Men's Soccer Preview
- Release Date:
- August 31, 2012
- The Office of Sports Information
- (716) 649-7900 ext. 333
The Hilbert Hawk’s men’s soccer team is getting a fresh start with Coach Jeff Panik’s first recruiting class entering the program. 12 new players will join 14 committed returners, bringing a mix of experience and energy. “I am extremely excited to work with the group of young men we have in the program. We made some personnel decisions in the off-season to get the chemistry right within the team, and have added some players that will be able to step in and contribute right away. There will be a lot of competition for spots on the field, which will only make us stronger as a team,” Panik said.
Rick Couell rejoins the program as assistant coach. Couell was previously an assistant and head coach at Hilbert, as well as an assistant at Daemen College. Panik says of Couell, “Rick adds an immense amount of experience in the college game, and is very driven to see the program reach new heights. He is a great addition, and the guys respect him and enjoy working with him.”
Leading the Hawks on the field in the 2012 campaign will be senior captains Scott Cvetkovski and James Knapp. The two veteran players will anchor the back line for the Hawks. In the back, Alfred State transfer Michael Gee is a key addition at the center back. He is a strong, disciplined player who the Hawks will look for leadership from early on. Senior Jon Flowers fills out the experienced back four of upper classmen. Sophomore Tyler Coniglio, junior Josh Walsh-Steines, sophomore Dan Stanton and Erie Community College transfer Jonathan Monheim will add depth in the back.
The midfield will see the greatest change within the team, featuring three new likely starters. Genesee Community College transfer Justin Welliver adds stability to the center midfield, while freshman Mario Williams should add attacking flair. Freshman Austin Mathis is expected to add both a defensive and offensive presence which should balance the midfield. Seniors Greg Zitnik and Papa Akrasi will be fighting for time in the attacking midfield role, as well as Corning Community College transfer Cody Arnold and sophomore Matthew Saxton.
Out wide, the Hawks have a choice from a number of creative players, including senior Ed Minkel and junior Yonis Osman, both returning from a 2011 season that was hampered by injuries. Medaille transfer Ryan Leljedal and senior Andy D’Amico will vie for time on the wing, with each bringing a different set of skills to the table. Up front, LeMoyne transfer Jonathan Davison and freshman Jordan Lynch will look to add scoring punch, while freshmen Wil Strehlow and Kyle English will compete to be on the field as freshmen.
“I am extremely anxious to get going with things,” Panik said. “This is my second season, but I feel like things are just beginning here with my first recruiting class; with the guys we brought in added to the committed group we have returning, I believe we have the opportunity to establish the program and turn some heads. These guys are hungry and are chomping at the bit to get going.”
Hilbert opens the season at the Potsdam Invitational Tournament, September 1 and 2. They are scheduled to play Castleton College in the first round. Before they return to Hamburg, the Hawks will travel to Wells and Grove City the first week of classes. September 11 and 16, the men will host Alfred U and Penn State Beaver prior to their home game against Thiel September 19. AMCC play opens with a road game to Mount Aloysius (9/22) a home contest vs. cross town rival Medaille (9/25) and away at Pitt-Greensburg (9/29). Of their last six games on the schedule in October, three are home and three are on the road. Franciscan travels to Hilbert October 6 but then the Hawks hit the pavement for three back to back to back AMCC games (Pitt-Bradford, Altoona, and D’Youville). They end their season with senior day on October 20 (La Roche) and Behrend on October 23. The AMCC play-offs begin Saturday, October 27 and the championship game is scheduled for Saturday, November 3.
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. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs, one a master’s in criminal justice administration and the other a master’s in public administration, and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.
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