2012 MEN'S SOCCER SEASON PREVIEW
Head Coach Eric Kinsey’s (13th Season) Pitt-Johnstown men’s soccer team will be very old, yet very young this season as they look to improve on last year’s 7-9 record. Six seniors and 14 first-year collegiate players will be relied upon heavily as the Mountain Cats strive to earn a spot in the WVIAC conference tournament for the sixth and final time. Pitt-Johnstown will begin play in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) in fall 2013.
Four Mountain Cats earned All-Conference honors last season, highlighted by Derik Swope’s (Harleysville, Pa.) First-Team selection. Pitt-Johnstown begins the season, which includes four nationally-ranked opponents and a pair of 2011 national tournament qualifiers, on August 31 at the Shippensburg Tournament.
A strong and experienced senior class will wear the navy and vegas gold for the final time this fall. Forwards Swope and Zeke Buchta (Mount Pleasant, Pa.) will lead the scoring attack, while Marc Bucci (Pittsburgh, Pa.) will be called on to be the playmaker in the midfield. Eric Grabiak (Scottdale, Pa.) will feature at centerback, while defender Keegan Donovan (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and forward Jesus Salinas (Biglerville, Pa.) will look to contribute significantly.
Bucci and Swope will don the captain’s armbands again this year and will be in charge of bringing the team together on the field. “Marc and Derik will have a tough job of getting the new guys meshed with the returning players, but I am confident in their abilities to get everyone on the same page and lead us toward our goals this season,” Coach Kinsey said.
Players to Watch
The battle for the Mountain Cats No. 1 will be an interesting one as three goalkeepers compete for the starting job. Junior Nolan Levine(McDonald, Pa.), and redshirt freshmen Tim Ofman (New Florence, Pa.) and Eddie Stover (New Kensington, Pa.) will all be looking to be in net when the season begins.
Pitt-Johnstown’s back line should be strong with four experienced defenders and some added depth in the back. Grabiak, Donovan, and sophomores Mike Doller (Farmingdale, NY) and Colm Spillane (Pittsburgh, Pa.) bring stability to the defense, while sophomore Sean O’Connel (Farmington, CT) and freshmen Charlie Indyk (White Oak, Pa.), Drew Buckholt (South Park, Pa.), and Kevin Neskie (Downingtown, Pa.) hope to contribute in their first college season.
The Mountain Cat midfield should also be a strong and talented group with returners Bucci, juniors Tyler Rothbauer (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Steve Taslov (Coraopolis, Pa.), and sophomore Steven Marsh (Johnstown, Pa.) penciled in the Starting 11. The depth in midfield will be provided by freshmen Matt Kinney (Coatesville, Pa.), Josh Lloyd (Somerset, Pa.), Jeremy Scheffel (Somerset, Pa.), and Jake Sauter (Davidsville, Pa.).
Pitt-Johnstown has the potential to be a serious offensive threat with All-WVIAC performers Swope and Buchta starting at forward. Salinas and freshman Colin Michalski (Pittsburgh, Pa.) will look to add to the goals tally as well.
“We have two groups who will determine which way our season goes, Coach Kinsey said. “Our seniors are very experienced and will be a key to our success. If those six perform up to standards, we have a chance to do some great things this fall. The other group is our large freshmen class. They will be responsible for our depth this year, so the quicker they get acclimated to the college game, the better our chances to achieve our team goals.”