#22 Monarchs Host N.C. State in Regular Season Opener Thursday at 7:00 PM
By ODU Athletics
Aug. 31, 2005
NORFOLK, VA--The #22 ranked Old Dominion Soccer Monarchs kick off their 2005 regular season campaign at the ODU Soccer Stadium on Thursday night against the N.C. State Wolfpack. Game time is at 7:00 p.m. In the only meeting between the two squads, Old Dominion came out on top 6-3 in the first round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament. ODU and N.C. State also played to a 0-0 tie in an exhibition match last season.
The Monarchs finished their exhibition schedule 1-0-1, tying Virginia Tech 1-1 before knocking off American 3-1 on the road. ODU has strung together a 23 match home winning streak during the regular season, and have not lost a regular season match at home since 2002. The Monarchs have also made three consecutive appearances in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and look to continue that streak in 2005.
ODU returns to action on Friday September 9th when the Stihl Classic commences with a match against Rhode Island at 7:00 p.m. The Monarchs will follow up with a game against Clemson on Sunday September 11th at 2:30 p.m. William & Mary is the fourth participant in the tourney.
2005 Season Preview
The Old Dominion men's soccer team, under the guidance of Coach Alan Dawson, continues to set school milestones as the program climbs it's way to national prominence. In 2003, the Monarchs were the last Division I squad to be defeated and were ranked as high as #2 during the season. Last season, the Monarchs finished with a 13-6-2 record and accomplished something no other ODU men's soccer team could- earn a seed in the NCAA tournament (#12). After three consecutive NCAA tourney appearances, the Monarchs are primed to take the program to even further heights.
The Monarchs lost six seniors, including Monarch great Kevon Harris, to graduation, but still return 10 players and eight starters from their 2004 squad. In that list is former first-team All-American and Senior Trevor McEachron, making a comeback after sitting out 2004 with an injury. Another solid recruiting job by Dawson will shore up the team's depth situation, and hopefully prepare the Monarchs for more NCAA tournament appearances in the near future.
In 2004, the CAA runner-up Monarchs were ranked as high as #4 in the country, and ultimately finished ranked #19 nationally. Coach Dawson believes that now is the time to take matters one step further. "We were disappointed we didn't win the conference last year, and that will be a goal of ours this season- to be in the mix for the CAA title. We would like to host the CAA finals- so that is very much something in the second half of the season that we will focus on," says Dawson.
Senior Brian Cvilikas (Highland Springs, CO), fast approaching the Monarch all-time scoring leader charts with 40 career points, is the central figure of this unit. After finishing third on the team in points last year with 15, 2005 looks to be a possible springboard for Cvilikas to explore a possible professional playing career after his collegiate days are done.
Edson Elcock (Brooklyn, NY), and Ross Mackenzie (Richmond, VA), both juniors, are coming off fine 2004 campaigns. Elcock netted five goals, which includes two game-winners. He also had a terrific spring, and should really turn the corner in 2005. MacKenzie is another key offensive figure for the Monarchs, and possesses a true nose for scoring goals. Elcock and Mackenzie have a chance to become a prolific scoring duo at forward for the Monarchs.
ODU is loaded with depth and ability at the midfield positions this season, as the team has several capable midfield players ready to take advantage of their opportunity to shine. Dawson calls junior Gregg Mottinger (Carrollton, TX) the "anchor" of this unit. Mottinger is a very active and steady presence for the Monarchs in the crucial position of center midfield. Jared Kent (Marietta, GA) returned to the Monarchs last season after spending two years on a Mormon mission and quickly made his presence known, nabbing CAA All-Tournament honors. Dawson calls Kent one of the most talented players he has coached, adding, "he is the maestro in terms of his technique and ability to dictate a game." Sophomore A.J. Kulp (Ephrata, PA), who is pushing for an attacking midfield role, is expected to contribute offensively this season finishing scoring chances and could be a breakout player in 2005. Pambos Demetriades returns to the Monarchs this season after contributing for the squad in 2003.
Defense has been one of the more consistent strengths for the Monarchs in the past few years, allowing the team to earn 17 shutouts the last two seasons. This year's edition should continue on the defensive tradition. "As it relates to specific positions, the defense will be our mainstay this season. I think we will be strong in the back, and if we build our season from that premise first, we should have a good year," says Dawson.
Former All-American Trevor McEachron's comeback from a knee injury is the big story for the defensive unit in 2005. "He has worked extremely hard, and has went through 7 operations, and will be back on the pitch. He has shown a tremendous attitude and work habit to get back to this point. Trevor is excited to be back, and we're excited to have him because he brings a presence you can not put a price on," says Dawson. If McEachron can play anywhere near the level that he did before his injury in 2003, the Monarch D will be in excellent shape.
All-CAA Rookie team honoree David Horst (Pine Grove) is back to continue piling up accolades and preventing scoring opportunities for opponents. Horst dropped almost 10 pounds in the offseason and is more mobile than ever. Dawson expects big things from Horst in 2005.
Ado Fazlic (Richmond, VA) returns for his senior year and aims to challenge for a starting role on defense after spending most of his career at forward. "Ado is a true Monarch who will sacrifice for the cause no matter what. He is an essential element to our squad," says Dawson.
Bamidele Oluwalana (Oslo, Norway) is a senior who Dawson is high on. "He has a lot of confidence, and played over the summer a lot. Bami is very fit and focused," says Dawson. Justin Monroe (Disputanta, VA) is a highly athletic defender who could seriously challenge for a starting position if he can keep his focus
ODU returns their starting goalkeeper from last season, senior John Connelly (Rockville, MD). Connelly earned eight shutouts last season, a 1.07 goals against average, and helped lead the Monarchs to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Jon Curry-Edwards (Brielle, NJ) had a tremendous spring season, and will challenge the incumbent for the starting position between the pipes this season. Dawson says, "Jon had a tremendous spring season, and in some regard might push John, so that will be a real interesting preseason camp challenge. A transfer from Lynchburg, senior Dan Ruch, could also push for playing time this season.
Ten newcomers will be calling themselves Monarchs in 2005, and there appears to be a load of potential and possibilities from this incoming group. Dan Ruch could challenge for a starting position at keeper. Djordje Jankovic played on the U-16 national team in Serbia and will provide the Monarch's a left-footed defensive presence in the near future. Trevor Banks, from Milwaukee, was the Midwest Region II captain for a tour in Italy and was also an Adidas ESP All-Star. He is a versatile player who can contribute anywhere on the field.
Steve Rupp is from Fredericksburg, a Virginia Olympic Development Program player, and is a very strong physical defender. Transfer Yomby William has made his way to Old Dominion via Cameroon and Dschang University. "He's big, strong, very athletic, technically sound with the ball, and we're real excited to have him. He should be a very good player for us," says Dawson. Bobby Fogelsong is an attacking midfielder who played for the Virginia ODP as well, and is extremely talented and technical.
Jason Loizou is a local product from Cox HS who plays with good pace, and could be a prolific goal scorer if he can adjust to the collegiate level. Truls Kjendlie, from Norway, is a transfer from Pacific Lutheran. Kjendlie should contribute in the defense and midfield. "Kjendlie is athletic, technical, should be a wing player who provides good service, and we think he can help us right away," Dawson noted. Justin Vaughter, from Richmond, is a sophomore transfer from Alabama A&M whose very technically sound. Vaughter is a dynamic player who should see time at both the forward and midfield positions. Finally, Aaron Good is a possession midfielder from Pennsylvania who played pre-collegiate with and against current Monarchs David Horst and A.J. Kulp.
Schedule and Outlook
ODU is once again staring at a very challenging schedule in 2005. The Monarchs will face five ACC teams, traveling to Chapel Hill, NC to challenge North Carolina, hosting Virginia Tech in an exhibition, and welcoming Clemson along with North Carolina State. Virginia makes their first appearance in Norfolk since 1997, when ODU upset the #1 ranked Cavaliers. Clemson, Rhode Island, and William & Mary comprise the Stihl Soccer Classic participants this year, and it should be one of the strongest Stihl fields to date. "The Stihl Classic field is excellent," says Dawson. "We're very excited. William & Mary of course, is back. Rhode Island is an NCAA team from last year, and is always competitive. Of course, Clemson is an ACC powerhouse who has had an excellent recruiting class and are always well coached."
Once again, the Monarchs will kick off the regular season with an extended homestand, hosting N.C. State before commencing the Stihl Classic with matches against Rhode Island and Clemson. The Monarchs will follow up the Stihl Classic with another home match against up and coming Elon. ODU's game against Virginia is sandwiched between three trips to North Carolina to challenge North Carolina, Davidson, and their first CAA conference match against UNC-Wilmington. As it relates to their CAA schedule, the Monarchs will hit the road to face UNCW, George Mason, Towson, Delaware, Drexel, and William & Mary, and will host Hofstra, VCU, James Madison, and the two newest CAA additions- Georgia State and Northeastern. "Two more teams means that the last couple weeks of conference play will be a dogfight to see who gets into the tournament," says Dawson, referring to Georgia State and Northeastern.
After making three consecutive appearances in the second round of the NCAA College Cup, and earning the nation's 7th highest all-time home winning streak at 22 games, the Monarchs are hoping to once again make some post-season noise. They will need to get through five CAA teams who finished in the top 45 in RPI rankings last season, along with the nation's 4th toughest conference for men's soccer, but Dawson believes that the challenging non-conference schedule will have his players ready.
"If we can do well in the first half of the season, it will help prepare us for a very difficult CAA campaign," says Dawson. "We will take things one game at a time, and stay focused on our goals."