University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

2009 Season Preview

     The Pitt-Johnstown men’s soccer team enters 2009 with plenty of new faces after last season’s successful campaign which saw the Mountain Cats finish with a 10-9-1 overall record and reach the WVIAC Tournament Semifinals for the second straight year.  Pitt-Johnstown was also ranked 10th in the final 2008 Atlantic Region poll.  Head Coach Eric Kinsey welcomes 13 newcomers who will join 13 returning players to comprise this year’s roster.  Of the returning players, 11 were letter winners, nine were regular contributors and two earned All-WVIAC honors.

Returning Seniors
     Three seniors will play their final seasons at Pitt-Johnstown.  Goalkeeper Craig Neff (Elizabethtown, Pa.), defender Joe Cronan (Indiana, Pa.) and forward Cory Winwood (Harwick, Pa.) will guide the younger players and could become the first class since 1975 to end their careers without a losing season.  “These seniors have played a huge role in our success, especially in the conference, and I expect them to be great leaders this year as we seek our first conference title,” Coach Kinsey said.

Team Captains
     Neff, who will captain the team for the second year, will be joined by junior Brian Taslov (Robinson, Pa.).   “Neff was an easy pick as captain last season, and “Tas” really came into his own during the season,” Coach Kinsey said.  “They were great leaders throughout the winter and spring.  I look forward to more of the same this year.  The combination of these two guys will definitely keep our team moving in the right direction.”

Players to Watch

     Neff will be the Mountain Cats’ number-one goalkeeper for the fourth straight year.  Red-shirt freshman Mike Cuccaro (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and freshman Nolan Levine (McDonald, Pa.) will compete for time as Neff’s back-up.
Coach Kinsey will again look to an experienced back line to protect his goalkeeper.  Returning lettermen Taslov, Cronan, and junior Jeff Linnenbach (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) are the expected starters.  Sophomore Keegan Donovan (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and freshmen Eric Grabiak (Scottdale, Pa.) and Adam Cusick (Oakdale, Pa.), will compete for the final starting spot and provide depth to a backline that lost three players from a year ago.
     The Mountain Cats have the most depth in the midfield with returning lettermen Tyler Aldinger (Elizabethtown, Pa.), Andy Griffin (Dillsburg, Pa.), Jeremy Jones (Delta, Pa.), J.P. Schantz (Nazareth, Pa.), and Josh Wentz (Wallenpaupack, Pa.).  Freshmen Marc Bucci (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Zeke Buchta (Mount Pleasant, Pa.), Steve Taslov (Robinson, Pa.) and transfer Mike Kovarik (Pittsburgh, Pa.) will all try to make an impact in their first seasons at Pitt-Johnstown.
     Perhaps the most hotly contested battle for playing time will be at forward position only Winwood and sophomore Clay Kubrick (Pittsburgh, Pa.) returning.  Freshmen Kevin Kearney (Wexford, Pa.), Caton Detweiler (McVeytown, Pa.) and Derik Swope (Harleysville, Pa.) will try to replace the void left by the loss of Second-Team All-Atlantic Region player Jason Swope (Indiana, Pa.) who completed his college career with 33 goals.
     “Even though we lost six great players to graduation, I feel we will still be in the mix when the tournament rolls around,” Coach Kinsey said.  “We’ll be young, but this should be one of the deepest benches we’ve had.  The returning guys got some great experience in the spring and there is a tremendous amount of quality in our new players.  After the success of the last two seasons, the boys are looking forward to taking yet another step up the ladder on both the conference and regional level.”