This year the Hobart soccer team returns a core of experienced players and welcomes a strong, balanced first-year class. The Statesmen play an historic season opener; hosting Wells College on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. on Boswell Field. It will be the first meeting between the two schools and the first ever home night game for Hobart.
Last season, the Statesmen started off strong upsetting defending national champion and top-ranked Messiah College 2-1 in overtime. Hobart finished the year with a 7-6-4 mark securing its fifth consecutive winning season.
The Statesmen lost just one senior, 2010 points leader Kevin McCarthy, to graduation from last year’s squad. The experienced group of returners in 2011 includes senior captains Justin Dotzman, Michael Moulton, and Lukas Petersen. Dotzman begins his third season as captain after having started all 17 games last year. He earned All-Liberty League honorable mention, and ranked third on the team with seven points on two goals and three assists. Petersen was also one of just four Statesmen to start all 17 games last fall. He led the team with four goals and garnered All-Liberty League honorable mention. Moulton saw time in four games, recording a goal and three assists before being sidelined by an injury. In 2009, he started all 20 contests, earned All-Liberty League honorable mention and finished 2010 tied for second on the team in points (13) and goals (5).
The experience and maturity doesn’t end with the captains. This year’s roster includes 10 other seniors who will bring additional leadership and a wealth of playing experience to the field. Charlie Hale returns in goal for the Statesmen. The two-time All-Liberty League selection posted a 0.95 goals against average, a .839 save percentage and tallied three shutouts last fall. He finished the season ranked second in the league with 73 saves. Hale will be backed up by fellow senior Alex Witherall.
Evan Grey started all 14 games that he played in last fall and earned All-Liberty League honors for the third straight year. Andres Rios will bring additional experience to the midfield position, having played in 13 games last season.
Seniors Jhojan Restrepo and Andrew Steates, along with Petersen and Dotzman, will anchor the Statesmen defensive unit. Hobart will be looking to improve on a 1.00 goals against average last season and four shutouts. Tony Yeboah, Tommy Hayes and Ryan Geswell will take on leadership roles on the offensive front. Yeboah saw time in all 17 games last fall, starting 13. Hayes played in eight contests, posting three goals and an assist, while Geswell also played in eight games and recorded a goal. Hayes and Geswell suffered injuries that kept them out for the second half of the season, but both will look to return to form this fall.
The Statesmen return six juniors. Will Abbott is back at forward. He posted one goal and two helpers in 17 games last year. At midfield, Reuben Burk, Caetano Sanchez, Alex Kittelberger and Ian McGarty bring more experience and depth. Burke took the field in seven games and McGarty played in four, scoring a goal before suffering an injury that kept him out for the rest of the season. Sanchez played in 16 games and logged a goal and an assist. Kittelberger started all 17 games and tallied three goals. Taylor Jones will bolster the defense. He played a key role in Hobart’s defensive unit last season playing in 16 games and starting 10.
Sophomores Kaeghan Kelly and Remi McDonough will add to the depth on the back line. Kelly saw time in 14 games in his first year as a Statesman. Eli Vitale returns at midfield. He played in all 17 games, starting 13, and posted a goal and two assists. Fellow sophomore Andrew Malordy will look to be an offensive contributor. He played in eight games last fall, and recorded his first collegiate goal in the season-opening win over Alfred.
The Statesmen welcome seven first-years to the squad. The class that includes a forward, three midfielders, two defenders and a goalie is a talented group. Mike Lucas, Kyle Herod, Bernard Abagali, Ryan Lotzar, Oddmund Nesbakk, Joseph Holway and Josh Galindez-Webb bring solid playing experience and will look to make an immediate impact on the field.
After taking on Wells on Thursday, the Statesmen will travel to Massachusetts for matches against Babson and Wheaton over the weekend. Hobart will return to Geneva for a three-match homestand, hosting Medaille, St. John Fisher and Rochester. The Statesmen will kick off Liberty League play at Clarkson on Sept. 24.