The Hiram College men’s soccer team recorded another standout season in 2012 and will look for a repeat performance this fall. The Terriers are coming off of a season that saw them start out the year a perfect 9-0 and finished the 2012 campaign with a 15-3-1 overall record and finished third in the conference with a 6-2-1 mark. The team also qualified for the NCAC Tournament for the second straight season and fourth overall in program history since joining the conference.
The 2013 Terriers will welcome several new faces, including a new head coach in Dan Zemanski. However, Zemanski is no stranger to the Hiram sidelines as he as served as an assistant coach the previous eight years.
This year’s roster will feature 16 returning lettermen and three players with starting experience.
Back to lead the squad will be five seniors, including All-North Coast Athletic Conference players Andy Harding (Bath/Revere) and Brian Zilla (Canton/Jackson). Last season, Harding led the team in five statistical categories including: goals (13), points (32), shots (71), shots on goal (40) and game-winning goals (four). He also led the NCAC in goals, points and was third in shots. Harding posted two multi-goal games in 2012, including a career-high and school single-game record five goals against Franciscan. Zilla also had a strong season as a junior as a member of a defense that gave up just 1.14 goals per game while posting five shutout victories. He played in 15 games scoring two goals, including a game-winner, and one assist for five points.
In addition to Harding and Zilla, seniors Alejandro Ruiz(Georgetown, Cayman Islands), Rufin Sime (Guataloupe) and Jameal Welcome (Georgetown, Cayman Islands) will also help lead the team this season. Alejandro Ruiz played in 14 games in 2012 and scored a pair of assists. Sime and Welcome both saw playing time in backup roles seeing action in a combined nine games with Welcome tallying one assist for the year.
“With the huge void created by last year’s graduating class and the large influx of newcomers to this year’s team, strong leadership takes on an even more vital role,” said first-year Head Coach Dan Zemanski. “I’m extremely fortunate to have some upper classmen who have put in the work this past off-season to provide good examples to the rookies, in our two co-captains, Brian Zilla and Andy Harding.
“Brian is a natural leader,” said Zemanski. He understands his actions carry far more weight than words. I can’t think of a better student-athlete to show our freshmen what it means to be a Hiram Terrier, both on and off the playing field.”
“Andy personifies other great qualities of the Terrier breed,” added Zemanski. “He brings his high energy and deep passion to the game every day. He’s a fierce competitor who hates to lose. His fire is contagious and is a great example to the rest of the team what it means to leave it all out on the field.”
Juniors Ryan Kramarz (Chesterland/West Geauga) and Zaire Morrison (Boardman) could be impact players for Hiram again this season. Kramarz played in all 19 games as a sophomore and started 11, finishing in a tie for fourth on the team in goals scored with four to go along with a pair of assists for 10 points. Morrison played in 18 games and finished just behind Kramarz with seven points (three goals and one assist). Joining Kramarz and Morrison, will be Chris Minite (Aurora) and Andres Ruiz (Georgetown, Cayman Islands). Minite played in four games as a backup goalkeeper last fall and posted a 3-1 record with a 1.98 goals against average in nearly 182 minutes. Andres Ruiz tied Morrison in goals scored with three in addition to an assist for seven points in 11 games.
Hiram will return a host of sophomores including Richard Webb (Alicante, Spain/Laude Lady Elizabeth School) who lead all “rookies” last season with one goal in 12 games. Andrew Bradley (Westlake/St. Edward), Alec Culbertson (Mogadore/Field), Francisco Duarte (Asuncion, Paraguay), Marcus Lawniczak (Ypsilanti, Mich./Ypsilanti), Tom Monah (Monrovia, Liberia/Brush (Ohio)) and Matt Sacher (Akron/Coventry) will all look to compete for increased playing time in 2013. All were primarily members of the junior varsity team as freshmen, but could see more time in a varsity role this fall.
“Several of our incoming freshmen, along with a few underclassmen, will push for playing time immediately,” said Zemanski. “This internal competition has helped create an intense and spirited training environment and should continue to do so throughout the season, which will only make us stronger.”
Hiram will begin the 2013 season on the road at the DoubleTree Invitational hosted by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. from Aug. 30-31. The Terriers will then travel to Westerville, Ohio for a matchup against Otterbein University before returning home to host Penn State-Behrend (Pa.) in the home opener on Sept. 7. The team will open its NCAC schedule on Sept. 21 against 2012 NCAC Tournament Champion DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.
“I didn’t hold back at all with our schedule,” stated Zemanski. “I’m a firm believer in the saying ‘to be the best, you have to play the best.’ We’ll get a good indication right from the start of our strengths and weaknesses and where we need to improve, so come conference play, we will be well prepared.”