Men’s Soccer Confident Despite Roster Turnover
The fact that Frostburg Men’s soccer suffered the graduation of 13 seniors, and the loss of 17 total players from last year would normally signal that this would be a rebuilding year. However, 13th year head coach Keith Byrnes believes his 2014 Frostburg State men’s soccer team will still be able to compete with any team in the Capital Athletic Conference. “Our goal is to finish in the top-six in the league and earn a spot in the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament,” mentioned Byrnes.
Only welcoming back four upperclassmen from the 2013 season, Coach Byrnes has many obstacles ahead. “We have a long way to go with the lineup because of the number of young players we have on the team,” stated Byrnes. “As the year progresses, I feel we will be in a position to compete with anyone in the conference.”
Just one year ago, the Bobcats featured 14 seniors. This year’s roster holds 16 freshmen and sophomores, as well as a handful of juniors that are appearing on the roster for the first time. “We are looking at this season as a fresh start because of the number of new players and it has allowed us to implement a new style of play,” said Byrnes. “We will be a possession oriented team that will play to our strengths, which will be our technical ability and our combination play.”
“Last year, we played a different style with our bigger and faster strikers,” mentioned Byrnes. “Our returning players this season have done a nice job early on in promoting the new changes. They have taken the team on their shoulders and have helped the younger guys buy into those changes.”
Leading the Bobcats will be the return of seniors Joe Clarke, Bryan Lentine and Bryan Whitmore, along with junior Mitchell Muise.
“The four have really stepped up and become vocal leaders on the team,” said Byrnes. “They have been very positive and provided a great base in which to build from.”
Clarke made four starts and played in 16 games as a junior in the midfield. He is the team’s returning scoring leader from last year after finding the net twice and handing out one assist. This fall, he will switch to the defense and will join Muise in providing a solid back line.
Muise returns as the Bobcats’ top defender. He appeared in eight games last fall and helped the Frostburg defensive unit post a 1.34 goal against average with seven shutouts.
Lentine, a midfielder, saw the most action of the group, appearing in all 20 games while making 10 starts. Lentine scored one goal and should take on a larger role this season.
Whitmore missed the 2013 season due to injury, but has returned to the lineup at full strength. As a junior in 2012, he started 16 games and finished fifth on the team in scoring behind three goals and one assist.
Sophomore Hassan Mostafa (pictured above) returns as the team’s starting goalkeeper after appearing in 15 games as a freshman. He finished with eight wins and made 39 saves.
Sophomore Chris Herbert started 15 of 18 games in the midfield a year ago, and should again earn a starting spot. The coaches like his energy in the midfield and he should improve on his numbers (3 goals) in his second year.
FSU’s men’s soccer team will host Hood College next on September 24 at 7 pm.
Featured picture is credited to FSU Athletics.