University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

2008 Season Preview

     The Pitt Johnstown men’s soccer team, under Head Coach Eric Kinsey (9th year), enters the 2008 season with high expectations after last season’s successful campaign.  The Mountain Cats finished 2007 at 10-7-3 and reached the semi-finals of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) post season tournament in their first year of eligibility in the conference and ranked 8th in the final Appalachian.  Ten incoming freshmen will join 18 returning players.  Among the 18 returning players are 16 lettermen, eight starters and four All-WVIAC selections.  Also returning for his second season is Assistant Coach  Brian Galiote.  This year’s schedule features 18 matches, 16 of them being in-region contests, and begins with the 6th Annual Pitt Johnstown Kick Off Classic.

Returning Seniors
     Seven seniors are set to begin their final seasons with the Mountain Cats.  Defenders Phil Belcastro (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Vince Spillane (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Josh Godish (Pittsburgh, Pa.), midfielders Shane Hejmanowski (Dillsburg, Pa.) and Ben Sera (North Huntingdon, Pa.), and forwards Arik Misler (Johnstown, Pa.) and Jay Swope (Indiana, Pa.) will look to complete their collegiate careers with a successful year.  “These seniors have been an integral part of our success the last couple of years and I expect them to be major contributors this year as we seek our first conference title,” Coach Kinsey said of his seniors.

     Seniors Sera and Spillane will wear the captain’s armbands for the third consecutive year and will be joined by junior goalkeeper Craig Neff (Elizabethtown, Pa.).  “Ben and Vince have been great leaders for our program since their sophomore year and they have brought a level of professionalism to the team,” Coach Kinsey said.  “Craig has developed into a leader as well and I am looking forward to him captaining our team for the next two years.”

Players to Watch
     Neff will be the Mountain Cats’ number-one keeper for the third straight year after two very successful seasons.  Sophomore Michael LoPresti (Karns City, Pa.) and freshman Mike Cuccaro (Pittsburgh, Pa.) will compete for time as Neff’s back-up.  Coach Kinsey will look to an experienced back line to protect the Pitt Johnstown goal.  Belcastro, junior Joe Cronan (Indiana, Pa.), Spillane, and sophomore Brian Taslov (Robinson, Pa.) are the expected starters.  Freshmen Carlin Carter (Harrisburg, Pa.) and Tyler Aldinger (Elizabethtown, Pa.) will look to contribute in the defense as well.
     Hejmanowski and Sera return as starters in the midfield.  Sophomores J.P. Schantz (Nazareth, Pa.) and Andy Griffin (Dillsburg, Pa.) will compete for playing time with freshmen Keegan Donovan (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Anthony Russo (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Josh Wentz (Wallenpaupack, Pa.)
     Misler (17 goals) and Swope (22 goals), two of Pitt Johnstown’s most prolific scorers, return at forward to lead the Mountain Cats’ attack.  Also vying for time at the forward spots are junior Cory Winwood (Harwick, Pa.), sophomore Jeff Linnenbach (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) and freshmen Jeremy Jones (Delta, Pa.), Clayton Kubrick (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Jesus Salinas (Biglerville, Pa.).

“After the success of last season, we are looking forward to another prosperous season at both the conference and regional levels,” Coach Kinsey said.  We undertook a very difficult spring season to prepare for this year, and the guys responded to that challenge very well.  With as many returning starters as we have, along with the new players, I fully expect us to be a contender for the WVIAC crown this year.  We have a difficult schedule this fall, but I’m confident that the quality of our players and the depth that we have will lead us to success this season.”