Penn State Men’s Soccer Preview
New head coach Bob Warming couldn’t have come into a better situation in his first year in Happy Valley. Last year, the Nittany Lions men’s soccer team had a 12-8-2 record, good enough to earn them the #7 overall seed and a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament.
While they lost to semifinalist Maryland in the second round, the experience gained by the nine starters and 16 lettermen Warming has returning will hopefully light a spark and lead them to greater heights this year and help to make Warming’s job a little easier (something even the sixth-winningest active coach in college soccer wouldn’t mind).
Although the 2009 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and recent MLS draftee Jason Yeisley is gone, the team returns 73 percent of its scoring from last year. Leading the offense will be junior Corey Hertzog who had 11 goals last season. The Brazilian Matheus Braga will also be counted on after a seven goal, seven assist 2009 season which allowed him to be an all-Big Ten selection.
The defense will look to senior captain Andrew Casias for leadership. He has started 48 games in his career and is one of the toughest kids on this team. Warren Gross will be between the pipes this year after posting nine shutouts and a 0.83 goals against average last season, good enough for third in the Big Ten.
It should be noted that this is Penn State soccer’s 100th year of existence and at the October 23rd matchup with Ohio State, there will be a ceremony held at Jeffrey Field to commemorate the event. Other games of note this season are the Big Ten opener with fierce rival Indiana on September 24th and a home game against Akron, the number-one ranked team in the country, on October 13th.
We can only hope that Coach Warming has the same success here as he has had at Creighton and St. Louis. For those of you who don’t know, that would mean multiple national championships, certainly something no one would mind.