Women ready to embrace challenges
STEUBENVILLE - The Franciscan University of Steubenville women's soccer team looks to be one of excitement. The team consists of a mix of returners and many new young players who appear to be ready to take on any challenge.
"I have a dedicated and close knit team. Their championship attitude is reinforced by genuine talent, sincere faith and unbreakable team unity," said Johann Marin the head women's soccer coach.
This is the first season where Marin is coaching only the women's team. In previous years he has been the head coach of both the men and women's teams. He determined to focus on coaching the women to success, and is confident in his ability to do so.
"I am most excited about the opportunity to build a team and to have the time and resources to do so," Marin said.
The resources that he hopes to rely on this season to strengthen their already strong foundation include his coaching staff and all the women on the team.
Local players Ashley Ruttencutter, Bethany Potvin, Christiana Segenberger and Christina Duff are all returning players that will strengthen the stability of the team through their experience and leadership.
This year's team will carry goalkeepers: Lauren Koath, Michele Volk and Mallory Garthwaite. According to Marin they are all well prepared and game ready. Upperclassman Lauren Koath is a veteran player that has performed at a high level for the team in past years and looks to continue most of the same this season.
"We feel exceptionally strong in the goal keeping department," Marin said.
Marin and the team are striving to accomplish great feats this season including being ranked in the top three of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference and reaching the playoffs for the first time.
"I expect more attractive soccer than seasons past with the reward of more goals for and less goals against," said Marin.
A fresh start for the men
With the first game of the season fast approaching, the men's soccer is anxious to test out new tactics and players against top teams and achieve higher standing within the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference. They enter the 2012 season under the direction of first-year head coach Ward Rogers, who plans to implement a new flavor of soccer.
"We've completely changed our style of play," Rogers said. "We're going to be a lot more aggressive, marking the opposing team further up the field." This defensive strategy, Rogers hopes, will help give the team a competitive edge on several non-conference opponents early in the season. He hopes this will carry over into the more challenging conference games on the schedule including Medaille College, Penn State-Behrend, Penn State-Altoona, and La Roche College.
"I think we'll surprise a lot of people," said Rogers in regards to the Baron's current 9th place preseason Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference standing. With a wide spread of talent from 12 new players and the experience of 15 returners there is a promising future for men's soccer.
"Some of the freshman may see a lot of playing time," said Rogers. Among these are Jason VanSteenburg, Edwin de St. Aubin, and Declan Lundt. The returning players to watch are Joe Krilich at midfield, Mark Allen and brothers John and Peter Herrmann on defense. Rogers also expects returning players Jesse Saltarelli and Blake Bonilla to be among top scorers for the season.