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Monarchs Open Season Saturday Against Coastal Carolina

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: August 31, 2010
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Aug. 31, 2010

NORFOLK, VA-- The Soccer Monarchs open the 2010 campaign this weekend in the VCU Soccer Classic against Coastal Carolina, Saturday at 5 p.m. at Sports Backers Stadium. The Monarchs will play Florida Gulf Coast on Monday at 12 noon.

ODU OUTLOOK

The 2010 ODU men's soccer squad return 11 lettermen, including three who earned All - CAA honors from last year's 11-5-2 squad, and a solid group of newcomers.

Head coach Alan Dawson begins his 14th season at the helm of the Monarchs when they take on Coastal Carolina this Saturday evening in the VCU Tournament. The Monarchs have another formidable schedule that includes North Carolina, Coastal Carolina, West Virginia, Elon, and the always strong CAA rivals.

ODU will be counting heavily on leadership from its three co-captains; All-CAA goalkeeper Evan Newton, who led the league with nine shutouts last season, CAA All-Tournament and Academic All-Region selection Adam Roscioli, and junior defender Tommy Webb who was a CAA All-Rookie team selection as a freshman.

"These three are the foundation of our squad. They are very vocal and lead by example. Evan has worked very hard over the summer and wants to put himself in the best possible position to perhaps play at the next level. He is in great form and should have a big senior year. Tommy Webb is a winner. We may play him in a different role as he brings a lot to the table and will be a threat for us, even as a defender. Adam gets the job done both on and off the field. He is very smart and intelligent in the back. It will be important for us to get off to a good start."- Head coach Alan Dawson.

Despite the loss of prominent players like All-American Nane Joseph, now playing in the MLS for Toronto and the always steady Bobby Foglesong, ODU returns the core of its midfield. The returnees include Jordan LeBlanc, Nick Foglesong with newcomer Frederico Espinach.

"Jordan had a terrific summer and I am expecting a big year from him. Nick is very steady, we can play him at a variety of different roles, but central midfielder is probably where he will play a lot. We are very excited at what Espinach brings to the table, the intangibles such as toughness and work ethic." - Alan Dawson.

At the wide spots, ODU returns second team All-CAA Yannick Smith, and CAA All-Rookie selection Shane Howard who gained a lot of experience last year as freshmen, along with senior Harry Gillespie. Newcomers who should contribute include Mason Page from Richmond and Gideon Asante from Ghana.

"We have a lot of interchangeable parts. It's a different midfield from what we had last year, but it will be a very balanced one. " - Alan Dawson

The Monarchs are very deep on the defensive end with Evan Newton, Adam Roscioli and Tommy Webb. Alex DeJohn got a full year under his belt last season and red-shirt Jayson Gaylord along with Tom van Dyke return to give ODU some good size.

Newcomers Mitch Pfaust from California along with High School All-American and Virginia High School Player of the Year Ryan Oakes from two-time State Champion Cox High Shool should be impact players.

"Ryan Oakes plays like a winner. He has great presence and we feel he is capable of stepping in and making an immediate impact." - Alan Dawson.

In the net, ODU is solid and deep with Newton along with Michael Roura and red-shirt freshman Sean Stowe.

" Evan will graduate in December and obviously we expect him to be a big part of our success this year. Roura has stepped up his game, and is much more comfortable with the ball at his feet. It's good competition for Evan. Both will be pushed by red-shirt freshman Sean Stowe who is getting better every day."-Alan Dawson.

ODU has a solid group of forwards and depends on what system we play. Chris Harmon and Daniel Lidster lead the returnees, while newcomers Tim Hopkinson from England and Placide Buduri will be major contributors.

"Chris Harmon is full of confidence. We are very pleased with his play and he will be a major contributor for us. Tim Hopkinson has got a very keen mind for the game. He just needs to get acclimated with the physical aspect of play and also the heat. Daniel Lidster is in the best shape he as ever been. We really feel he has turned the corner. Daniel's big, fast and got all the attributes for us up front this year. Placide is a very special player who could get a lot of assists. He's exciting and very creative." - Alan Dawson.

Following the VCU tournament, ODU then hosts its 35th annual Stihl Soccer Classic with Rhode Island, West Virginia and CAA rival William and Mary. ODU will open the Classic on Friday night, Sept.10 against Rhode Island, then play West Virginia, Sept. 12 on Sunday afternoon.

After Stihl, the Monarchs continue their grueling stretch against top teams who could be in the nation's top 25 with Elon (Sept. 17) , CAA rivals William and Mary (Sept. 21), and George Mason (Sept. 25), then NCAA College Cup semi-finalist North Carolina (Sept. 28). "The good thing is these contests are all at home," said Dawson. The Monarchs were 8-0-2 at the ODU Soccer Complex last year.

ODU finishes the regular season playing six of the last nine games on the road which include Northeastern and defending league champion UNC Wilmington who returns 10 starters, and have been the CAA regular season Champion the past two years. The CAA coaches picked the Monarchs to finish second.

"The CAA is just so competitive, particularly with only four teams qualifying for the league tournament, so every point is vital. What we have to do as a program is take care of business on the road. We have to take that step if we want to get to the level we want to be, said Dawson."

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