NewsMVNU to Honor Four Soccer Seniors on Saturday
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - The four seniors on the Mount Vernon Nazarene University men's soccer team will be honored at halftime of the Cougars' final regular-season home match on Saturday versus Walsh University.
Josh Schlenker, Dave Barry, Jeremy Hilen, and Ricky Warren have helped the program post a 52-25-4 record over the past four years for a .686 winning percentage. MVNU has advanced to the National Christian College Athletic Association National Tournament twice during that span and finished third both times. The Cougars have also reached the NAIA Region IX Tournament semifinals twice. This year, the team has posted a 12-4-1 overall record.
Schlenker, a goalkeeper from Obetz, Ohio, is in his first season with the team after helping with the MVNU women's soccer team for two seasons. The former Liberty Christian Academy product has started four matches for the Cougars this season and posted a 0.97 goals against average. He was named to the First-Knox Cougar Invitational All-Tournament Team earlier this year.
"Josh is one of those stories that reminds me that sometimes good guys do finish on top," said Furey. "His character, commitment, dedication, and loyalty were big reasons why he made the team as a walk-on this year. We called on Josh to start four important matches in goal this year and we won all four. Anything we call on him for, he will get it done and done well. That's Josh."
Barry, a forward from Aurora, Ohio, has compiled 12 goals, seven assists, and 31 total points while playing in 77 matches during his four-year career at MVNU. This season, the former Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy standout has played in 12 matches off the bench.
"Dave has had a unique roll on our squad for the past four years," said Furey. "We have looked to him as a spark off the bench for basically all four seasons - a roll many players would have trouble with because most want to be a starter by their senior year. However, to Dave's credit, he has accepted his roll and performed well with his crafty skills and intelligent play. As he leaves MVNU, he can take pride in knowing that he did many things right for this program for which I am grateful."
Hilen, a defender from West Chester, Ohio, has been an integral part of the Cougars' back line the past four years as he has played in 80 matches with 76 starts. During his career, the former Lakota East High School standout has recorded two goals and 19 assists. This season, Hilen leads the team with five assists. He was an American Mideast Conference and NCCAA East Region Honorable Mention pick as a sophomore in 2001.
"In my mind, Jeremy is the best outside back I have seen in this league over the past four years," said Furey. "He can run forever, and it almost seems like we have an extra midfielder and forward as he would relentlessly penetrate down the flank and frustrate the opposing defense. Yet, I seldom remember him getting beat on the defensive end. He has played hard and yet only received one yellow card in four years as a starter, which really speaks of the type of person he is. He is a genuinely nice guy. Great players who are great guys are tough to replace, but they are great to have younger players emulate."
Warren, a defender from Kingston, Jamaica, is another stalwart of the MVNU back line as he has played in 84 matches with 81 starts during the past four seasons. The former Meadowbrook High School star has scored three goals and registered eight assists during his career including three assists while starting all 16 matches this season. Warren was named the AMC Defender of the Week once this year.
"I suppose I could easily write a chapter about each player I have coached, but Ricky would take an entire book," said Furey. "It seems like I have known him for much longer than four years, and life without him will certainly be different. There has never been a player that I have been harder on, pushed more, screamed at louder, or just been brutally honest with. However, he knows that I love him to death and want him to succeed in every way. I am tremendously proud of him - not just as a soccer player and a student - but as a man after God's own heart."
MVNU's American Mideast Conference South Division match against Walsh will kick off at 1:00 p.m. at Cougar Field.