Experience and Leadership Key To Success For Crusaders
Tigerville, SC – After earning a spot in the Conference Carolinas postseason tournament in each of the past two seasons, head coach Chad Gfeller and the North Greenville men’s soccer program is looking to carry over recent success during the 2013 season.
Under the leadership of nine seniors and the experience of nine returning starters, the Crusaders are poised to take on one of the tougher schedules in recent memory.
“A major part of our success over past couple of years has been due to our current senior class,” said Gfeller. “The experience they bring gives us an incredible opportunity this year. Our goal this year is to use that experience and do a better job of competing in the postseason.”
With the departure of former Crusader goalkeeper Justen Braddock, the role of the last line of defense falls on the shoulders of sophomore Pablo Dongarra. The Ecuador native saw action in seven games a year ago, playing 219:21 minutes with a .41 goal against average.
Fellow sophomore Andrew Duncan will be vying with freshman DJ Baker for the backup spot, creating a healthy competition in goal.
The strongest part of the Crusader team comes on defense where it returns all four starters in seniors Ian Murray, Wil Pickel, Cameron Porter and Alex Redding. This defensive unit is unique in the sense that they have scored a combined 12 goals while assisting on five others.
Sophomore Doug Cordi has made tremendous strides over summer and is expected to fill the defensive midfielder role that he occupied for all 15 games last season, while fellow sophomore Shomari Bridgewater also returns to provide depth to the back line.
The Crusaders also possess strength on the offensive side of the ball, returning its top two goal scorers from 2012 in sophomore Adam Turner (7 goals and 2 assists in nine games) and senior Todd Johnston (6 goals in 13 games).
The squad also returns one of its more dynamic playmakers in senior Ben Montry (7 goals and 4 assists in 34 career games) while bringing back sophomore midfielder Ara Zadoorian who started all 15 games of his freshman campaign. Fellow sophomore Thales Wieczorek will also give the team an added dimension after playing in every game last season, including four starts.
“We have returners who have won in the past and bring a strong sense of leadership,” commented Gfeller. “Our attackers have the ability to score from many different places on the field and our back line is extremely organized. “
With strong leadership and experience, the Crusaders hope to improve upon last season and make a deep run into the Conference Carolinas Tournament.