Men’s Soccer Opens with Big Hopes for 2015 Season
BY PRICE MEENTEMEYER
The Westminster men’s soccer team is coming off one of the most successful seasons in school history. A 2014 season highlighted by a conference championship and an NCAA Tournament run has the Blue Jays excited for 2015.
Heading into the season, the Blue Jays are the favorite to make it a three-peat as conference champions. The Blue Jays topped the preseason coaches’ poll, putting a target on their backs, but the players believe they have the pieces in place for another successful year.
“We have a great combination of returning starters and talented transfers and freshmen,” said team captain Kevin Knobbe, ‘16. “The roster is deeper than ever before, and we are all extremely excited about this season.”
The defense will be led by senior Darryl Doran. Doran is returning after an All-Conference performance last season and will look to lead a younger group of defenders. Sophomore Blake Hausman will play alongside Doran and will look to step into a larger role this year. Junior Josh Jaycox will provide strength and speed on the backline, a year after making a successful transition from forward to defense. Junior Raul Belman and freshman Tanner Moesch will split time at goalie. Other key contributors on defense will be Austin Chandler, ’18, and Patrick Bromstedt, ‘17.
The midfield will be a focal point for this year’s team. Junior Tripp Sheehan is coming off a breakout season that saw him earn SLIAC First Team All-Conference while leading the team in points. Sheehan’s creativity and technical ability will fuel the Blue Jays’ attack. Junior Eli Sherman will play alongside Sheehan in the middle of the field. Sherman transferred from Dominican University and will be a great addition this season. Captain Knobbe will provide experience and leadership on the outside. Other key contributors in the midfield will be Tanner Touslee, Daniel Barone, Peter Plakorus, Cooper Smith , Peter Gerber, and Kyle Collins.
The Blue Jays’ forwards will be a three-pronged attack. Drew Cook, Dustin Seibolt, and transfer Drake Trease will rotate throughout the season to provide dangerous scoring ability. Last season, Cook earned SLIAC First Team All-Conference while scoring six goals, including four game-winners. Seibolt was also named to the SLIAC First Team All-Conference, while leading the team in goals with eight. Trease will be another strong addition to add to an already proven attack. Trease transferred from Texas Wesleyan and provides a nice option up front.
A substantial percentage of this year’s players are very familiar with one another. Four of the transfers that the team added this year hail from the Columbia area. Sherman, Bromstedt, Plakorus and Smith all reunite with Sheehan and Collin Hollrah, after playing together in high school. The team is hoping that the addition of talent and familiarity will boost team chemistry from the start.
The Blue Jays have already played two preseason games, losing to Culver Stockton 3-1 and tying Drury 1-1. The Blue Jays open the regular season today against Millikin, while their home opener is not until Sept. 11 against Ozarks.