Muskies Look to Improve with Young Talent
Athletics - posted on 8/15/2005
This season the Muskies look to build off the momentum they had at the end of last season. The program only lost three players and is returning 11 athletes that were underclassmen a year ago.
"I think this year we are going to have a lot of confidence going into the season," said Colwell. "We have put ourselves into a position to really challenge for one of those top three spots in the conference."
With the defense improved and the leading scorers intact, it looks as if Lakeland is poised to turn the corner in 2005. The prospect of this season is exciting for Muskie soccer.
Offense Defense Schedule 2004 Season Recap
Key Losses: Charlie Van Ginkle (defense, 1 goal-3 assists-5 points); Shuaib Basheer (midfield, 1g-1a-3pts); Gabriel Vollmer (midfield, 0g-0a-0pts)
Returnees for this season: David Arrowood (defense/midfield, Neenah/Neenah); Ryan Holl (defense, Plymouth Ind./Plymouth); David Radder (defense/midfield, Kiel/Kiel); Joe Silverberg (goalkeeper, South Bend Ind./South Bend Clay); Scott Kress (forward, Kiel/Kiel); Corey Petzold (forward, Kiel/Kiel); Sam Schroeder (forward/midfield, Big Lake Minn./Monticello); Landing Sonko (defense, Fajara M Section Gambia/Marina); Zach Buchman (forward/midfield, Waterford/Waterford Union); Danny Carlson (defense, Kiel/Kiel); Chris Christopherson (midfield, Kiel/Kiel); Tom Claas (defense, Madison/Madison LaFollette); Ryan Condon (defense, Madison/Madison LaFollette); Tyler Haug (midfield, Milwaukee/Thomas More); Muachie Xiong (defense/midfield, Ashwaubenon/Ashwaubenon)
Incoming Freshmen: Travis Devlin (defense/midfield, Walworth/Big Foot); Doug Huenink (defense/midfield, Oostburg/Oostburg); Matt Van Drunen (defense, Kaukauna/Kaukauna); Seth Walsdorf (defense/midfield, Kiel/Kiel); Doua Vang (defense/midfield, Green Bay/Green Bay East); Gabriel Hernandez Garcia (midfield, Madison/Madison West); Kevin Fitchett (midfield/forward, Green Bay/Green Bay Preble); Ted Cormier (midfield, Green Bay/Green Bay Preble); Chris Lee (goalkeeper, Thiensville/Homestead)
The program has some very talented newcomers joining them this season with several of the freshmen having the opportunity to challenge for some immediate playing time.
"(Gabriel) Hernandez Garcia has a lot of ability and is very good technically on the ball and we expect a lot out of him probably at center midfield," Colwell said. "Kevin Fitchett is a very talented player, great foot skills, has that attitude and passion to score goals and is somebody that could be in the mix as an attacker. Ted Cormier is someone who can give us time at the outside midfield. With our style of play, we like to get on the attack and our rotation should allow us to get some of these freshmen involved.
We also have a very strong goalkeeper (Chris Lee) coming in which will be great because Joe (Silverberg) won't have to play 18, 19, 20 games. That will keep him fresh, and having a talented goalie coming in will help push Joe and we'll get him some games as well."
The squad sees all of its leading scorers returning, led by junior Scott Kress (Kiel/Kiel). Last season the first team all-LMC performer led the Muskies with 28 points and was ranked fifth in the LMC in points scored. After a freshman season in which he scored 16 goals, he was a player the opposition focused on. That was a new challenge for him, but after making adjustments throughout last fall, the Muskies are looking for Kress to show why he's among the top players in the region.
"His (Kress) sophomore year everybody kind of focused on him," said Colwell. "They knew who he was; he had to learn how to play differently. Before, everything was forward, using his speed and athleticism. He is one of the top forwards in the region and he had to learn how to do it. This year is his junior year and I expect him to get that goal total back up in the 15 to 16 range."
Another key component returning to the offensive side of the ball is Sam Schroeder (Monticello Minn./Monticello). The Muskies looked to Schroeder to score goals in key moments, and they will rely on his gritty style of play once again this season.
"Sam Schroeder is one of those forwards who just knows how to score goals," said Colwell. "It doesn't have to be pretty for him, he'll score those ugly goals and you really need a guy like that. He can just find the back of the net and he is the kind of force that can take the pressure off of Scotty when you have somebody else up there working really hard."
In the midfield, Zach Buchman (Waterford/Waterford Union) proved to be a successful all-around player. Playing the role of outside mid, the LMC All-Rookie team member led the team in assists with six and was second on the team in goals scored with six.
"Zach Buchman is an outside mid player, he can score goals and provide service in," said Colwell. "He had six assists on the year. He is a very important player to us on the attack."
Chris Christopherson (Kiel/Kiel) started 16 games last year, mostly at center mid. The sophomore is a player that Colwell feels has the potential to have an outstanding season after having a year to adjust to the college level.
"Chris Christopherson, by about game two or three we figured out that he could play," said Colwell. "We put him in center midfield and left him there the entire season where he played 90 minutes a game, so it's going to be important to have him back."
Defense and Goalkeeping:
The team struggled last year defensively. As players came back from injuries and the younger players became more familiar with each other, the defense steadily improved and by the end of the year was playing extremely well.
"With all the injuries the biggest thing was finding people," said Colwell. "Once we get that sorted out with Landing (Sonko) and Tom Claas back there, we should be fine. That is one of the hardest things to do is to get that cohesiveness defensively. That comes through playing and experience and now we've got it."
The team is expected to play with four defenders again this season. Sonko (Fajara M Section Gambia/Marina) and Ryan Holl (Plymouth Ind./Plymouth), the team captain and a first team all-LMC honoree, are expected to lead the defense.
"We play with four in the back and our two center backs are going to be key for us," said Colwell. "Landing Sonko didn't start until the end of the year. The last two to three games he (Sonko) was finally healthy. We tried him in a lot of different positions at midfield and forward. We had this feeling about his talent, but we just couldn't find a fit for him. We put him at center back next to Ryan (Holl), and when we got into the conference tournament they really clicked."
In the net this season will be Joe Silverberg (South Bend Ind./South Bend Clay). The senior will be starting his final season for the Muskies and Colwell is expecting big things from his keeper.
"This is going to be his best year," Colwell said. "He has had three years to develop now and it is time for him to really step it up and do well. Joe and Ryan will probably be our leaders for us back there. Landing has a lot of talent and he'll be a force to reckon with back there."
Colwell has put together some challenges for his Muskies this fall. With the core group of players from last season returning, Colwell wants to prepare his team for the conference tournament. By entering some tough tournaments at the beginning of the season, he hopes some tougher non-conference competition will help Lakeland challenge for its first conference title since 1994.
The team will travel to Ohio and take part in a tournament that has them matching up with Pitt Greensburg, an NCAA tournament team from last season. Following the tournament, the Muskies will play some of the top teams in the region at home including Augustana, St. Johns (Minn.) and UW-Whitewater, another NCAA tournament team from last year. Lakeland will conclude the season with UW-Oshkosh, who is perennially one of the top teams in the NCAA.
For the conference season Lakeland has road games in Madison with LMC Tournament winner Edgewood, and at Marian, which won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002. The newest member of the conference, Dominican, was an NCAA tournament team in 2004 and has a very strong men's soccer program and will visit Lakeland this season.
"The men's schedule is just loaded," Colwell said. "Because of the amount of quality returning players I have and the depth we're going to have, I want to get us prepared for the conference tournament. I don't care if the schedule is glossy with this great record going into the conference tournament - I've never cared about that. I just want to be prepared to win that conference tournament and get us into the NCAA tournament."
2004 Recap: 8-11-1 (.425) overall; 3-3-0 (.500) Lake Michigan Conference
Injuries and inexperience is what kept the Lakeland men's soccer program from achieving the results it wanted last season. The Muskies struggled early on, but as the season progressed, so did the team. When the season drew to a close, it appeared as if this team was on the cusp of competing for a conference championship. Two of Lakeland's three LMC wins were shutouts on the road over Wisconsin Lutheran and eventual LMC tournament champion Edgewood. With a healthy program at the end of the season, the Muskies started to showcase their talent as they played their way into the LMC tournament semi-finals.
"The men's team at the end of the year really turned it on," said head coach Marc Colwell. "At the start of the year we struggled, but as the year went on our younger players at a lot of positions really started stepping up. We made it to the conference tournament semi-finals losing to (regular-season LMC) champion Concordia and they only beat us 2-1. Their goalkeeper had 16 saves. It was ridiculous - the guy stood on his head - but we really outplayed them and it was the best we'd played all year. We had some injuries as well, and when we finally got everybody back, that combined with the younger players having some games under their belt gave everybody a lot of confidence."
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