Thursday, August 31, 2017

2017 Lycoming College Men’s Soccer preview: Ready to rebound

Photo courtesy of  Lycoming Sports Information
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Two years removed from MAC Commonwealth championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III Sweet 16, the Lycoming College men’s soccer team is ready to make a run at the conference title once again after a season in which the team just missed out on the MAC Commonwealth tournament for the first time in head coach Nate Gibboney’s four years.

Armed with nine returning starters, including four all-conference selections, plus a deep and talented freshmen class, Gibboney and the Warriors are in position to get back into the mix in a deeply talented MAC Commonwealth. The team will play a competitive non-conference schedule by first heading to Rowan University for the Gilmore Alumni Classic where they will face perennial powers Rutgers-Camden and Rowan on Sept. 1-2.

“I don’t really have an explanation for last year,” Gibboney said. “Obviously if we knew what it was, we would’ve made those changes last year. We had a bunch of bad breaks that didn’t go our way last year that went our way the year before. I can’t say we’re trying to fix a whole lot, but we are trying to get back to the basics. We return a good group of guys and we’re going to keep grinding and hope those breaks go our way.”

The Breakdown: Senior Duc Momo (Silver Spring, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase) leads a group of three returners from a season ago, as he played in 17 games while starting 15. An honorable mention all-conference selection in 2015, Momo gives the team a consistently top-notch work rate and solid speed and footwork.

Sophomore Steven Riad (Bethlehem, Pa./Freedom), after playing in 19 games and starting three, will also continue to see time up front where he will look to add on to his four career goals. A blazing fast and talented player, Riad will be a welcome compliment to Momo.

After appearing in two games, junior Evan Zewe (Lewistown, Pa./Mifflin County) will look to push for more playing time.

Coach’s Take: “A lot of returning guys are capable of playing up top. Duc is a four-year starter now. He’s provided a lot of leadership up there. We have other guys that also have good experience and will get some looks up there. Steven Riad, Lance Klinger, Alex Henry, Keenthy Yeboah are all guys I may switch up top from the midfield some. So there’s certainly lot of guys that logged good minutes in the past that we’ll get a run up there and hopefully score some goals for us this fall.”

Who Returns: Evan Zewe, Jr., Lewistown, Pa./Mifflin County; Duc Momo, Sr., Silver Spring, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase; Steven Riad, So., Bethlehem, Pa./Freedom.

Newcomers: Serebe Kajubi, Fr., Elkton, Md./Elkton.

The Breakdown: A loaded group of midfielders return with a combined 132 games played and 62 starts, led by two two-time all-region selections, Jordan Logan (Oxford, Pa./Oxford Area) and Abdullahi Abdi (Seattle, Wash./James Garfield). Logan, also a First Team All-MAC Commonwealth pick as a junior, started 18 games and led the squad with eight goals and three assists and the talented center midfielder makes things happen on the inside thanks to his strong soccer sense and impeccable ball control. The speedy Abdi wreaks havoc on the outside midfield position thanks to his footwork and shiftiness. The first player to win three straight all-conference honors in almost a decade, Abdi scored four goals while leading the team with five assists as a junior.

Both players have already left indelible marks on the college’s record book, with Abdi already ninth in school history with 62 career points and Logan 10th with 60 points.

Senior Danny Tierney (Elizabethtown, Pa./Elizabethtown), one of just three players to start in all 19 games in 2016, plays a key role in the defensive midfielder position while helping out on defense and helping facilitate in the transition game.

Senior Kyle Mizell (Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Curley) appeared in 14 games a season ago while starting six. He scored two goals and will add depth to the position along with seniorKeenthy Yeboah (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair), who appeared in just two games while battling injuries last season. In 2014-15, Yeboah totaled eight goals and four assists in the center midfield.

Seniors Mateo Velasquez (Scotrun, Pa./ Pocono Mountain East) and Kyle Stettenbauer(Columbia, Pa./Hempfield) also add valuable experience as Velasquez had a team-leading five assists in 2016 as an outside midfielder while Stettenbauer will continue to play valuable minutes at the center midfield position.

After seeing time in at least 13 games last year, sophomores Lance Klinger (Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg Area), Daniel Anwanwan (Manassas, Va./Stonewall) and Tanner Fonjweng (Bear, Del./Glasgow) will all continue to play key roles and all three could also move into a forward position. 

Coach’s Take: “We return a lot of guys across the midfield. These returners have scored somebig goals for us the last couple of years, most of them have logged a lot of starts and played a lot of key minutes. There is certainly a lot of depth and experience across the midfield, both inside and outside. Those are going to be guys that we look to and will be counting on for big production, not only in terms of starts and minutes but goals, assists and good defending.”

Who Returns: Kyle Mizell, Sr., Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Curley; Abdullahi Abdi, Sr., Seattle, Wash./James Garfield; Keenthy Yeboah, Sr., Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair; Danny Tierney, Sr., Elizabethtown, Pa./Elizabethtown; Tanner Fonjweng, So., Bear, Del./Glasgow;  Daniel Anwanwan, So., Manassas, Va./Stonewall Jackson; Jordan Logan, Sr., Oxford, Pa./Oxford Area; Kyle Stettenbauer, Sr., Columbia, Pa./Hempfield; Lance Klingler, So., Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg Area; Mateo Velasquez, Sr., Scotrun, Pa./ Pocono Mountain East.

Newcomers: Alex Henry, Fr., Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle; Josh Cruz, Fr., Laurel, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt; Jared Moses, Fr., Baltimore, Md./McDonogh School.

The Breakdown: The defense returns both center backs in 2015 All-American Kyle Thomas(Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright) and Honorable Mention All-MAC Commonwealth junior Sainclair Tueno (Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair).

The pair give the Warriors one of the most distinct advantages in the MAC Commonwealth thanks to their differing styles. The 6-6 Thomas uses positioning to outwit opponents, never letting a defender behind him in 1-on-1 situations, winning nearly every ball out of the air near him and being able to change field position quickly with his strong leg and solid vision. He also can be used on set pieces, as he has headed in goals in wins over Messiah and Oneonta in his career. Tueno, meanwhile, also uses a 6-1 frame and strong body to beat opponents with strength, but he also uses his speed to push tempo and start transition.

On the outside, combined 38 games played and 18 starts are lost from graduating defensive backs, but junior Jake Webb (Fairless Hills, Pa./Conwell-Egan Catholic) returns after starting all 19 games. Sophomore Zach Raut (Baltimore, Md./Sparrows Point) returns after playing in 18 games and earning four starts. Juniors Nathaniel Wilston (Mansfield, Pa./Mansfield), Myles Horst (Loxahatchee, Fla./Seminole Ridge) and sophomore Nick Thornton (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny) all will be vying for playing time as well, along with a group of five freshmen. Sophomore George Charalabidis (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township), after playing in three games at midfield in 2016, will make the move to defense and also look for playing time.

Coach’s Take: “Kyle and Sainclair are very solid. They do so many good things for us. Both of them are vocal guys, get the team organized and they know the expectations. They are as good as anyone in terms of locking down things in the back. We’re certainly expecting big things from those guys in the back.

“We have a good group of young guys. Some freshmen from last year and some incoming guys are looking at those outside back spots right now. Jake Webb played a lot of good minutes last year. We’re looking at him as one of those wide backs and then some current freshmen and some returning sophomores. Nick Thornton and Zach Raut have done very well at outside back. Jared Moses and Mark Rafuse have also played some minutes so far this fall. We have lots of guys that can step in and fill those spots.”

Who Returns: George Charalabidis, So., Sewell, N.J./Washington Township; Myles Horst, Jr., Loxahatchee, Fla./Seminole Ridge; Zach Raut, So., Baltimore, Md./Sparrows Point; Nick Thornton, So., Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny; Sainclair Tueno, Jr., Silver Spring, Md./Montgomery Blair; Kyle Thomas, Sr., Bel Air, Md./C. Milton Wright; Jake Webb, Jr., Fairless Hills, Pa./Conwell-Egan Catholic; Nathaniel Wilston, Jr., Mansfield, Pa./Mansfield.

Newcomers: Nilson Ngana, Fr., Lanham, Md./Montgomery Blair; Arthur Nganou, Fr., Silver Spring, Md./Wheaton; Kamso Onwumechili, Fr., Bowie, Md./Dematha Catholic; Mark Rafuse, Fr., Massapequa, N.Y./Huntington; James Wait, So., Cherry Valley, N.Y./Cherry Valley.

The Breakdown: After the graduation of two-year starter and record-breaker Josh Gildea ’17, the Warriors have three goalkeepers that will battle to take over the starting slot.

Junior Chris Solecki (Hainesport, N.J./Lenape) played in 11 games the last two seasons with seven starts, making 24 saves. As a sophomore, he split time with Gildea early in the season in a battle for the starting job, posting a 1.10 goals-against average, which included a shutout against Susquehanna. Sophomores Caleb Herrin (Fredericksburg, Va./Massaponax), a Division II transfer from Lander University, and Ryan Litterer (Colonia, N.J./Colonia) are also in the mix for goalkeeping minutes.

All three have quick-twitch reflexes to make saves and are quick to distribute the ball and start the attack. However, the starting job will ultimately go to the goalkeeper that can make the best decisions throughout the game.

Coach’s Take: “We have three very solid goalkeepers. Solecki returns from last year after starting in a handful of games, kind of splitting time with Josh. He’s got the upper hand a little bit with his experience and has had a very good preseason. He’s come back more vocal and I think ready to jump in and take the reins back there. Caleb’s a transfer coming in with some college experience and has also had a strong pre-season. He is extremely fit and hungry and is working extremely hard to push Chris in every way that he can.”

Who Returns: Chris Solecki, Jr., Hainesport, N.J./Lenape; Ryan Litterer, So., Colonia, N.J./Colonia.

Newcomers: Caleb Herrin, So., Fredericksburg, Va./Massaponax.

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