MEN'S SOCCER OUTLOOK 2011
Walsh University's soccer programs are issuing in a new era this year as the Cavaliers make the transition into the NCAA Division II. Both men and women's programs sport new head coaches. For the men, John Hall takes over the reins once held by Tim Mead, who coached the program 29 years and finished with an overall record of 306 wins, 221 losses, and 32 draws.
Hall comes to the program after spending nine years as the head coach of both the men's and women's teams at Ashland University from 2001 to 2009. Last season, he served as a volunteer assistant at the College of Wooster. He'll inherit a squad with a load of experience and a slew of returning starters and letter winners. While seven letter winners were lost, 22 return, including 10 returning starters.
Of those 22, Ben Truax (Sr., 6-1, Mansfield, OH/St. Peter's) will lead the offensive attack at forward. Last season, Truax led the team in scoring with 15 goals and five assists for 35 points. He ranked No. 19 in the nation points per game at 2.06 and earned first-team All-American Mideast Conference accolades. Truax will be an established target by the opponents. Nathaniel Milhoan (Sr., 5-11, Hartville, OH/Lake) is another player who could see time up front after proving to be a versatile player last season. He started the season out as a defender, but transitioned into an attacking role and scored five goals and two assists. Milhoan ended the season as the fourth-leading scorer and earned a spot on the All-AMC's Second-Team.
The midfield will also be loaded with talent as Matt Bly (Jr., 6-2, Bellbrook, OH/HS) and Jordan Semple (Jr., 5-7, North Canton, OH/GlenOak) return. Bly finished last season with eight goals and five assists for 21 total points, second best on the team in all categories and was an honorable mention All-AMC selection. Semple scored four goals and a team-best seven assists for 15 points, third most on the team. They'll mostly see action on the left side of the midfield, along with Milhoan, but will be interchangeable in terms of positions between the left and right.
New faces will appear on the right side as Brent Townsend (Fr., 5-5, Hudson, OH/Walsh Jesuit) and Michael Dudics (Fr., 5-10, Doylestown, OH/Chippewa) hope to make an immediate impact. Spelling them on the wings will be Chad Dickerhoof (Jr., 6-0, Alliance, OH/Marlington) and Chris Lynch (So., 6-2, Bellbrook, OH/HS). Last season, Lynch was an honorable mention All-AMC after playing in 13 games and scoring a goal.
A strong nucleus of players return in the center as Broc Sutek (Jr., 6-0, Minerva, OH/HS), Ben Latimer (Sr., 5-11, Sunbury, OH/Big Walnut), and George Moga (Sr., 5-10, Akron, OH/Springfield) return. Sutek scored three goals while Latimer played in the back and earned second-team All-AMC honors as a defender. Moga added a goal and an assist. Backing them up will be Kain Melville (Fr. 6-2, South Shields, Newcastle, England/Gateshead) and Quebec Gibbins (So., 5-10, Canton, OH/Jackson).
Hall mentioned during preseason that he is asking more of the midfielders as they adjust to the new system and the formations being implemented. In the new system, the midfielders will make variations to their work rate and stamina.
Speaking of the defense, the back line will be four-strong and will be experienced across the board as eight to 10 players compete for positions. Adam Greenwood (Jr., 5-11, Blackpool, England/Lytham St. Annes) will be looked upon for leadership on the outside left after playing in all 18 games last season with one goal and one assist. At center-left, Derrick Gullen (Sr., 5-10, Steubenville, OH/HS) will provide valuable senior leadership. The Julian Twins, Pat (So., 6-0, Canton, OH/GlenOak) and Marc (So., 5-11, Canton, OH/GlenOak), look to battle it out at center-right. Chad Flath (Sr., 5-10, Wadsworth, OH/HS) is a frontrunner for the outside-right position and will aide Gullen in providing senior leadership. Also competing for positions and expected to see playing are Jarod Weaver (Sr., 5-10, Tipp City, OH/Tippecanoe) at outside-left, Brandon Frederick (Fr., 6-1, Wadsworth, OH/Highland) at center-left, Darby Melville (Fr., 6-2, South Shields, Newcastle, England/Gateshead) at center-right, Christopher Froelich (Fr., 6-0, Columbus, OH/St. Francis DeSales) at outside-right, Tim Cavanaugh (Sr., 5-11, Wadsworth, OH/HS/Mt. Union) at outside-right, and Clint Merck (Sr., 6-0, Randolph, OH/St. Thomas Aquinas) in a utility roll that could also involve the midfield.
Perhaps the most competition will be at goalkeeper as both Mike Kelley (Jr., 6-0, Chagrin Falls, OH/NDCL) and Nate Rech (Sr., 6-0, Lordstown, OH/HS) return after splitting the season between the pipes last year. Kelley played in 13 games and sported a 1.98 goals against average with 56 saves. Rech played in 10 games with a 2.10 goals against average and 22 saves. Providing depth will be Brandon House (So., 5-9, Wadsworth, OH/HS), Nick Inglezakis (So., 6-2, Stow, OH/Monroe Falls), and Frank Sanabria (Fr., 5-11, North Ridgeville, OH/Elyria Catholic).
The Cavaliers' schedule will is vastly different because of changes to the conference and the move to the NCAA Division II. Walsh will still play an AMC schedule, but is no longer a member of the NAIA. Familiar foes such as Malone, Notre Dame, Point Park, Houghton, Daemen, Cedarville, and Roberts Wesleyan dot the schedule. New opponents this year include Urbana, Ashland, and AMC-newcomers Fisher.