The Slippery Rock University men’s soccer team will look to improve from their first round playoff loss against West Chester in 2014.
SRU still had a successful 11-7 season, despite new coach Andy Hoggarth not getting there until June 1.
“We still had a good season despite me coming in late as head coach,” Hoggarth said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t get past West Chester in the playoffs. We were a fatigued team and a small team.”
Hoggarth said the interview process took a long time and since he started late he was unable to recruit, which left him with a small team.
He was able to recruit for this season, and he believes he brought in a solid freshman class.
The 2015 team will be relatively young. Hoggarth said that a lot of the 2014 team has graduated, and he is hoping the youth coming in will push the older guys.
“We need to develop,” Hoggarth said. “I am hoping the new guys bring in youthfulness. They will be fresh and hopefully bring in new ideas. I believe the increase in numbers will create competition.”
Hoggarth still has some solid players left from last year’s team that can show the young guns how it’s done.
Eleven players that appeared in at least 13 games last season will be back. Senior defender Ryan Boylan and senior forward Peter Boylan will look to grow even more, after both were all-conference in 2014.
Peter Boylan finished 11th in the PSAC last year with 15 points.
Returning players to help Peter Boylan at the forward position are Mike Ilodigwe, Matt Sangermano and Gabriel Hrecznyj.
All these returners came off the bench last season. Ilodigwe contributed five goals and Sangermano scored three. Hrecznyj contributed two assist last season.
The frontline will hope to get a boost from two newcomers from Erskine College. These two players are Andre Morgan and Matt Wilson.
Midfield will be SRU’s most inexperienced group. The most experienced returner is junior, Mike Pcholinsky, who made 15 starts last season.
Joining him is returning junior, Josh Allman, who started six of the final eight games for SRU last season.
Stephen McConahy will be entering his senior year with some experience, but he will be new to the midfield, since he has played as a defender since coming to SRU.
The group of defenders is the most experienced group for SRU this season. This group has four seniors, Ryan Boylan, Ryan Lutke, Bevan Bish and Nick Kutcher. These guys will be joined by two juniors, Kyle Boyer and Patrick Sullivan. Sullivan is a transfer from Division 1 Duquesne.
Even with all the fresh faces, Hoggarth still expects the team to be competitive.
“We set team goals to be as successful as we can,” Hoggarth said. “We want to make the playoffs and go from there. I expect to be competitive with the squad we have.”
The 2015 season starts with back-to-back home games, with Malone University coming to town Sept. 3, and Daeman College will make the trip into Mihalik-Thompson Stadium on Sept. 5.