Courtesy of Hartwick Athletic Communications
ONEONTA, NY – Hartwick men’s soccer kicks off its fifty-eighth season of competition this coming Friday. The Hawks, led by fourth-year head coach John Scott, have their eye on one of four playoff spots in the Mid-American Conference Tournament in November. Scott believes his squad is the deepest in his four seasons with the program with a solid shot at reaching its goal.
“From back to front, we have options at every position,” said Scott. “This is the best balance we’ve had. With a bulk of the boys back, we’re optimistic both on the progression of our returning players and the talent of our freshmen.”
Last season, the Hawks began the 2012 season with a 2-1-2 start which included an unbeaten, runner-up finish at the Mayor’s Cup competition. ’Wick, however, closed the campaign with only three victories in its final 12 matches, for a 5-10-2 final record.
“We were a very young squad last year,” contributed Scott. “We felt good about the quality of players we brought in, but half our starting 11 were underclassmen. The positive to that was that our young players gained valuable experience for what lies ahead.”
The Hawks lost only four players to graduation and return 15 letter winners from the previous season. They welcome nine talented newcomers to the mix, including three which stand 6’2” or taller.
“If we stay healthy,” added Scott, “the coaching staff is going to have a lot of selection decisions, which is very good.”
’Wick’s three seniors will be the catalysts for success this fall. Fifth-year seniors Will Broomfield (Brighton, England/Cloud Community College), Matthew Robertson (Banchory, Scotland/Binghamton Univ.), and fourth-year midfielder/forward Tim Crawford (Webster, NY/Webster Schroeder HS) will be valuable leaders for the Hawks.
“Those three guys are valuable for different reasons,” said Scott. “Both Will and Robo are back from injuries. They give you everything you want on the field. Tim has been a mainstay within the team since his freshman season.”
Scott believes the middle of the pitch will be a significant strength for the Hawks. He hopes for a harder and tougher central midfield with returners Broomfield, Chris Walter (Amherst, NY/Nichols School), Rio Dhat (Auckland, New Zealand/Epping Boys’ HS), and newcomers Jamie O’Grady (Falkirk, Scotland/Falkirk HS), and Mike Rood (Conklin, NY/Susquehanna Valley HS) all with the possibility to see time there.
“We’ve got power, strength, and options in the center mid,” Scott said. “Will is back with hopefully his injuries behind him. Chris and Rio are both experienced players for us, O’Grady is a hard-nosed midfielder and Mike is technically sound.”
Walter, who was named to All-Tournament Teams at Bradley and the Mayor’s Cup, finished fourth on the team in points. Crawford could also see minutes in the outside midfield.
Joining the pair will be returners Jhevaughn Beckford (Kingston, Jamaica/Wolmer’s Boys’ HS) and David Styles (Bognor Regis, England/St. Phillip Howard). Beckford tied Walter for fourth on the team in scoring, while Styles was third and was the Hawks’ leading set-up man with four assists.
Sophomore Nick Hills (Garden Suburb, Australia/U. of Newcastle) also returns in the middle of the park and will figure into the mix. Newcomer Maurizio Fornerino (Maracaibo, Venezuela/International School Brunei) will compete for playing time in his first season with the program. Junior Nathaniel Horton (Stowe, VT/Stowe HS) looks to make a return to the lineup after recovering from a season-ending injury late last fall.
In the back, the Hawks will be a formidable group with a great deal of size. Veterans Robertson, Jack Miller (Commack, NY/Commack HS), and Ross MacKinnon (Glasgow, Scotland/Jordanhill School) return to the corps with new arrivals Kit Tregear (Brighton, England/BHASVIC), Justin Broome (Markham, ONT/Bill Crothers) and Kenny Wilson (Danbury, CT/Danbury HS) looking to step in right away. All six players stand over 5’11” which includes the 6’3” Tregear.
“The spine of our team in the back has height this year,” said Scott. “We’re looking for Robo and Kit to form a strong partnership and Jack and Ross have shown development, focus, and commitment over the last year. Justin is a big, strong, powerful player in the back and Kenny can play all over and we hope he turns into a solid four-year player.”
The goalkeepers remain the same with returning juniors Mateo Munarriz (Manizales, Colombia/Colegio Granadino) and Tom Buckner (Oxfordshire, England/Henley College) both vying for the starting job. Munarriz has logged 15 appearances over the last two seasons with a goals against average of 1.14 to go along with 56 saves and a pair of shutouts. Buckner has seen action in 20 matches with two clean sheets and 74 saves with a goals against average of 1.70.
Crawford, Marc Russell (Glasgow, Scotland/Woodfarm HS), and Dean Fowler (Sydney, Australia/Colo HS) return at forward for ’Wick. Crawford has three goals and three assists to his credit over the last three campaigns. Russell ranked second in both points and goals scored in his freshman campaign and scored three goals in a four-game span, which included the winner against Bucknell.
Six-foot, three-inch freshman Max Walcott (London, England/West Herts College) highlights the newcomers looking to fill the net for the Hawks. Jake Sachse (Lutherville, MD/Boys’ Latin School of MD) and Alban Zohn (Brighton, NY/Brighton HS) will bolster the offensive unit.
“Max has the quickness, pace, and size to find an edge against the teams we play,” added Scott. “Jake is a left-footer player who can finish and Alban has good size and we hope he grows into a solid player.”
The Hawks will face a difficult non-conference schedule early on in the season. Three of Hartwick’s first six opponents – Syracuse (#20), Cornell (#22), and Tulsa (#14) – are ranked in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Preseason Poll.
“We face strong opposition one after the other,” said Scott. “The schedule is arduous but it ensures all of our guys maintain that necessary level of focus for the entire season.”
Within the MAC, the Hawks have home games against West Virginia (Oct. 11), Western Michigan (Oct. 19), and Northern Illinois (Nov. 2). ’Wick opens the conference slate at #8 Akron on October 5. It also travels to Buffalo (Oct. 15) and Bowling Green (Oct. 26).
“We’re looking for at least fourth in the MAC,” said Scott. “Our guys are good enough, they work very hard, and hopefully we get the reward in the end.”
Hartwick gets it all started on Friday. Kickoff at Fairfield is 7 p.m. at Lessing Field.