|MAC Men's Soccer Ready for 2012||09/13/2012|
The 2012 season will usher in a new era for the Mount Aloysius men’s soccer program, as new head coach Tyler Sheikh assumes the program’s reins.
Sheikh comes to Mount Aloysius by way of Connecticut, where he was previously the head varsity boys soccer coach at Brookfield High, and an U-17 premier club coach. Last season, he led Brookfield to its fewest losses in school history, and a victory over nationally ranked Bunnell High, Connecticut’s defending state champion.
As a player, Sheikh was a two-time all-state performer, and led his own high school team to a Connecticut state championship his senior year. He continued his soccer career at Stone Hill College before transferring to Division I Quinnipiac University, where injuries eventually cut his playing days short.
Under a new full-time coaching track at Mount Aloysius, Sheikh will direct both the men’s and women’s soccer programs, a different arrangement than years past, when each team had a separate part-time coach.
“We are extremely excited with the new structure of our soccer programs and we believe (Sheikh) will lead both with fiery competitiveness,” Smith said.
Since his hiring last spring, Sheikh has steadily built the team’s roster, adding several new players whom he believes will have an immediate impact.
Freshman Daniel Oliveira of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will anchor the team’s midfield.
“We look for (Oliveira) to provide a spark to our team. Like all of our players, he will be asked to play both ways. We expect versatility from our players,” Sheikh said.
Xavier Cardona will lead the Mounties’ defense. Although eligibility-wise a freshman, the Woodbury, Conn. native brings a greater level of maturity to the team than that of a typical rookie.
“Xavier is going to be the leader in the back for us. He will organize our defense and start our possessions from the back of the field,” Sheikh said.
The Mounties have depth at the goalkeeper position, as a pair of transfers will compete for the starting role.
Sophomore Logan Bodenschatz is a 2011 graduate of Central Cambria High School, but spent last season on the roster of AMCC opponent La Roche College. Junior Jamie Greenwood, of Chelmsford, England, played the past two years at Division II Concord University in Athens, W.Va.
“Logan has been a pleasant surprise for us, and Jamie has a lot of experience. The two of them will be battling each other, but that should give us sound coverage in the net,” Sheikh said.
Offensively, the Mounties return two of their top three scorers from last season, in sophomore Austin Old and senior Curtis Brumbaugh.
Old was second on the team with 10 points in 2011, while Brumbaugh was third with 8 points. Sheikh will start the season, however, without Brumbaugh’s services, as the Northern Bedford High alum recovers from a back injury.
Sheikh expects freshman Joey Moxey (Freeport, Bahamas) and Patrick Chea (Central Accra, Ghana) to strengthen the team’s offensive potency.
“We have a solid core of returners that we want to blend with a couple of freshman, like Joey and Patrick, to provide some bite to our offensive attack,” Sheikh said.
Other returnees include senior midfielder Luca Farina, an academic all-conference honoree with a 3.77 grade point average, and junior defender Ryan Hills, who started all 18 games for the Mounties in 2011.
Mount Aloysius will open its home slate on September 12, when it welcomes Juniata College to Kimball Soccer Field. Farina believes some pre-season community service projects have allowed the team to bond, and made them ready for the new season.
“I really like the team we have. I think we are going to surprise some people this year,” Farina said.
“The players have lofty expectations for the year. And, that is good, because they have worked hard in the preseason. The coaching staff is a little more tempered. But we believe we can compete in the league and hopefully grab a playoff berth,” Sheikh said.
Sheikh will be assisted this season by Matt Davis and Ian Taff.