ALLIANCE, Ohio -- First-year head coach Nick Stirrett looks to put Mount Union men's soccer back on track this season as they look toward the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) and into the 2013 postseason.
The Purple Raiders return five starters and eight letterwinners as they aim to recapture the form that led them to a pair of 10-win seasons and back-to-back OAC tournament appearances in 2010 and 2011. "We were pleased with the work rate and focus throughout preseason and are looking to build from there", Stirrett says.
Offensively, senior Chris Felker (Boardman/Cardinal Mooney) returns as the lone starter. He had nine points (3G, 3A) last year on his way to All-OAC honorable mention honors. He is joined by juniors Chris Motley (Kent/St.Vincent-St. Mary) and Josh Bennett (Hartville/Lake). Motley saw action in all 16 games and Bennett saw action in 12 games and had two goals during the 2012 season.
Seniors Travis Connor (Lodi/Cloverleaf) and Eric Ehrenberg (Salem/Cardinal Mooney) as well as, juniors Coty Lipply (Rootstown/Southeast) and Colin Combs (Pickerington/Pickerington North) return to help anchor the Raiders' defense in 2013. Ehrenberg started all 16 games, scoring one goal and one assist. Lipply led the team with four goals and only appearing in 11 games, while Combs played in all 16 games scoring once.
Though defense has a core of returning starters, the one starter the Raiders must find a replacement for is goalkeeper Jon Critel. Senior Alex Bable (Columbiana/Columbiana), junior Matt Mangosh (Willoughby/Willoughby South) and freshmen Dylan Lias (Cuyahoga Falls/Cuyahoga Falls) look to replace Critel between the pipes.
The Raiders kick off the 2013 season on Aug. 30 against Geneva (Pa.) College at the Carnegie Mellon Invitational. They return home to host the Mount Union Invitational Sept. 7-8, where they play Defiance College at 8:00 p.m. The first day OAC action begins on Oct. 5 when Mount Union hosts Ohio Northern at home at 3:00 p.m.