NewsCougar Soccer Team Posts Another Winning Year in 2005
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - The Mount Vernon Nazarene University men’s soccer team put together another winning season in 2005 as the Cougars posted an 11-5-3 overall record with a 4-3-1 American Mideast Conference South Division mark.
The team got the season under way with a pair of double overtime draws in Kansas against Manhattan Christian (Kan.) College and MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) University. Then, the team returned home to post a pair of shutout victories in the First-Knox Cougar Invitational to improve to 2-0-2.
Following a 2-1 loss to Otterbein College, MVNU rattled off six straight wins to improve to 8-1-2. However, the team went 1-3-1 over its next five American Mideast Conference South Division matches as the Cougars slipped into a tie for fourth place in the conference standings. Despite posting wins over Saint Vincent (Pa.) College and Shawnee State University to close out the regular season, MVNU just missed out on making the conference tournament as a result of its head-to-head loss against Walsh University.
At that point, the Cougars turned their attention towards the National Christian College Athletic Association East Region Tournament. MVNU squared off with Nyack (N.Y.) College in the semifinals, and the Cougars dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision to the Purple Pride, who eventually finished the season as the NCCAA National Tournament runner-up.
"When you look at our record and see a number of our results, it is safe to say we had a pretty good season,” said MVNU head coach Paul Furey, who notched his 200th career win on October 12 against Malone College. "There was some disappointment in us just missing a couple of the goals we were striving for by coming up a bit short. However, I was proud of our effort this year and there was seldom a time when I felt like we were not playing with intensity and determination. Sometimes, the ball just did not bounce our way. The sad thing is that we were good enough to have really made some noise in the postseason if we had gotten a couple of breaks.”
Individually, the Cougars were led by five seniors who wrapped up their careers at MVNU. Midfielder Jeffery Hinds was second on the team with 10 goals and 10 assists as he moved into fifth place on the school’s career lists in goals (34) and points (94) and sixth place in career assists (26).
Defender Shawn Morrison closed out his career with one assist as he started all 19 matches to finish his career having played in all 80 of the team’s matches during the past four years with 78 starts. Les Claxon, a defender/midfielder, also played in all 19 matches with seven starts, while goalkeepers Marcus Bierbaum (0.55 goals against average) and Jarred Renner (0.00 goals against average) played in six and two matches respectively.
"We will miss our seniors,” said Furey. "The team play of Jarred and Marcus, the solid defensive play of Shawn, the leadership of Les, and the outstanding technical ability of Jeffery have all contributed to our success. These seniors have left their mark on our program and will be remembered.”
Junior forward Josh Van Pelt put together an outstanding season for the Cougars as he led the team with 14 goals and 15 assists. He also moved into a tie for sixth place on the program’s career lists in goals (32) and points (88), and he now ranks eighth in career assists (24).
Junior goalkeeper Jordan Knight was solid in net once again as he posted a 1.36 goals against average and four shutouts in 16 matches.
Junior forwards Jonathan Hoop and Matt Dennie provided some of the offensive firepower for MVNU this season. Hoop registered seven goals and one assist, while Dennie tallied five goals and two assists.
Junior midfielders Daniel Seiffert (two goals and two assists), Seth Taylor (two goals and three assists), Aaron Caluza (one goal and six assists), and Angelo Finelli (two goals and one assist) all contributed to the team’s success. Junior defender Patrick Young also saw action in 13 matches with two assists.
Sophomore defenders Matt Wilging and Mike Pertz both helped anchor the Cougars’ defense that allowed just 23 goals in 19 matches with seven shutouts. Meanwhile, sophomore midfielder/forward Adam Pelak contributed three goals and four assists. Sophomore defender Isaac Bush and sophomore midfielder Kelsey Begin also added depth for the team.
Freshman midfielder Adam Worrall made his mark in his first collegiate season as he recorded eight goals and four assists. Freshman forwards Zach Patterson (one goal), Matt Lonsinger (one goal), and Sheldon Tugman (one assist) also all contributed to the attack.
With an experienced group of returning players and nine of the team’s 11 starters returning in 2006, the future of the Cougar soccer program looks very optimisitic.
"On the bright side, the future looks promising,” said Furey. "Losing just two starters, we will have a very experienced squad next year eager and hungry to get to the postseason and attain new heights in our program. Our schedule in 2006 will be the most demanding in our program’s history, but hopefully that will prepare us for the competitive play as we get into November. We are looking forward to it already.”