FROSTBURG, MD -
With only 12 returning players, the Frostburg State men’s soccer team will take on a new look as it strives to improve on its 8-9-2 record from the 2002 season.
Under the direction of second-year head coach Keith Byrnes, the Bobcats will attempt to utilize the talent of their returning players as well as the skills from its new 2003 recruiting class.
Offensively, the squad will look to sophomore Matt Moffa (Eastern Tech/Baltimore, Md.). Moffa, FSU’s leading returning scorer, tallied four goals on 12 shots in 2002.
Highlighting his season was a four-game scoring spree capped by his game-winning goal in FSU’s 2-1 overtime win over Mary Washington.
Also adding muscle to the field is junior Ben David (Western S.T.E.S/Woodlong, Md.). David, a transfer from the University of Maryland- Baltimore County, has performed well in the pre-season and will bring experience that will help some of the younger players.
Also returning is sophomore striker Kodjo Gnatiko (Montgomery Blair/Montgomery Village, Md.). Gnatiko had four goals in 2002 and will continue to improve as an offensive contributor.
Freshman Jeffery Bisker (Fallston/Fallston, Md.), a quick technical defender, will look to provide support whenever possible.
Defensively, the Red and Black will rely on senior captains Rob Burns (Joppatowne/Joppatowne, Md.) and Mike Mutchler (Leonardtown/Leonardtown, Md.) to solidify the backfield.
Burns, who started in 18 games in 2002 and also scored a goal, is an aggressive player who will help anchor the defense.
Mutchler, a 2002 second-team All-AMCC selection, started all 19 games and provided sound defense throughout the season (keeping the Bobcats in a lot of games).
Also bolstering the defense is senior Nate DePasquale (North Stafford/Stafford, Va.) and sophomore Danny Simpson (Northern/Dunkirk, Md.), who both saw action in 2002.
Returning to add depth is sophomore Nick Poulos (Springbrook/Silver Spring, Md.), who red-shirted last season due to a leg injury.
New defensive talent includes sophomore Carl Enos (Frederick/Newport News, Va.) and freshmen Tim Bodnar (Frederick/Frederick, Md.), Kris Hensley (Wild Lake/Columbia, Md.) and Kizzalibah Lavala (Watkins Mill/Montgomery Village, Md.).
Enos, a transfer student from Frederick C.C., will be looked upon to add depth to the defense, while Bodnar, a first-team all-area and all-conference high school player, will fight for time in the backfield.
Hensley is strong and good in the air, while Lavala has a tremendous work-rate and team-player mentality.
The midfield will be anchored by juniors Jamie Romano (John Carrol/Joppatowne, Md.) and Jon Roth (Magruder/Gaithersburg, Md.).
Romano tallied two goals in 17 starts in 2002 while Roth added four goals. Brian Tisler (Glenelg/Glenwood, Md.) will return and provide depth in the midfield.
Looking to make early contributions will be freshmen Jason Cromwell (Perry Hall/Baltimore, Md.), Dave Stinson (Urbana/Ijamsville, Md.) and Stephen Zoutman (Goshen/Chester, Md.).
Cromwell, an all-state selection in high school, brings great speed and quickness and will impact the midfield right away. Byrnes says he is one of the fastest players on the team.
Stinson, also an all-state player in high school, is very fast, has great technical ability and will compete for a starting spot in the midfield.
“Dave is a very good defender and fast,” said Byrnes. “He is one of our most dangerous players in transition.”
Zoutman, a versatile player in the back or midfield, is a strong defender who will vie for time. Byrnes says Zoutman is good in the air, is a great defender and can handle the ball well. Duarte will look to make contributions with his strong, physical style.
Freshmen Sean Quealy (Massapequa/Massapequa Park, N.Y.) and Justin Duarte (N.Harford/Pylesville, Md.) will also add depth to the squad and will battle for time in the midfield.
With the loss of all-conference keeper Mike Pregnall, sophomores Bryn Varhol (Bishop O’Connell/Alexandria, Va.) and Paul Withrow (Watkins Mill/Germantown, Md.) will return to the cage in 2003.
Byrnes says Varhol and Withrow have improved tremendously from last season and will fight for starting time in the box with first-year FSU keepers.
Other keepers looking to push for the starting nod are freshman Tom Sadler (Sandy Spring Friends/Silver Spring, Md.) and junior Brandon Rethermeyer (Smithsburg/Hagerstown, Md.).
“Varhol and Withrow have really matured and Tom [Sadler] is adapting to the college game very well,” said Byrnes. Brandon [Rethermeyer] is experienced and has good technical abilities. All of them work extremely hard and I feel confident with any of them starting.”
Last season, FSU got off to a rough start, opening with two ties and three losses. After trading wins and losses for four more games, the Bobcats hit their stride with a mid-season five-game winning streak and look to build upon that mid-season momentum they previously enjoyed in 2002.
FSU finished 3-3 in Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference play, falling 2-0 in the semi-finals to eventual tournament champion Pitt-Greensburg.
While not picked in the top three of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Coaches’ Poll, the Bobcats will aim to reestablish themselves as a force in the AMCC for the 2003 season.
Byrnes says he’s very pleased with the work rate and attitude of the young players.
“There is the potential to do some great things. As a young team, we’ll have our ups and downs, but hopefully things will come together as soon as possible.”
The young team will be put to the test early as they face regionally ranked opponents in four of its first five games.
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of Sports Information
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303