HC men’s soccer preparations underway

Release Date:
August 27, 2007
The Office of Sports Information
(716) 649-7900 ext. 333

2007 season preview

HAMBURG, NY – With their first five games scheduled away from the confines of campus, the Hilbert College men’s soccer team will have some early challenges as preparations get under way for the 2007 season. Third-year head coach Rick Couell has improved the Hawks program in each of his first two seasons on the sidelines. According to Couell, a challenging schedule early should prepare the Hawks for a run at making their first appearance in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) playoffs.

“We will definitely be tested early as we ease our way into conference play”, stated Couell. The Hawks will face seven consecutive non-conference opponents before opening up AMCC play on September 22nd at Penn State Altoona. “The key is to improve week-by-week so we can put ourselves into position to qualify for the conference tournament”.

Senior captains Mike Erlwein (Jeffersonville, NY/Sullivan West) and Patrick Kane (West Seneca, NY/West Seneca West) bring 33 starts between the two of them from 2006. The defensive duo should take pressure off freshmen goalkeepers Chris Hannel (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) and Eric Davies (Tonowanda, NY/Tonawanda) who are competing for the starting job.

Returning forwards Matt Begeal (Northville, NY/Wells) and Karl Bukowecki (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster) are seasoned sophomores after seeing immediate action during their rookie campaign last fall. Begeal started 16 contests in ‘06 while leading the Hawks in assists (4). Bukowecki earned six starts and tallied his first collegiate goal in a 2-2 overtime tie with conference foe Frostburg State last October.

Other returners include sophomore Dave Cunningham (Cheektowaga, NY/Maryvale) who was named the team’s Most Improved Player last fall after just his first season with the Hawks. Defender Dan Gerringer (Olean, NY/Archbishop Walsh) brings two years of experience and could see more time now as an experienced junior.

Look for freshman Brandon Bettinger (Grand Island, NY/Grand Island) and transfers Greg Lake (West Seneca, NY/West Seneca West) and Mike Gabor (Cheektowaga, NY/Maryvale) to join Couell’s rotation. All three should see time in the middle of the field early.

“The reality is we will be relying heavily on some of our newcomers to step-up into starting roles and contribute early”, said Couell. As always, it will be important for the incoming players to mesh in with our veterans as we attempt to build chemistry”.

Improving upon last fall’s 4-12-1 mark will begin on Friday, August 31st as the Hawks face-off against NAIA Division II opponent Daemen College. The first regular season home game is scheduled for September 16th against North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) power Hiram College.

Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.