Monarchs Open Season Friday In West Virginia Tournament

August 29, 2011
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Aug. 29, 2011

NORFOLK, VA--The Old Dominion University Soccer Monarchs who have reached at least the second round of the NCAA College Cup seven of the last nine years, including last year opens the 2011 season Friday, Sept. 2 against Houston Baptist in the opening round of the West Virginia Nike Classic at 4:45 p.m.. The Monarchs will then play 10th ranked West Virginia on Sunday, Sept.4th. ODU is nationally ranked in three polls, including 25th in SOCCER AMERICA, and 26th in COLLEGE SOCCER NEWS.

"Overall we are returning a very good core group and hope to build on our 2010 trip to the NCAA Tournament," said ODU head coach Alan Dawson who is in his 15th season at the helm of the Monarchs program. He is 159-89-25 at ODU making him the school's winningest coach, and 288-119-35 overall in 23 years as a collegiate head coach. Under Dawson, ODU has 13 straight winning seasons, seven NCAA College Cup appearances into the second round, two of which advanced to the third round.

ODU returns seven starters, including four of its leading scorers. Heading the list of returnees is junior forward and co-captain Chris Harmon (Downingtown, PA.), sophomore forward Gideon Asante, junior midfielder Jordan LeBlanc (Haverford, PA.) and sophomore midfielder Alex Vaughan (Virginia Beach, VA. ).

Harmon earned All-State honors and is pre-season All-CAA, as he scored seven goals with three assists for 17 points. Asante was a second team All-CAA selection and Freshman All-American as well as pre-season All-League. Asante scored four goals with two assists last year and is one of 42 standouts on the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List which is the highest individual award in intercollegiate soccer. LeBlanc scored five goals with two assists last year and earned third team All-CAA honors and is also a pre-season All-CAA mention, while Vaughan scored four goals last season as a freshman.

The Monarchs will be counting on sophomore Tim Hopkinson (Nottingham, England) and senior Daniel Lidster (Burke, VA.) along with newcomer Ivan Militar from Hungary up front.

Forwards:" We have five forwards competing for starting jobs. They all bring unique qualities and they all will contribute to our offense. Junior Yannick Smith and sophomore Tim Hopkinson are leading the way in Pre-season but we expect Senior Daniel Lidster, and Freshmen Ivan Militár and Sidney Revira to emerge as contributors." - ODU head coach Alan Dawson Midfield:" Our core group are all returning and include Juniors Chris Harmon (co-captain),Jordan LeBlanc ,as well as sophomores Gideon Asante and Alex Vaughan. This is the strength of our team and we definitely feel that we can score goals from the midfield. We have enough depth to complement this group and have been particularly impressed with freshman Skylar Hagan in pre-season."- Alan Dawson In goal, the Monarchs lost three-time All-CAA keeper Evan Newton to graduation and the MLS, but will have returnees Michael Roura (Middletown, NJ.), Sean Stowe (Midlothian, Va.) and junior newcomer Victor Francoz (Fleurieu Sur Saone, France) competing for time in the net. Francoz was a two-time NAIA and NSCAA All-American at Lindenwood University in Missouri.

Goalkeepers: "We are returning the very capable Senior Michael Roura and sophomore Sean Stowe. Transfer Victor Francoz has raised the bar as they all compete for the starting role." - Alan Dawson. Senior defender and co-captain Tommy Webb (Auckland, New Zealand) will lead the backline which was one of the CAA's toughest to score against last season. Included on the back line are sophomore Jason Gaylord Kendall, NY.) , junior Alex De John (Marlboro, NJ.) and sophomore Ryan Oakes (Virginia Beach, Va.).

Defenders- " Everyone returns in the back and we are anchored by senior co-captain Tommy Webb, along with Jason Gaylord, Alex De John and Ryan Oakes give us a lot of experience. We are deep at this position and can count on senior Drew Smith to help us here or in the midfield."- Alan Dawson The Monarchs will again play another formidable non-conference schedule along with the always strong Colonial Athletic Association. Three of ODU's non-conference opponents are ranked in SOCCER AMERICA's pre-season poll, including third ranked North Carolina, 17th ranked West Virginia and 21st ranked Monmouth.

Again, ODU plays West Virginia in Morgantown on Sept. 4th, Monmouth on Sept. 11 in the ODU Stihl Soccer Classic and second ranked North Carolina on Sept. 27th in Chapel Hill. ODU defeated the Tar Heels last year.

This year's 36th annual Stihl Soccer Classic is Sept 9 and 11, and will include four teams from last year's NCAA College Cup in East Tennessee State, defending CAA champion and 19th ranked William and Mary along with 17th ranked Monmouth and ODU.

CAA play opens up on Sept. 24th when ODU travels to George Mason which is the middle of three road games. The Monarchs CAA home opener is on Sept. 30 against Delaware.

"The schedule is very competitive and features five 2010 NCAA Tournament opponents. Our Stihl classic features two of those teams in ETSU and Monmouth which should make for a very exciting weekend of soccer. Our out of conference opponents also include Top Twenty programs in West Virginia and North Carolina. The CAA schedule will be daunting as usual as every game is a dog fight. We hope that or non- conference schedule prepares us for this." - Alan Dawson

SERIES: This will be ODU's first ever meeting with Houston Baptist. The Huskies are members of the Atlantic Soccer Conference which consists of Howard, NJIT, Longwood, and Adelphi.

The Monarchs and Mountaineers will play on Sunday at 5 p.m. ODU is 1-3-2 against WVU. The Mountaineers defeated the Monarchs last year in ODU's Stihl Soccer Classic, 2-1. ODU's lone win against WVU was a 1-0 decision in 1983. The two also had ties in 1982 and 1992.

Click on the video link below to listen to head coach Alan Dawson talk about the weekend.