2010 Men's Soccer Preview: Raiders Aiming for OACs
ALLIANCE, Ohio--Mount Union's men's soccer team will return with nine starters from a year ago including the core of its defense. Juniors Anthony Grenga (Canfield/Boardman) and Anthony Mara (Cuyahoga Falls/Cuyahoga Falls) and sophomore Brant Schonauer (Walhonding/River View) return to the back line in front of sophomore goalkeeper Jon Critell (Youngstown/Cardinal Mooney).
Critell started all 19 games in 2010, finishing with an 8-10-1 slate and 1.26 goals-against-average. Grenga, Mara and Schonauer also appeared in every contest, combining for 52 starts.
Junior Kevin Cindric (Willowick/Eastlake North) and sophomore Joey Merlo (Niles/Cardinal Mooney) will be back on the Raider front line. They ranked second and third, respectively, in points during the 2010 season. Cindric tied for the team lead with eight goals and also dished one assist while Merlo finished with five goals and two helpers.
Allegheny will be the Purple Raiders' first opponent of 2010 with a 4 p.m. non-conference game on Wednesday. As always, Mount Union has a tough Ohio Athletic Conference schedule, which features both 2009 NCAA Tournament teams: Capital and Ohio Northern. The Raiders have also scheduled an NCAA at-large team from a year ago – Carnegie Mellon, of the University Athletic Association – which advanced as far as the Round of 16.
Mount Union has not appeared in the OAC Tournament since 2003. Head coach John Witkowski expects that drought to end.
"We're capable of making the playoffs," he said. "We have the team to do it. We have enough experience and quality."