FROSTBURG, Md. -
After losing just four seniors in 2004, the Frostburg State men’s soccer team returns 14 players and a wealth of experience to this year’s lineup as it tries to improve on its 11-8-2 overall record and fourth-place finish a season ago.
Offensively, the Bobcats return all four strikers in seniors Matt Moffa (Baltimore, Md./Eastern Tech) and Kodjo Gnatiko (Montgomery Village, Md./Montgomery Blair), junior Jeff Bisker (Fallston, Md./Fallston) and sophomore Trevor Havey (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty).
Moffa and Havey will lead the Bobcat attack and should battle to become the league’s best scoring tandem, while Bisker and Gnatiko are added weapons with their speed and agressive play.
Moffa, a two-time first-team All-Conference selection, returns after leading the Bobcats and finishing sixth in the conference with 10 goals. He scored a pair of goals in four games, highlighted by his two-goal performance in the opening round of the AMCC Tournament against rival Penn State Behrend.
Havey earned second-team All-AMCC honors after a stellar freshman campaign in which he tied for the team lead with 22 points on eight goals and six assists. He tied for seventh in the league in goals and also tied for fifth in assists. His best game came against Pitt-Bradford when he scored one goal and added two assists in a 6-0 victory.
Gnatiko scored three goals and added one assist last season. He is a speedster with a great left foot and has the ability to break down defenses by himself.
Bisker returns after scoring three goals and adding one assist last fall. He always plays in control and relies on his quickness to create opportunities.
FSU is also solid in the midfield where junior Sean Quealy (Massapequa Park, N.Y./Massapequa) and sophomores Eric Whisman (Severn, Md./Glen Burnie), Kenny Dotter (Baltimore, Md./Sparrows Point) and Bryan Lee (Silver Spring, Md./St. Vincent Pallotti) all combined for 35 starts a year ago.
Quealy posseses a good work rate and is FSU’s fiestiest defender. He notched two goals and two assists last year and the coaches look for more production from him on the outside this season.
Whisman is coming off a great freshman year during which he tied for the team lead and tied for fifth in the AMCC with six assists. He will be the focal point of the Bobcat attack.
Dotter is the third returning Bobcat to garner all-conference honors after earning an honorable mention selection in 2004. He tied for second on the squad with eight goals and was one of just two players to see action in every game. However, he moves to the midfield after being a striker last year. He has the quickest feet on the team and can attack the goal from anywhere.
Lee scored two goals in 17 games last season. He has worked on his confidence and has the potential to be a top goal scorer and should fight for a starting spot.
Looking to make contributions will be transfers Sean Tana (Baldwin, Md./Loyola Blakefield) and Gregg Laskow (Plainsboro, N.J./WWP-North) along with freshman Sean Jones (Pasadena, Md./Severna Park).
Tana, a transfer from North Carolina Wesleyan, is a playmaker with great vision. He creates scoring opportunities and has a good work rate on defense.
Laskow, a transfer from Rider, is a strong physical defender who posseses a natural instinct to attack the goal.
Jones is a physical defender with a relentless work ethic and solid technical ability.
On defense, the Red and Black return three starters to a unit that held opponents to a stingy 1.48 goals against average.
Senior captain Wyatt Sagers (La Plata, Md./La Plata) netted three goals last season and is the vocal leader who helps keep the team organized.
Junior Steve Zoutman (Chester, N.Y./Goshen) had one assist last year and is the most offensive-minded defender on the team. His attacking ability creates matchup problems for opposing defenders.
Sophomore Greg Mason (Ewing, N.J./Ewing) played in all 21 games last season, making 17 starts. He is the most consistent player in the back and has developed the ability to attack from his defender position.
Sophomore Andrew Appelbaum (Severn, Md./Old Mill) is back after suffering an injury that cut his season short in 2004. He reads the game well and can anticipate where the strikers are at all times.
Three newcomers will battle for playing time on defense as well – junior Matt Lovelace (Chesapeake Beach, Md./Frederick Douglas) and freshmen Joe Norton (Baltimore, Md./Mount St. Joseph) and Adam Gracia (Rockville, Md./Thomas Wootton).
Lovelace, a transfer from Prince George Community College, is a quick and tenacious defender who tracks players down well.
Norton is one of the toughest workers on the team and is a true defender who plays hard and challenges for every ball.
Gracia is an impact player with solid technical skills. He has the ability to create instant offense from the back.
Senior Bryn Varhol (Alexandria, Va./Bishop O'Connell) and senior Derek Richardson (New Windsor, Md./Linganore) should hold down the net, while freshman Jay Herford (Crofton, Md./South River) will learn the FSU system under their tutelage.
Varhol started nine games, going 4-5-1 with a 1.81 GAA while posting shutouts of Clarkson, Wilkes and Division II Pitt-Johnstown. He recorded 52 saves, including a season-high 13 against Penn State Behrend in the opening round of the AMCC Tournament.
Richardson started five games last season going 2-2 with a 1.80 GAA. His only shutout came in a 2-0 Bobcat victory over Penn State Behrend.
Herford is a hard worker who will spend much of the season learning the system. He is regarded as the future in goal for FSU.
The Frostburg State schedule will once again challenge the team right from the start. The Bobcats open the season at the Lycoming Tournament with games against regionally strong opponents Susquehanna (11-6-1) and Lycoming (14-5-1).
FSU also squares off against Richard Stockton (18-4-3) which advanced to the Elite Eight in 2004.
“This game will be a good test to see where we stack up against nationally ranked teams,” said Head Coach Keith Byrnes.
The Bobcats will also face regional teams Bethany, Mary Washington and Gettysburg.
In the AMCC, FSU is fourth in the preseason poll with Penn State Altoona slated in the top spot. Defending champion Pitt-Greensburg and Penn State Behrend occupy the second and third spots, respectively.
“It’s going to be a dog fight with the league being more competitive this season than last,” said Byrnes. “We have a strong core of returners and we expect to compete for the conference title.”
For further information on this release, contact:
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Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303