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Men's Soccer

 

PIONEERS TO OPEN CAMP WITH PLENTY OF NEWCOMERS

By KEVIN TAYLOR, Point Park sports information

The Point Park men's soccer team enters the 2009 season with the large task of replacing several key upperclassmen. But although the Pioneers have just one senior on this year's team, they have plenty of players who have gained valuable experience the last few years. In addition, third-year coach Jeroen Walstra will welcome 10 first-year players to the team this season.

When the Pioneers open preseason training on Aug. 17, they will have a roster of 18 players. Point Park has four returning starters including last year's leading scorer Miguel Alvarez (Arlington, Va./Yorktown).

A sophomore midfielder, Alvarez led the Pioneers with six goals and 12 points as a freshman, but no other returning player has scored more than one career goal.

Sophomore Zeke O'Donnell (Butler/Butler) started 12 games at forward and three games as a goalkeeper last year. Although is the second among returning players with four points, he may end up being the Pioneers' goalie.

Sophomore Sean Welton (Sharon/Sharon) made 13 starts as a midfielder last year, and he joins junior defender Shane Lucas (West Homestead/Steel Valley) as the other returning starters. Lucas started all 18 games on defense last year.

Junior forward Jeremy Olson (Indiana/Indiana) and sophomore defender Reid Gustin (Hammondsport, N.Y./Haverling) were part-time starters last year, and they round out the returning players.

Among the biggest holes the Pioneers must replace are those vacated by Steve Fabian and Dustin Hess, who finished their four-year careers last season.

Fabian was a four-year starter at goalkeeper, and he led the American Mideast Conference in saves the last two seasons. Last year he ranked third in the NAIA with 9.47 saves per game. O'Donnell will team with senior Rick Mader (Pittsburgh/Central Catholic) in replacing Fabian in goal.

Over the last two years, Hess accounted for eight goals and 22 points as a midfielder. Last year's team captain led the Pioneers in shots and assists as a senior.

Point Park's first-year players include three players from Europe in defender Wido Sagerer (Amtsberg, Germany) and midfielders Julian Trustedt (Berlin, Germany) and Alexander Sala (Weiler, Austria). Sagerer is a sophomore, Trustedt is a junior and Sala is a freshman.

Defender Tercio Garofalo (Sao Paulo, Brazil), midfielder Francis Tabi (Ghana) and forward Matt Annecchiarico (Woodbridge, Ontario) are three freshmen who give the Pioneers a total of six international players.

Micah Bracken, a sophomore midfielder from Mt. Pleasant, Mich., joins freshman forwards Phill Malle (Pittsburgh/Langley) and Jordan Schrecengost (Cory/Cory) as first-year position players. David Wolf, a walk on from Waldorf, Md., is a freshman goalkeeper.

The Pioneers play host to Wheeling Jesuit for an exhibition game on Aug. 22 (10 a.m.), and they open the season at Grove City (Sept. 4, 5:30 p.m.) and at Westminster (Sept. 5, 11 a.m.) on the first weekend of the season.