Capital men's soccer season preview
The Capital University men’s soccer team used a late-season winning streak to reach the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament in 2011, and looks to carry that momentum into the 2012 campaign under new leadership.
Alan Yost, an assistant coach in 2011, takes the title of interim head coach for the Crusaders, who return nine of 11 starters from last season’s team that finished 9-9-1 overall, including a 4-4-1 mark in OAC play.
Capital won three straight matches and four of its last five to reach the OAC Tournament quarterfinals, where it lost at NCAA qualifier Baldwin-Wallace.
Junior Bob Weisgarber and sophomore R.G. Florey have also been named captains for 2012. Fountain expects the squad’s other three seniors – Casey Blankenship, Kevin Clark and Al Argyris – to step into leadership roles as well.
Capital, which was picked to place sixth in the OAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, hopes to claim its first regular season conference title since 2008 while maintaining a solid reputation in the classroom.
“Our goals are to win the conference, win the OAC Tournament and get to the NCAA Tournament,” Weisgarber said. “Those have been in place since my freshman year. Besides that, we have a lot off off-the-field goals, academically. We just want to come out every game, play our best and leave everything on the field.”
After a scrimmage at Urbana this Sunday, the Crusaders open the regular season by hosting the Fort Rapids Invitational on Friday and Sunday, Aug. 31 and Sept. 2. Capital takes on Wittenberg on Friday and plays Emory & Henry on Sunday.
The Crusaders will be tested early in non-conference play as they host preseason No. 1 and defending NCAA champion Ohio Wesleyan on Sept. 22. Capital opens OAC action on Sept. 29 at John Carroll before hosting 12th-ranked Ohio Northern on Oct. 2. The regular season concludes on Oct. 27 at local rival Otterbein.
See below for a personnel breakdown of the 2012 Capital University men’s soccer team.
Florey (Westerville, Ohio) registered four goals and one assist, while junior Tim McCarthy (Dayton, Ohio) and sophomore Derek Cox (Hilliard, Ohio) recorded four points apiece in 2011.
Argyris (Centerville, Ohio), who had two assists last season, will also be counted on for offensive output.
“I think Al has definitely stepped up in the offensive role,” Fountain said. “We’ll definitely be looking to him as a leader up top. There are also some incoming freshmen and transfers who we’ll be looking to.”
Other returning midfielders and forwards include Blankenship (Galloway, Ohio), juniors Joe Alecusan (Hilliard, Ohio), Danny Parsons (Waynesville, Ohio), sophomores Bobby Atkin (LaGrange, Ky.) and Zak Grady (Columbus, Ohio).
Several newcomers will also compete for spots in the offensive rotation, including sophomores Wes Welker (Wooster, Ohio), Jesus Villarroel (Lewis Center, Ohio), freshmen Mario Suarez (Strongsville, Ohio), Chris Mir-Salimi (Strongsville, Ohio), Tyler Washington, Ryan Shannon (Dublin, Ohio), Mohammed Abdullahi (Hilliard, Ohio), Craig Shimer (Hilliard, Ohio), Braxton Jarvis (Wheelersburg, Ohio) and Zach Monhollen (Pickerington, Ohio).
Fountain, who tallied one goal and one assist in 2011, leads a strong core of defensive returners.
Junior Zach Inman (Groveport, Ohio) matched Fountain’s statistical output and started all 19 of Capital’s games. Junior Tony Macioce (Pickerington, Ohio) also returns as a starter who played in all 19 matches.
Sophomore Aaron Ingle (Hilliard, Ohio) appeared in 15 games, including four starts, and classmate Andrew Rutsky, a Solon, Ohio, native who started two matches, will be counted on for experience in the defensive third as well.
“Communication is always huge,” Fountain said. “It starts in the back and works its way to the front. Communication and fitness will be huge factors (for the defense).”
Junior Chase Bryant (Crestwood, Ky.) returns to the defense after being sidelined due to injury in 2011.
Freshmen working for playing time include Josh Spaw (Cincinnati, Ohio), Cameron Bryant (Crestwood, Ky.) and Conrad Zengel (Centerville, Ohio).
Weisgarber (Columbus, Ohio), an Academic All-OAC honoree last season, led the conference in saves (106) and finished second in saves per game (5.58). He tallied four shutouts in 19 matches, all starts.
Junior Dylan Beck (Wharton, Ohio) is the only other returning goalkeeper for the Crusaders. Beck appeared in one match a year ago.
Freshmen Niko Malobabic (Lorain, Ohio) and Kevin Fikar (North Royalton, Ohio) also look to compete for time in the net.