NewsMVNU Men's Soccer Team Posts Another Winning Campaign
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - Despite a roster that consisted of only six returning upperclassmen and a rash of injuries that occurred throughout the season, the Mount Vernon Nazarene University men’s soccer team posted a 9-8-3 overall mark in 2004.
The season got off to a great start for the Cougars as the team won its first four matches with victories over Asbury (Ky.) College, Bryan (Tenn.) College, Daemen (N.Y.) College, and Montreat (N.C.) College.
Then, MVNU suffered its first loss of the year to Geneva (Pa.) College in the championship match of the First-Knox Cougar Invitational. The team also dropped two of its next three matches to Ashland University and Grace (Ind.) College with a 2-0 win at Kenyon College sandwiched in between.
Following a win at Moody Bible (Ill.) Institute, the Cougars battled Tiffin University to a 2-2 draw in double overtime on the road in American Mideast Conference South Division action in the first of what would be five overtime matches for MVNU on the season.
After a loss to Heidelberg College, the Cougars recorded two more double overtime ties in AMC South Division play against Urbana University and the University of Rio Grande, the eventual AMC South Division champion and the defending NAIA national champion and top-ranked team. In the match against the Redmen, MVNU held a 1-0 lead until Rio Grande equalized with 2:05 left in regulation.
Back-to-back wins over Malone College and Seton Hill (Pa.) University improved the Cougars’ record to 8-4-3 overall, but losses to Ohio Dominican University, Walsh University, and Cedarville University would keep the team from qualifying for the AMC Tournament.
MVNU closed out the regular season with a 2-1 overtime win against Shawnee State University as the Cougars finished the year 1-1-3 in overtime matches. MVNU was also 2-3-3 in the highly competitive AMC South Division.
Following a two-week layoff, the Cougars closed out their season with a 4-0 loss at Nyack (N.Y.) College in the National Christian College Athletic Association East Region championship match as MVNU finished the year 9-8-3 overall.
"Although this may not have been quite the year we envisioned and hoped for, there were many positive things we gained and accomplished,” said MVNU head coach Paul Furey. "I really feel like our younger players got a valuable year of experience and will know a lot more of what to expect next season. We had some very good results beating a tough Bryan squad and tying Tiffin - both on the road. Then, our draw with top-ranked Rio Grande was one for the ages in our program even though allowing the equalizer in the 88th minute was absolutely heart-breaking.”
"In addition to our young players gaining experience, we also had to deal with some key injuries that made it that much tougher for us,” Furey added, referring to the fact that five different starters missed at least one match with an injury of some kind. "However, this is a great core of players to build on. We have a quality group of young men, and I am confident they will work hard to put us back in the winning numbers and postseason success we have had in the recent past.”
Individually, two seniors wrapped up solid careers for the Cougars. Jamie Hilen, a defender, played in all 20 matches and logged a team-high 1,798 minutes. In 77 career matches, he helped MVNU post 31 shutouts and recorded one goal and one assist. Brian Souder, a midfielder, tallied five assists despite only playing in 16 matches due to injuries. In 81 career matches, he registered 23 assists (which ranks seventh in school history) and scored five goals. "Jamie and Brian will leave our program having taught a youthful team about competing and being unified,” said Furey.
Sophomore forward Josh Van Pelt led the Cougars with 14 goals and seven assists, while sophomore forward Jonathan Hoop added eight goals and five assists as both players started all 20 matches. Junior midfielder Jeffery Hinds finished with eight goals and six assists despite playing in just 13 matches, and sophomore midfielders Seth Taylor (three goals and four assists) and Stephen Reynard (three goals and three assists) were also key contributors on the attack. Freshman midfielder Adam Pelak (one goal and three assists), freshman forward Ryan Farkas (one goal and two assists), and sophomore midfielders Aaron Caluza (three assists) and Patrick Young (two assists) added depth with sophomore midfielder Matt Dennie and freshman midfielder Isaac Bush rounding out the attack.
Sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Knight put together another solid season in goal as he allowed just 27 goals in 19 matches for a 1.41 goals against average. He also stopped 82 shots and posted six shutouts. Juniors Jarred Renner and Marcus Bierbaum added depth at the position with Bierbaum making one start when Knight was out with an injury.
In addition to Hilen, the defense was anchored by freshman Matt Wilging, juniors Shawn Morrison and Les Claxon, and sophomore Daniel Seiffert with freshman Ross Murdoch also figuring into the mix. Morrison and Seiffert both started all 20 matches, while Wilging started 18 matches in his first collegiate season.
With only two seniors to replace in the lineup, the future of the MVNU men’s soccer program looks bright for the 2005 season and beyond.