Hobart returns 17 veterans from last year’s squad after suffering six key losses to graduation. Liberty League Player of the Year, forward Dan Riso, midfielders Philipp Schoeniger and Tyler Webster, defenders Matt Schwartz and Keenan Simons, and goalie Pete Van Dellon will be sorely missed. All six were All-Liberty League selections, and five were NSCAA all-region picks. They are a part of the most successful class in program history, leading the Statesmen to a 49-17-11 (.708) record over the past four years, and earning three NCAA Tournament berths. Offensive standouts Riso, Webster, and Schoeniger accounted for 25 of Hobart’s 42 goals last season.
Shawn Griffin, the 2008 NSCAA Northeast Region Coach of the Year, is excited about the strong group of veterans returning, including 12 with experience in the starting lineup.
“Even though were still a young team, we have more depth at every position this year,” Griffin said. “We lost a lot of veteran leadership, but the core of the team is still here, working hard and excited to start the season. The trip to Ireland helped to kick start our match fitness and team bonding.”
Here’s a position-by-position look at the 2009 Statesmen:
In the midfield, sophomore all-conference picks Chris King and Evan Grey return, along with classmate Mike Moulton, junior Justin Dotzman and seniors Tom Moulton and Grant Morrison.
Grey started all 22 games last year, filling in holes as needed. He finished with two goals after spending part of the season on the defensive end of the field. King worked his way into the starting lineup for 15 of the 20 matches he played in, totaling a goal and an assist. His goal was the lone tally in a victory at Medaille. Mike Moulton played in 19 contests, starting five, and notched a goal and three assists on the year, while his older brother, Tom, saw action in 11 games, starting three (1 assist). After recovering from an injury, Dotzman reclaimed his starting spot in the midfield for the second half of the season, while Morrison (2 goals) saw time in 11 matches and is expected to step up his play this fall.
Joining them in the midfield will be sophomore transfer Andres Rios, seniors Andrew Dann and Troy Miller, and first-years Alex Kittelberger, Reuben Burk, and Will Abbott.
Dann, who missed the past two seasons due to injury, Miller, Abbott, Burk, and Kittelberger, a former first-team All-Greater Rochester selection, will compete for time in the midfield. A transfer from Loyola (Md.), Rios is a strong, mature player who is expected to make an immediate impact on the team.
At forward, sophomore Tommy Hayes is the top returning scorer. He tallied three goals and five helpers, and tied the record for assists in a game (3) in a win over Vassar. Junior Kevin McCarthy returns up front as well, after notching a goal and a helper last year. He was responsible for the game-winner against Cabrini in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Two transfers, sophomores Tony Yeboah and Dennis Smalley will add power and speed to the front line. Yeboah, a transfer from Villanova, played in 13 games and netted one goal for the Wildcats last year. The highly-decorated forward is also the 2007 Maine State Champion in the indoor 55-meter hurdles. Meanwhile, Smalley, a transfer from Rutgers, earned All-New York State honors as a senior in high school, and was voted one of the top forwards in Central New York.
First-year Caetano Sanchez, a former Player of the Year in Manhattan, also brings speed, fitness, and creativity to the position. Sophomore Andrew Steates and sophomore transfer Ryan Geswell will add depth to the front line.
Holding down the defense will be senior Matt Geswell, the lone starter returning from a 2008 unit that allowed just 14 goals and posted 11 shutouts. Geswell started all 21 games he played in, registered five assists, and set a new program standard for assists in a game (3) in a 3-0 win at Rochester. After playing in 18 matches off the bench and netting one goal, sophomore Nate Bechtold will look to grab a starting spot this season, as will sophomores Jho Jan Restrepo (5 games played-1 game started), and Nate Friedman (6 GP-3 GS).
First-year Taylor Jones is the lone newcomer to back line. An all-state, all-region, and all-conference selection in high school, he will challenge for playing time right away.
Van Dellon, who recorded 11 shutouts, a 0.62 goals against average, and an 18-1-3 mark in goal in 2008, leaves a gaping hole to be filled in net. Griffin has four young netminders vying for the open position; sophomores Alex Witherell and Charlie Hale, and newcomers Eric DeRose and Stephen Bruening. After missing the entire 2008 season due to injury, Hale has come back strong and ready for action, while Witherell is the only keeper with collegiate game experience; he saw limited action in one match last year.
The Statesmen’s 2009 schedule is a tough one, featuring five teams that competed in the 2008 NCAA Tournament; 18th-ranked Rochester, Medaille, Ithaca, and Liberty League foes St. Lawrence and Rensselaer. Hobart will enjoy a seven-game homestand beginning Sept. 12 when it squares off against Brockport, followed by St. John Fisher (Sept. 15), the Yellowjackets (Sept. 20), Vassar (Sept. 25), Rensselear (Sept. 26), Medaille (Sept. 29), and Fredonia (Oct. 3).
Hobart will begin the season Sept. 5, when it takes on RIT at 11 a.m., in the first match of the Doug May Classic hosted by Nazareth.