Aug. 8, 2006
University of Dayton men's soccer coach Dennis Currier welcomes three starters and nine letterwinners back to the UD campus to begin his second season as the Flyer head coach.
Senior captain Ian Mulligan returns at defender to lead UD on the field, along with senior goalkeeper Nick Tarkany and sophomore midfielder Joe Olwig.
UD was 11-5-4 in 2005 in Currier's inaugural season at Dayton, finishing 5-2-2 in Atlantic 10 play, one game out of first place.
The Flyers will get into action quickly, playing an exhibition game just five days into camp at Ohio State on Sunday, August 13 at 7:00 p.m. A week later, Bowling Green will visit Baujan Field at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 20 for the second and final exhibition game of the pre-season.
UD will open the season at Northewestern University's Lakeside Classic against Northern Illinois on August 25.
2006 University of Dayton Men's Soccer Outlook
To say that the University of Dayton men's soccer team will have a different look on the field in 2006 would be an understatement. The abundance of depth and experience that helped first-year head coach Dennis Currier lead the Flyers to the Atlantic 10 Tournament semi-finals and an 11-5-4 overall record is all but gone. UD returns 12 players from last year's roster, but just three starters. The 2006 senior class, who accounted for 31 of 37 Flyer goals last season, have completed their collective eligibility and have left the program. Three members of that class have taken their games to the professional ranks.
With the hopes of re-loading instead of re-building in 2006, Currier and his staff has worked tirelessly since their arrival on campus to bring in high-caliber talent to bolster the team. The fruits of that labor include a very strong freshman class of 11 recruits.
Despite losing a majority of last year's starters, experience does return in key positions for the Flyers. Senior goalkeeper Nick Tarkany returns for his final season and has proven himself to be a solid stopper. Junior Zac Gibbens, an enthusiastic and athletic transfer from Creighton University, also figures to see time in the goal for the Flyers. Red-shirt freshman Alex Davis and true freshman Scott Caltabiano, a highly-regarded recruit out of Georgia, will add depth in the net.
Protecting the goal is always a priority and look for the Flyer midfield and back line to be the strength of the team this year, as they will be deep and talented. The defense will be led by senior captain Ian Mulligan, who started all 20 games and played 1,854 of 1,917 minutes last season for the Flyers. Aside from Mulligan, senior Florian DeCamps, a 6-6 centerback from Espeme University (UD's sister institution in France), has the potential to make an impact right away. He is a product of the AS Cannes U-18 team which has produced, among others, French legend Zinedine Zidane. Sophomores Eric Dempsey and Ryan Hefley will be counted on to provide depth. Freshman Randy Dennis will compete for some time after starting for the national champion Dallas Texans and making a name for himself as on of the top defenders in his region.
In contrast with the remainder of the team, the midfield will be experienced this season as the Flyers return senior Antti Arst, junior Aaron Swanson and sophomore Joe Olwig. Redshirt freshman David Greenman, a transfer from St. John's, was considered one of the top midfielders in the country coming out of high school two years ago and could see significant playing time. There are also several freshmen who have the abilities to contribute right away, including Ben Murray, an All-Ohio performer from St. Francis DeSales High School in Columbus.
It appears that the Flyer defense will continue to be the strength of the team in 2006, but with all that in mind, who will be looked at to score? Currier looks to find his offense with a group of talented newcomers. With two career goals, sophomore Caleb Lindemann will be the key returner at forward. Junior Tyler Imbrogno will also be counted on to perform up top. The rest will fall to two heralded freshman recruits, Jeff Popella and Ryan Hartmann. Jeff Popella was a 2005 NSCAA/Adidas Boys High School All-America selection. The Carroll High School grad was also named the Ohio Division II Player of the Year. Hartmann was the 2005 Division III Player of The Year in Ohio and also earned a spot on the 2005 NSCAA/Adidas Boys High School All-America Team. The forward scored 36 goals and added 20 assists while leading Greeneview High School to the Division III State Championship.
Currier, heading into his second year at the helm, will certainly have some adjustments to make with so much turnover this season. But with a successful year under his belt at UD, this year he was able to establish recruiting connections in the Midwest to go along with his already substantial network in the south and internationally. The question yet to be answered is whether or not the upgrade in young talent will quickly close the experience gap. If they can, the different look on the field will not matter and the result will look very similar in the win-loss column in 2006.