2010 MEN'S SOCCER SEASON PREVIEW
The Pitt-Johnstown men’s soccer team looks to rebound from a disappointing 6-12-1 (4-5-1 WVIAC) 2009 season. While still a relatively young squad, the Mountain Cats return 20 players from a year ago, including 15 lettermen. Head Coach Eric Kinsey (11th year) also welcomes five freshmen to a team that looks to reach the WVIAC Tournament for the fourth consecutive year. Pitt-Johnstown landed five players on last season’s All-WVIAC teams, including two Second-Team selections.
Five seniors will wear the navy blue and gold for the last time as they look to become just the eighth class to finish three of their four years at .500 or better. Defenders Brian Taslov (Robinson, Pa.) and Jeff Linnenbach (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), midfielders Andy Griffin (Dillsburg, Pa.) and J.P. Schantz (Nazareth, Pa.), and forward Kevin Kearney (Wexford, Pa.) are all expected to greatly contribute to the team’s success this year.
Taslov will wear the captain’s armband for the second straight year. Griffin and sophomore midfielder Marc Bucci (Pittsburgh, Pa.) will also be captains. “It’s great that we have two veteran leaders and another quality guy coming up who can lead us for three more years,” Coach Kinsey said. “This trio will make a great group of captains to motivate and set the right example for our team.”
Players to Watch
The most interesting battle will be for the starting goalkeeper job as sophomore Mike Cuccaro (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and redshirt freshman Nolan Levine (McDonald, Pa.) look to make their marks on the Mountain Cats’ program for the first time.
An experienced back line will protect the goal. Seniors Taslov and Linnenbach, junior Keegan Donovan (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and sophomore Eric Grabiak (Scottdale, Pa.) make a formidable defense for opponents to penetrate. Red-shirt freshman Logan Miller (Dry Run, Pa.) and freshman Clay Herron (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) will provide depth in the back.
Pitt-Johnstown also has plenty of experience in the midfield. Juniors Josh Wentz (Wallenpaupack, Pa.) and Mike Kovarik (Pittsburgh, Pa.), along with Bucci and freshman Riley McConnell (Beach Lake, Pa.) will patrol the central midfield area and look to create scoring opportunities. A deep and talented cast of outside midfielders led by seniors Griffin and Schantz, juniors Tyler Aldinger (Elizabethtown, Pa.) and Freddy Wolfe (Fishertown, Pa.), and red-shirt freshman Steve Taslov (Robinson, Pa.) will look to create width in the attack and work with the central midfielders to thwart opposition attacks.
The Mountain Cats must improve their offensive production. After scoring only 22 goals last season, Pitt-Johnstown needs an increase in scoring to contend in the WVIAC. 2009 leading goal scorer and Second-Team All-Conference choice Derik Swope (Harleysville, Pa.) returns for his sophomore season and is joined by forwards Kearney and junior Clay Kubrick (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Sophomore Zeke Buchta (Mount Pleasant, Pa.) will move up top from the midfield to provide an offensive spark. Freshmen Bryce DeLizio (Chandler, AZ) and Tyler Rothbauer (Pittsburgh, Pa.) should also contribute in their first year with the Mountain Cats.
“We have very few question marks heading into the season,” Coach Kinsey said. “The 20 returning guys had a great spring against a difficult schedule. They should be able to carry that momentum into the fall. While we had a small recruiting class, the five new boys are talented and add depth. We have a difficult slate of games this year, but I think our guys are up for the challenge.”