Men’s Soccer Heads into 2014 Campaign with High Hopes

(Jeff Mills photo)
(Jeff Mills photo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Capital University men's soccer team looks to build off its impressive campaign a season ago, a year in which the Crusaders finished fourth in the Ohio Athletic Conference regular season standings.

After beginning last season undefeated through their first five games, the Crusaders battled through a tough stretch in their early season schedule, before winning five of their last eight games to end the regular season.

As Capital earned a bid into the OAC Tournament, the Crusaders proved victorious over Baldwin Wallace in an OAC Tournament quarterfinal matchup before falling in double overtime on the road at Ohio Northern.

This season, the Crusaders were picked to finish fourth in the OAC Preseason Poll, a ranking in which they are quite familiar with.

 

GOALKEEPERS

The Crusaders will have a new face in goal this season, as competition for the starting position continues on in the remaining days of preseason practice.

Junior Kevin Fikar is the only returning goalkeeper on the 2014 Capital roster, having served as backup goalkeeper last season behind OAC Goalkeeper of the Year, Bob Weisgarber.

A pair of freshmen in Justin Niswonger and Trevor Funk are also in the mix for the starting job in goal. Both bring various complementing attributes and skills to the table.

Kevin Fikar, Jr., GK

"Right now the competition for starting goalkeeper is up i


FORWARDS
n the air," said head coach Alan Yost. "All three are capable, but right now it's just a matter of solidifying themselves as the starter."

Capital also brings an array of talent at forward this season, as they return two full time forwards and another skilled forward from last year. They also added nine other players who are capable of filling that position as well.

Sophomores Luke Bobst and Cheyn Roux headline the returners at that position, as each player appeared in at least 14 games a season ago.

Bobst made eight starts last year, tallying six points on a pair of goals and assists, while also leading the team in game-winning goals (2).

Roux capped off his freshman campaign making four starts, recording an assist and five of eight shots on goal throughout the season.

Freshman Calvin Saunders is an incoming freshman who Yost praises as an impact player in year one.

Cheyn Roux, So., F

"Calvin Saunders has been phenomenal in camp," Yost said. "He is a true competitor and I think he is going to generate a lot of goal scoring opportunities for us this year."

Yost also recognized the efforts of incoming freshmen Alex Baret and Nick Baret, who are brothers playing alongside one another at the collegiate level.

"The Baret brothers will bring a lot of creativity and flair to our team, something we have been lacking in the past," Yost said.

In addition, freshmen Josh McDaniel and Brad Schultz also look to make an impact in their first year as Crusaders as well.

MIDFIELDERS

At midfield, the Crusaders return three full time players at the position, as seniors R.G. Florey and Bobby Atkin. Sophomore Zach Matheny also returns to help bolster the Capital attack.

R.G. Florey, Sr., F

Florey, a co-captain and second team All-OAC selection in 2013 will again lead the team both on and off the field during his senior campaign following a year in which he totaled seven points on three goals and one assist.

"R.G. [Florey] is what I want every player to be here at Capital," Yost said. "He is one of the most respectful, polite kids I've ever met. He is a natural leader and is instrumental to us building attacks and maintaining possession."

Atkin played in all 20 games a season ago for the Crusaders, including 13 starts, all in a season in which he tied for 10th on the team in points (3), posting one goal and one assist.

Matheny also played in all 20 games last year, scoring one goal and recording one assist for the season.

In total, the Crusaders return eight midfielders from last year's roster, a team which made a deep run in the OAC Tournament.

DEFENDERS

On the defensive side, Capital returns seven players, while also adding seven additional defenders as incoming talent.

Senior Austin Dent returns as the lone senior defender for the Crusaders in 2014, having received honorable mention All-OAC honors, while starting all 20 games last season.

Juniors Hunter Booth and Josh Spaw also return to the squad, each having started in at least 16 games a year ago.

A pair of transfers have also joined the Crusader defense this season, as Alexander Basiakos and Bryan Luckscheiter both look to help bolster Capital's defensive front.

"Alexander Basiakos can give us some different looks, maybe change what we did not have during halftime," Yost said. "Bryan Luckscheiter brings something that we do not have, as he is a bigger body and is solidifying himself in the middle of the rotation."

LOOKING AHEAD

With the 2014 season getting underway this weekend, the Crusaders are primed to begin playing at a high level as the season unfolds.

The Crusaders season opener kicks off this weekend at the Maryville College Tournament against Maryville (Tenn.) on Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Capital's next three games are on the road, before returning to Bernlohr Stadium for the home opener against Waynesburg College (Pa.) on Sept. 12.

Conference play begins for the Crusaders on Oct. 4, as Capital travels to the University of Mount Union, before returning home to face Muskingum University and cross-town rival Otterbein University in back-to-back contests. Senior Day is also scheduled to take place at home on Oct. 25 against John Carroll University.

"For us to prepare for the conference we have to play the best teams," Yost said. "I cannot say enough about our conference, it is very challenging and our schedule this year matches that."