington, Del.) in the quarterfinals. Has traveled to play in Germany and Italy as a member of the U.S. Youth Soccer Region I Olympic Development Team. Two-time First Team All-State selection. 2011 Henlopen Conference Player of the Year. Four-time First Team All-Henlopen Conference selection.

Make no mistake, the Gatorade State Boys Soccer Player of the Year race isn’t over yet. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list. Here are some more of many who’ve been in the conversation throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

Moja Hale: Junior forward, Salesianum School (Wilmington, Del.)

Devon Malfitano: Senior forward, Archmere Academy (Claymont, Del.)

Angus Maloney: Junior forward, Tower Hill (Wilmington, Del.)

Jordan Poarch: Senior forward/midfielder, Sanford School (Hockessin, Del.)

Jordan Raynor: Senior defender/forward, Concord (Wilmington, Del.)

Think we're missing a deserving Gatorade State Player of the Year candidate in your state? Let us know via e-mail at ESPNHS_GPOY@ESPN.com.