NewsMVNU Men's Soccer Team to Honor Five Seniors This Weekend
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - Five members of the Mount Vernon Nazarene University men's soccer team will be honored this weekend as the Cougars play their final two regular-season matches on Friday against Kentucky Christian College and on Saturday against Shawnee State University at Cougar Field.
Seniors Jeremy Stabile, Danny Lueking, Casey Swanson, Ryan Pearce, and Trevor Knowles will be honored at halftime of the match on Saturday against Shawnee State for their contributions to the MVNU men's soccer program over the past four years. The Cougars have posted a 57-25-5 (.684 winning percentage) during that span and participated in two National Christian College Athletic Association National Tournaments with a second and third-place finish.
Stabile, a midfielder from Columbus, Ohio, has seen action in 59 matches during his career with 17 starts. During his career, he has recorded three goals and eight assists. He has played in 11 matches with eight starts this season despite being hampered by injuries.
"I was delighted that Jeremy opted to return for a fifth year to complete his four years of eligibility," said MVNU head coach Paul Furey. "He has been a model of hard work and determination to constantly improve his game. Unfortunately for him, he has been bothered by an injury this year that has set him back. Healthy, however, he is an inspiration and a classic case that proves that hard work pays off. He came in as a walk-on and worked his way into a starting role - something of which he can be proud. I am really appreciative of his contributions and commitment to this program."
Lueking, a midfielder from West Chester, Ohio, has played in 63 matches during his career and made 43 starts despite missing his entire junior season with a knee injury. During his career, he has scored one goal and registered 14 assists. He has started all 17 of the Cougars' matches in 2002 and recorded four assists. Earlier this season, Lueking was named to the First-Knox Cougar Invitational All-Tournament Team, and he has been nominated for the NAIA and NCCAA All-America Scholar-Athlete Teams.
"Danny is definitely our Comeback Player of the Year," said Furey. "He has made a great return from total reconstructive knee surgery that kept him out all last year. His numbers and statistics are not impressive, but what he has meant to the team is tremendous. He has played in the midfield and in the back line for us and has been nearly flawless at whatever we ask him to do. Deceptively quick, crafty, and intelligent, Danny has gotten the job done as consistently and as proficiently as any player on the team. Add to that his quiet and efficient leadership, and he is a player we will greatly miss."
Swanson, a defender from Mount Vernon, Ohio, has played in 77 matches during his career with 63 starts. He has scored four goals and added five assists, and he has led the team in minutes played in each of the past two seasons. Swanson has also helped anchor the defense that has posted 26 shutouts in the last three years. This season, he has started all 17 matches and scored one goal. He has also been nominated for the NAIA and NCCAA All-America Scholar-Athlete Teams for the second straight year.
"Dedication, loyalty, and consistency characterize Casey's career as a Cougar," said Furey. "He came into the program as a forward and graduates as a three-year starter on our back line. He doesn't play with a lot of flash, just the consistency day in and day out of hard work and getting the job done. He's like a fresh-brewed cup of coffee each morning - he's always there for you and he'll help get you going. A loyal friend to his teammates and coach, soccer life will be noticeably different without Casey around."
Pearce, a goalkeeper from South Amherst, Ohio, has seen action in 20 matches during his career and has posted a 1.29 goals against average. This season, he has played in five matches and allowed just one goal. He will make the first start of his career in goal on Friday against Kentucky Christian.
"Ryan is the Cougar version of Rudy," said Furey. "He is a once-in-a-lifetime type of player and teammate. Not many players are referred to as a four-year reserve player and a two-year captain. That in itself indicates the type of player and person that Ryan is. The consummate team player, he has contributed greatly to the success of this program over his four years here even though he played behind an outstanding goalkeeper."
"Ryan really turned into a fine goalkeeper himself," Furey added. "However, he has meant so much more than that to this team. His friendship, genuine concern for his teammates, and his spiritual sensitivity and leadership will leave a lifelong impression on his peers as well as his coach. He will be missed and long remembered as a one-of-a-kind teammate and individual."
Knowles, a goalkeeper from Gahanna, Ohio, has started 86 matches in goal during his career at MVNU and compiled a 1.26 goals against average, which represents the best average in school history. This season, he has allowed just 18 goals in 17 matches for a 1.08 goals against average. He was also selected as the American Mideast Conference Defensive Player of the Week last week.
"Trevor is our gentle giant," said Furey. "You can't help but notice one thing about Trevor - he's big - big in stature, big in heart, and big on the field. He has also been a huge part of our success since his arrival. From the moment he stepped on the field as a freshman in Los Angeles against The Master's College and notched his first victory, we knew that he was special. Trevor helped lead us to the NCCAA national championship match as a sophomore and then became an NCCAA First Team All-American as a junior. And, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy."
"Trevor is a humble, caring teammate, friend, and student," Furey added. "Everybody loves him. The problem with Trevor is that his shoes are too big to fill. But, that's the thing with giants - they always eventually leave, but you never forget them."
The Cougars are currently 10-7-0 overall and in the midst of a three-match winning streak. MVNU will face Kentucky Christian at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and Shawnee State at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.