2011 Men's Soccer
2011 Men's Soccer Preview
Youthful Beavers sport improved depth on pitch in 2011
August 16, 2011
While the 2011 version of Bluffton University men's soccer will be young and inexperienced,
the Beavers sport a roster that is much deeper than it was a season ago. "How quickly
the freshmen get acclimated to the speed and physicality of the collegiate game will
determine how we fare as a team," quipped Head Coach Rick Nussbaum.
Graduate assistant Brandon Ponchak is a new face that will be on the sidelines for Bluffton this fall. "He brings valuable experience from his years of coaching at Dakota Wesleyan. In addition, Brandon has a vast experience in goal to complement his understanding of the game and tactical observations," added Coach Nussbaum. Ponchak has a uniquely optimistic view of everything which will help foster a confidence that has not always been evident on the field.
Senior Seth Hertenstein (St Marys/Memorial) and sophomore Dylan Mathews (Arlington) give the Beavers experience in the back and in the midfield while providing leadership to large group of 2011 newcomers. Providing stability in goal is senior Dan Saville (Toledo/Central Catholic) who has seen time between the posts throughout his career at Bluffton.
Back for his second season with the Beavers is senior Kevin Williams. He showed improvement during his initial year of collegiate soccer and Coach Nussbaum is confident that will continue into 2011. The added maturity of upperclassmen Andrew Keeler (Bluffton) and K.C. Howard (Findlay) will give the Beavers a solid foundation as Nussbaum rebuilds the men's program following the loss of eight seniors.
Newcomers Peter Carlson (Toledo/Springfield), Andrew Shroll (Van Buren), Caleb Berlon (Kettering/Fairmont), Jaden August (Bluffton), Nate Byrum (London), Dylan Pritchett (Lafayette/Temple Christian), Jared Minderman (Cincinnati/Lakota West), Derek Davis (London) and goalkeeper Jorge Becerril (Sturgis, MI/Sturgis) are among those that will have the opportunity to earn playing time early on thanks to the departure of eight seniors.
A tougher schedule this season means that the early portion of 2011 may include some bumps and bruises, but Coach Nussbaum believes that, "We should turn the corner heading into the conference portion of the season." The experience gained by contributing newcomers will pay dividends as Bluffton looks to become more competitive in the Heartland Conference this year and in the years to come.
The Beavers open their campaign with a trip to Illinois where they will play Moody Bible and Benedictine on September 2-3 before kicking off the home slate with Goshen on September 10. Bluffton welcomes Mount St. Joseph for its Heartland Conference lid lifter on September 24 and concludes the regular season with a home contest against Hanover on October 29.