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Vikings 0-1-1 in the Horizon League

In tough games, veteran players add to team's strength

September 29, 2011

By Rachel Tuma

The Cleveland State University men’s soccer team is off to not a good start, though they have a good lineup for the field in the new season. 

The Vikings recently played St. Bonaventure on September 21, which led them to a loss of 2-1.  On September 24, they held the Horizon League opener against Valparaiso that ended in a tie.

This 2011 season is big for the Vikings.  The 2010 team finished 9-10-1, but the expectations for this season are high with nine of the team’s top ten scorers returning from last year. 

Junior Brad Stuver was named Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year in the 2010 season when he had three shutouts and 87 saves.  Coach Ali Kazemaini named him team captain of the Vikings this season. 

In the Valparaiso game on the 24th, Stuver made seven saves to earn him his second shutout of the season.

Brian Donnelly, a senior, is an experienced back line player who started all 20 games last season.  Sophomore Justin Cree started 14 of the 16 games he played in. Chris Koy, a senior, started four games and Al James was in the starting lineup seven times. 

First and second on the 2010 team in points, seniors Manuel Conde and John Wargo, will lead the charge in the middle.  Conde will also lead the team as a captain this 2011 season. 

Aslinn Rodas, along with Conde and Wargo, altogether combined for 51 starts and 27 points last season.  Other teammates, Zach Ellis-Hayden and Cameron Eisses, both started in every game they appeared in.

Mike Derezic, a freshman, showed promise in the summer and could become one of the midfield spots in many games.  At his alma mater, Lakewood High, he led his team to league and district titles. Coach Kazemaini said that Derezic and Stuver were the “players of the game” in the Valparaiso game.

Caleb Eastham, Hart and Matt McWilson are all back to add depth at the forward spot for the Vikings.

The Vikings’ forwards have scored all four goals of the 2011 season. Aaron Adkins, Jordan Hart, Admir Suljevic and Cazz Warren found the back of the net. 

Admir Suljevic, a sophomore, had his freshman debut in 2009. After such a great season, he was named to be one of the 20 best Horizon League players for the 2010 season by TopDrawerSoccer.com.  Unfortunately, his playing time ended in 2010 when he became injured in the fall. Now, he is back this season and has already started in three games. In the St. Bonaventure game on the 21st, he scored in his third consecutive game.

Justin Mancine, a junior, also returns this season after an injury in 2010.  He started 16 games in 2009 as a sophomore and was primed for a breakout junior season. In the opener against St. Bonaventure, he injured his leg and was granted a medical red shirt.

With these returning and new players, the Vikings should be hopeful to win more games as they did last season.

So far, they have only won two of nine games and tied one. After the loss at Wake Forest, Coach Kazemaini said he was really happy with how they competed.