Sept. 1 - BETHANY, W.Va. - The Bethany College men’s soccer team enters the 2016 season with plenty of experience along with expectations to make a statement in the Presidents Athletic Conference (PAC).
The Bison return 11 from last season who appeared in more than 10 games, and ninth year head coach Sean Regan expects that experience to kick-start the team into more positive scenarios and ultimately, wins.
“We return a good core. A lot of the success we had was from the guys we have coming back, so we want to build on that,” said Regan. He notes that with the experience returning, a lot of freshman will see action.
Senior captain Jack Waters (Epsom, United Kingdom/Glyn School) is coming off an All-Conference junior season at midfield after scoring 12 goals and tallying five assists in 2015. While Waters’ play has been superb throughout his career, it has been his willingness to step into a leadership role that gives the coaching staff such about excitement this season, and now he and his teammates are ready to act on it.
“Jack is a great leader. He has a great attitude and he works hard. He is really determined to be successful. We really look for him to help acclimate some of the young guys who will be on the field with him,” said Regan
A major emphasis for Bethany last year was to score more. After only netting 11 goals in 2014, the Bison scored 36 in 2015, and they look to continue their upward trend. Along with Waters on offense, Regan will have help from junior Adam Franco (Inglewood, Ca./Carter) along with freshman Jose Arzate (Waller, Tx./Waller) and Baboucor Sellah-Mohammed (Arlington, Va. /Fishburne Military).
On defense, Daniel Booth (Stockport, Cheshire, England/Poynton) and Kai Whitney (Melbourne, Fla./Eau Gallie) both carry strong freshman campaigns under their belts after starting 19 and 16 games, respectively, and Regan will look to them again to help anchor the defense in 2016.
In the net, Bethany will look to Callum Appleby after a committee approach in 2015.
Callum Appleby (Maidstone, United Kingdom/Maidstone) and Riley Harrison (Ballarat, Australia/Ballar Grammar) both saw action at goalkeeper last year. Appleby was the strongest of the group, appearing in eight games, making 55 saves while allowing only 19 goals for a 2.57 goals against average (GAA). Harrison saw action in five contests making 20 saves while surrendering 11 goals.
Regan added, “Hopefully we can keep the goal scoring rate up again this year and obviously we want to lower the goals against rate as well. We want to push for that fourth spot to grab a (PAC) playoff berth this year, I think that’s realistic for us.”
Bethany starts their journey on Saturday, Sept. 4, at Johns Hopkins. They return to Hoag Field for their home opener against Marietta on Wednesday, Sept. 7, in a game slated for a 4:00 p.m. start.