Aug. 31, 2009
UD Head Coach Dennis Currier answers questions about his 2009 Dayton Flyer men's soccer team.
After record breaking 2008, what can you do at the top of the season?
At the top of the season, we get back to where we were and win another championship and we get at least a step further in the NCAA tournament. I think that is the expectation going in but we also know that there is a lot of work to do. We did lose three starters who contributed significantly to our offensive success. We will need some guys to step in and fulfill those roles.
How would you describe Dayton men's soccer style of play?
The style of play that we've had since coming in the program has been a very attack-oriented style. We like to build play up through the midfield and get a lot of guys involved which is the direct result of our success last year. We are very organized on set pieces and that's where we can hurt teams as well. We utilize wide spaces very well and we have an exciting style for fans to watch.
Who are the keys to your offense?
Alex Torda is coming off another successful year we are going to look for big things from him again. Isaac Kissi is a guy that has the attributes to be one of the better attacking players in the A-10 conference. Jeff Popella needs to have a big year. He has the attributes to be a very successful forward at the Division I level. From there we are going to need some new guys to fill in some holes with the loss of Simeon (Zapryanov) and Joe (Olwig) from the flanks where we were pretty productive from there.
What should we watch out for in the midfield?
In the midfield you've got Ben Murray and Zach Weiss who are very experienced and they continue to get better each year. They will be the key players this year in the midfield. Ryan Bauer looks very good this preseason. He shows some promise and is going to vie for some time and really push some of the returning guys.
What are the dynamics of your defense?
We are capable of having five different guys that can play on the back line: Randy Dennis, Jack Pearson, Ryan Handbury, Tommy Watkins and Sonny Renner. Those guys have played together and have experience. I think that the experience will certainly help us this year. They were very organized last year and played a big role in our success and I think they have been the foundation of our team for the previous two years before our offense really turned it on. In goal we have Tyler Picard coming back as part of the defensive set up. He had a tremendous first season with us and I think you can also look for Sam Cooksey to be that steady backup.
Talk about the leadership of the team and how important it is.
Leadership is a critical factor in winning championships. I think we saw that last year. We had a lot of guys step up in that turning point in the Coastal Carolina game down in UNC Wilmington. That's where it seems that the leadership really grew and we went on a 10-game unbeaten streak. Coming back this year we lose one of our captains but we return four of them with Ben Murray, Zach Weiss, Ryan Handbury, and Alex Torda. It is a dynamic group because they each lead in a different way. Torda leads by example; Handbury is more of an outspoken leader. Murray and Weiss lead the team both on and off the field.
What do you think will define the team this year?
This will be one of the more experienced squads that we've had because we've got so many returners. On the other hand, we had very good balance last year so every piece of the puzzle was very important. We still have to replace those pieces for us to be successful and we're going to have to try to figure that out as early as possible so we can get on the road to winning games.
What is this senior class, which is 10-strong, like?
This is a very special class for Dayton and our program. We certainly want them to depart here with having their last year be the best. They've accomplished a lot since they've been here so there would be nothing better than to celebrate that departure with another championship. I think everybody remembers how great that felt last year and that stays with you. I know they're looking forward to their last year and that goes by quickly so they know what it takes and they'll be a big part of our success this year.