Monarch Soccer Hosts NC State in Exhibition Match-up Saturday Night at 7:00 PM
By ODU Athletics
Aug. 27, 2004
NORFOLK, VA -The #9-ranked Old Dominion men's soccer team will host the NC State Wolfpack in an exhibition contest Saturday night at the ODU Soccer Stadium. Game time is at 7:00 PM and admission is free. The game will be a rematch of last year's NCAA Tournament first round game in Norfolk, when the Monarchs defeated NC State 6-3.
Last year's NCAA meeting between the two teams is the only time the two schools have met. This will be the Wolfpack's only exhibition game of the year, while the Monarchs are coming off a 3-2 exhibition victory over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, this past Saturday. Kevon Harris (Kingston, Jamaica), Kyle Hartley (Virginia Beach, VA) and Kevin McMenamin (West Springfield, MA) all scored goals for ODU, while John Connelly had a stellar night in goal against the Hokies.
The Monarchs will kick off their regular season at home Wednesday, September 1, taking on Campbell at 7:00 PM.
2004 Season Preview
The Old Dominion men's soccer team concluded a storybook season in 2003 with a return appearance in the NCAA Tournament second round and a 15-4-1 record. After starting out the season 14-0-0 and achieving a #2 national ranking last season, the Monarchs are looking to take the program to the next level in 2004.
Despite losing three key seniors from last year's squad, including ODU's all-time leading scorer, Attila Vendegh, to graduation, the Monarchs have six starters returning to the team and a nationally ranked seven-member recruiting class that should help ODU continue its recent string of successes.
Last season, the Monarchs were the last Division I team to lose a contest and had a nine-game shutout streak to start off the season. The anchors of last year's stellar defense, Seniors Trevor McEachron (Woodbridge, VA) and Ian Kaila (Fredericksburg, VA), will return to the team this season after both suffering season-ending knee injuries near the end of last season.
"I think we're a little deeper than last year," says head coach Alan Dawson. "We're going to be more balanced and we'll have more ways to attack teams. The big concern will be our backs, how solid they'll be, and also Trevor's status."
Attila Vendegh (Bratislava, Slovakia) once again led the Monarchs in scoring (10 goals, six assists, 26 points) last season, but ODU will have to look to others to carry the load after losing Vendegh to graduation. The Monarchs will look to Junior Brian Cvilikas (Highlands Ranch, CO) take up some of the slack. In 2003, Cvilikas tied Vendegh in goals scored last season (10) and was second on the team in points (21). The team will also look to Kevin McMenamin (West Springfield, MA) to help fill the void. McMenamin had a breakout season last year in his first year with the Monarchs, scoring nine goals, two assists and 20 points. He scored game-winning goals against nationally-ranked California as well as Hofstra.
Ado Fazlic (Richmond, VA) and Kyle Hartley (Virginia Beach, VA) will both add considerable experience to the Monarch frontline, as should transfer Elson Elcock (Brooklyn, NY), who finished 6th in the SAC conference in goals and points en route to being named the SAC Freshman of the Year last season for Wingate University.
"We'll miss Attila for what he does best--finishing chances," Dawson says. "He was our go-to guy. We'll have to get things done by committee this year and we're going to need a lot of guys to contribute."
Senior Kevon Harris (Kingston, Jamaica) will anchor a very capable ODU midfield as the lone senior. Harris finished 4th on the team in points (4 goals, 5 assists, 13 points) last season.
"The team looks up to Kevon," Dawson says. "He's our creative midfield player."
Joining Harris in the midfield is Gregg Mottinger (Carrollton, TX), a sophomore. Mottinger had a tremendous freshman campaign, starting every game and recording two assists to help the Monarchs.
Oluwalana started in three games in 2003, seeing action in 19. He scored the game-winning goal against Stanford in the Cal-Berkeley soccer tournament.
Jared Kent (Marietta, GA) returns to the Monarch lineup after a two year Mormon mission.
"Jared's more mature physically and mentally," Head Coach Alan Dawson says. "We'll look for him to be an immediate impact player."
Rounding out the Monarch midfield are two very talented true freshmen, Braden McPherson (Virginia Beach, VA), who comes from nearby Kellam High School, and A.J. Kulp (Ephrata, PA).
Defense was the name of the game last season, contributing to a CAA-best 0.69 Goals Against Average, allowing only 14 goals in 20 games. Losing no players to graduation, the Monarch defense should look very similar to last season's. Trevor McEachron was named National Player of the Week by Soccer News (9/14), was back-to-back CAA Player of the Week (9/15 and 9/22), the CAA Defender of the Year, was named to the All-CAA First Team and was a NSCAA/Adidas First Team All-American selection. McEachron started in 15 games before being sidelined with a knee injury against George Mason last year.
Ian Kaila also suffered a season-ending knee injury last season, in a game against James Madison. Kaila is a solid defender and should once again be a vital part of the Monarchs' defense. Senior Defender Brian Kluckman (Springfield, VA) was one of only two Monarchs to start every game last year. In 2004, Kluckman should be one of the leaders on defense. Bamidele Oluwalana (Oslo, Norway), Belus Vendegh (Bratislava, Slovakia) and Eric Hoglund (Fairfax County, VA) should also add considerable depth to the backfield. David Horst (Pine Grove, PA) will join the Monarchs squad this season as a true freshman.
Trevor McEachron hopes to be able to significantly contribute for the Monarchs this season, as a senior.
ODU loses last season's starting goalkeeper, Sam Cameron, to graduation. John Connelly (Rockville, MD), Cameron's back-up in 2003, saw action in 16 minutes against Longwood in the Stihl Soccer Classic.
Joining Connelly will be two freshmen, Jon Curry-Edwards (Brielle, NJ) and Bryan Fossi (Lilitz, PA). Connelly will be the front-runner to take the starting spot, but both Curry-Edwards and Fossi will be competing for the job.
"What we lose in Cameron," Dawson says, "is experience. Playing in actual games makes a difference."
Schedule and Outlook
The Monarchs are looking once again at a very difficult schedule in 2004, hosting powerhouse North Carolina, as well as very tough teams in Navy and Rutgers, in the ODU Stihl Soccer Classic. ODU will face American and Hartwick at the Nike Tribe Soccer Classic, hosted by William & Mary and host a very talented Davidson squad.
"The schedule's very competitive," Dawson says. "The conference is getting stronger every year. I feel we have a nationally-competitive schedule this year."
The Monarchs will once again start off the regular season with an extended home stand, hosting Campbell and Davidson before kicking off the Stihl Soccer Classic, where ODU will meet Navy and Rutgers. After a brief road trip to UMBC, the Monarchs will return home to face North Carolina September 21. American University and perennial contender Hartwick will be the Monarchs' opponents at the Nike Tribe Soccer Classic before ODU kicks off a very tough Colonial Athletic Association schedule. ODU will travel to Charlottesville, VA on October 27 to face a very formidable foe in the University of Virginia before once again ending the season with a match-up against William & Mary. The CAA Tournament will begin November 9.
After making back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in school history, and a record-breaking 2003 campaign, the Monarchs will look to once again be a national contender in Division I men's soccer.
"Momentum is big," Dawson says. "We need to get a good start and stay injury-free. If we can create the chemistry and camaraderie that we had last season, we'll be very competitive."