Courtesy of Hartwick Sports Information
ONEONTA, NY – The goal is clear in 2012 for the Hartwick College men’s soccer team – finish in the top four of the Mid-American Conference. The Hawks, who fell just a game short of qualifying for the league playoffs last season after dropping a 2-1 home decision to Northern Illinois, missed a few chances to secure full points down the stretch.
’Wick went 0-1-3 in its final four MAC games, including a 4-4 home tie with Western Michigan in which the Hawks led by two goals with less than 14 minutes to play.
“It was disappointing to miss out on the playoffs last season,” said third-year Hartwick head coach John Scott. “Ultimately, we had only ourselves to blame. We had five draws last year. The positive thing was that each time we left the field, we didn’t leave with a sense of relief but with disappointment of not getting the win.”
The Hawks return a bulk of their lineup, including seven starters from last season’s team. Scott also has eight additions to the squad, which appears poised to improve upon the 5-6-5 showing of a year ago.
“Last year was more about stabilizing the program after the difficulty of 2010,” added Scott. “This year we want to turn the corner as a program and make the MAC semis.”
Scott returns a pair of very solid sophomore goalkeepers who combined to play in all 1,560 minutes last season. Tom Buckner (Oxford, England) made 12 starts for Hartwick logging over 1,100 minutes to go along with 43 saves. He finished 3-5-3 with a goals against average of 1.47 and one clean sheet. Mateo Munarriz (Manizales, Colombia) played in five games making four starts while registering a 2-1-2 record. He made 21 saves and accumulated a 0.98 goals against average. Munarriz, after battling injuries for much of the season in 2011, is healthy and ready to compete for the starting job.
Freshman Kyle Van Cleef (East Sandwich, MA) will bolster the goalkeeping corps. Scott sees him as a very capable player with a lot of ability and he should push Buckner and Munarriz for minutes.
In the back, the Hawks return several experienced players, including seniors Will Broomfield (Brighton, England), Russell Oost-Lievense (Westport, CT), and junior Matthew Robertson (Banchory, Scotland).
Broomfield made 14 starts tallying a goal and an assist for ’Wick last season with Oost-Lievense making 12 starting appearances. Robertson returns after red-shirting following an early-season injury.
“Will is a consistent leader on this team,” said Scott. “He will be a catalyst for our success this year. Russ is a hard-nosed, technical player and we hope for great things from him. Robo is a big performer who we can count on at several positions on the field.”
Sophomore Nathaniel Horton (Stowe, VT) also returns in the back. After starting three matches in seven appearances last year, he has the ability to be a factor on the team. Classmate Chris Walter (Amherst, NY), who played in 11 matches and scored the lone goal in a 1-1 draw with Niagara, could also figure in the mix.
“We hope Nathaniel establishes himself this season,” added Scott. He’s a very good striker of the ball, can play on the left, right, or centrally, and has great potential. Chris is a tenacious player who played in the back this past spring and we were delighted with what he brought to the table.”
Joining the veterans are newcomers Ross MacKinnon (Glasgow, Scotland), David Styles (Bognor Regis, England), and Jack Miller (Commack, NY). Scott has liked what he’s seen from all three.
“Ross had a strong spring and he adjusted quickly to the level of play. He brings strength in the back and he fits in with our style of play. David is a good attacking player who will play on the left side of the field. He’s a fierce player who can serve the ball into the box. Jack is a physically strong athlete who gives us a lot of options.”
Seniors Simon Greatwich (Lewes, England), Tyler Bailey (Spencer, NY), and junior Tim Crawford (Webster, NY) return in the middle of the park for the Hawks, with each starting at least 13 games last season.
Greatwich earned MAC second team honors last season and has experience with the Philippines national team. He scored two goals and dished out four assists, which included a six-point performance in a 4-1 drubbing of Florida Atlantic.
Bailey made 14 starts for ’Wick a season ago. He scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Albany to open the campaign.
Crawford contributed two goals and two assists in 13 starting appearances for Hartwick. He netted the only goal in a 1-0 shutout of Central Connecticut State at the UNH Tournament and added a goal and one helper in the win over FAU.
“Simon gives us consistency in the middle of the field,” said Scott. “He’s composed on the ball and can handle pressure. Tyler finished the fall strongly last season and has a lot of ability. Tim is a very athletic player who we hope will continue to impose on defenses.”
Sophomores Rio Dhat (Auckland, New Zealand) and Jhevaughn Beckford (Kingston, Jamaica) add depth to the midfield after contributing in their first seasons with the program. Dhat made eight starts with Beckford starting three games for the Hawks.
“Rio can play anywhere in the midfield whether it be on the left, right, or middle,” stated Scott. “Jhevaughan has shown a lot of development and we hope he can contribute even more this season.”
Freshmen Nick Hills (Garden Suburb, Australia), Marc Russell (Glasgow, Scotland), and Christo Manginis (Menham, MA) hope to make an impact right away on the team. Hills is a versatile, attacking player with good one-versus-one skills. Russell, who could also see time up at the forward position, has the ability to win balls and be dangerous in the box. Manginis is a very competitive player who likes to be on the ball and distribute.
Seniors Cleyon Brown (Kingston, Jamaica) and Jason Keefe (Springfield, MA) are the lone returning true strikers for the Hawks. Brown scored twice and added three assists in 12 games last season. He scored the opening goal in a win at Albany and figured in both goals (1g, 1a) in a 2-1 road victory at Adelphi. Brown also notched two assists in the 4-4 tie versus WMU. Keefe was one of only two players on last season’s roster to appear in all 16 games. He made eight starts picking up an assist in Hartwick’s 1-1 tie at Bowling Green.
“Cleyon is strong, technical, and capable,” said Scott. “It will up to him to prove he is the top striker on this team. Jason’s work ethic is second to none. He competes every day and we hope he has his strongest season yet in his senior year.”
Freshman Dean Fowler (Sydney, Australia) will be looking to step in right away and be a target for the Hawks up front. He is a taller player who will give the Hawks a different dimension at the forward position.
Hartwick’s quest for a conference playoff berth got a bit more difficult during this past off-season with the addition of former Big East power West Virginia to the MAC. The Mountaineers, along with perennial heavyweight Akron and defending MAC champion Northern Illinois each have been recognized in the NSCAA Preseason National Poll. The Zips are ranked 10th while WVU and the Huskies are both just out of the top-25 in the “receiving votes” category.
“Those three will be the frontrunners,” said Scott. “The league schedule as a whole will be very strong but we want to be a playoff team and we’re going to work hard this season to make that happen.”
Hartwick starts the season on Monday with the first of two exhibition matches. The Hawks travel to Penn State before hosting Syracuse University on Friday, August 17. The regular season gets under way Friday, August 24 at St. Joseph’s University. ’Wick’s home opener is Friday, September 7 in the Mayor’s Cup opener against St. Bonaventure.