Aug. 21 - BETHANY, W. Va. - Two years removed from conference tournament play, the Bethany College men’s soccer team will look to utilize a team-centered focus to step back into the conference spotlight in 2014.
The Bison will be tasked with replacing Arkangelo James, who had a storied career as a member of the Green & White. James was a two-time Presidents’ Athletic Conference Player of the Year and a four-time First-Team All-PAC selection. He was also a four-time All-Great Lakes Region selection including earning first-team honors in 2013.
The team will also look for a replacement for two-time all-conference performer, Lamine Balde. Last season, the two combined to score 27 of the teams 37 goals and added 14 assists.
“Ark and Lamine were two special players that don’t come around very often," remarked seventh-year head coach Sean Regan. "We’re obviously going to miss the production they brought. With that being said, however, I’m excited to see how this team responds and am looking forward to seeing new guys step up.”
Looking to take the next step for the Bison this season include sophomore midfielder Jack Waters (Epsom, United Kingdom/Glyn School) and senior midfielder Nick Turner (Huntington, W.Va./St. Joseph Central Catholic).
Waters, who started 20 games from his midfield position, notched four points including two assists and a goal. He also ranked third on the team with 10 shots on goal. Coach Regan is excited about his captain’s potential and hopes to see him continue to improve in his second year as a Bison.
“Jack is a guy that is respected by his teammates as well as the coaching staff. This camp, he has shown up in great shape and we’re excited about what he brings to the table.”
Turner, who also plays midfield for the Bison, tallied four points in 19 starts a season ago. Being one of seven seniors on the squad, Coach Regan will count on Turner’s experience and leadership for the 2014 campaign.
“Nick has always been a high character player, who brings great energy every single day. A hard worker, the guys certainly look up to Nick and appreciate his intensity for the sport.”
Joining Waters and Turner at midfield, will be sophomores Sanjay Joshi (Fullerton, Calif./Troy) and Emmet Dwyer (Tipperary, Ireland/Borrisokane Community College). With over 22 starts between the two, Coach Regan is excited about the experience and depth his midfield provides.
“Midfield is certainly our strongest position right now, with the guys we have returning as well as players we brought in with this year’s freshman class.”
The defense comes into the 2014 season looking to continue the improvement it saw a year ago. In 2013, the Bison allowed 10 less goals and nearly 40 less shots than in 2012. This year the defense will once again be spearheaded by seniors Daryl Fenton (Dagenham, England/Jo Richardson) and Tyler Pannebaker (Pittsburgh, Pa./Moon).
Fenton started in 18 games last season, while Pannebaker saw action in 16 contests.
“Daryl has a lot of heart and determination and it certainly rubs off on his teammates," replied Regan. “He has been a consistent player for the Bison program and will be counted on to be the vocal leader of the defense."
“Tyler is a great kid and really did a nice job for us last season on the back end,” remarked Regan. “He also brings some offensive skill to the table, so we will definitely try and utilize him on the attack.”
Returning at keeper for the Bison will be sophomore Callum Appleby (Maidstone, United Kingdom/Maidstone Grammar School). Appleby, who notched 18 starts between the pipes last season, logged 79 saves on 245 shots. Coach Regan feels Appleby is ready to take the next step in becoming an elite keeper.
“Callum was thrown into the fire last season, starting as a freshman,” said Regan. “This camp, he has entered with a great work ethic and is working hard to become one of the top goalies in the league.”
The Bison will kick off the season on Saturday, August 30, as they will take on the College of Wooster in the Marietta College Tournament. The Green & White’s first home contest is on Wednesday, Sept. 3, as they play host to the Bobcats of Frostburg State University. Their first conference game will come against the Titans of Westminster College on October 8.
Check out our interview with Coach Regan in the video below!