Oberlin, Ohio – Under the direction of 15th year Head Coach Blake New, the Yeomen soccer team is primed and ready to make a run at an NCAC Championship.
Last fall the Yeomen finished the season with a 9-7-1 mark, 4-5-0 in NCAC competition.
The Yeomen will have to replace four of their top five scorers from last season, including top scorer Ed Vitoria. However, sophomore standout forward Slade Gottlieb hopes to fill that void.
Last fall as a freshman, Gottlieb, a native of Alpharetta, GA, finished second on the team with 10 points on four goals and two assists.
Sophomore midfielder John Ingham will also be turned to as he started 15 games for the Yeoman last fall and finished the season with one goal and three assists. His assist total was good enough to tie him for the team lead.
"We're expecting Slade and John to mature into more influential roles in the attack," said Coach New. "We'll be relying on Slade to be our midfield hub and creative spark in the attack. We have high expectations for John to be force in the final third. He should add significantly to his offensive production from his first season."
The return to health of senior captain Joe Graybeal with his composure in front of goal is a very welcome addition to the Yeomen squad. Dylan Tencic had a strong spring season and the coaching staff is expecting significant contributions from him this year.
Brandt Rentel will be in goal again this year for his senior season. The veteran has started 31 games in goal over the previous two seasons, including all 17 last fall.
"Brandt has matured significantly in the last two seasons," said Coach New. "He returns as the undisputed number one, we're looking for him to be more consistent and anchor what will be a much changed rearguard."
His 72 saves last year tied him for fourth in the NCAC and his save percentage of .774 ranked him fifth in the conference. The Croton, NY native also turned in a 1.22 goals-against average, which was sixth best in the conference.
Returning from injury is senior Aidan Apel who missed all of last season, but started 30 games between 2010 and 2011 for the Yeomen, including all 18 in 2011. The La Canada, CA native could be a staple at center back.
Junior Josh Wilkerson will also be turned to defensively this year as he started 14 contests and netted one goal last fall.
Six freshmen will be joining the Yeomen soccer team, including Nick Wertman, the 2012 Cleveland Plain Dealer player of the Year from Westlake High School. He captained the Cleveland United Soccer Club to three consecutive Ohio North State Cup runner-up finishes.
We're really excited about our first year class. We're expecting Wertman to contribute very early as a play-maker in the center of the park," said Coach New. "Dan Lev has showed some flashes early in camp and his technical ability should put him in position to both score and set up goals."
The Yeomen will get their season started on Aug. 30 in Holland, MI against Hope College. They'll return home for their home opener on Sept. 6 against Penn St.-Behrend, before starting NCAC competition on Sept. 28 at Wittenberg University.