HIRAM, OHIO — Following back-to-back appearances in the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament, the Hiram College men’s soccer team established itself as a top program in the conference and all of Division III. Capellas, who has accomplished several previously unattained goals, continues to break new ground for Hiram athletics. Capellas headed up a project to add lighting to the Hiram Soccer Complex, overseeing all aspects.
“Our goal has always been to raise expectations,” said seventh-year Head Coach Carl Capellas. “Not only within in our team, but also the entire Hiram community and the program over all. Adding lights to our field is a tribute to the strength and extent of the men’s soccer program, alumni and supporters.”
The Terriers posted a season mark of 10-7-2 in 2009 and finished in fourth place in the NCAC with a record of 4-3-2. Hiram’s 10 victories was the third straight season that the Terriers finished with 10 or more wins.
In 2010, Hiram will have another experience squad with 18 returning letterwinners and seven starters.
In the midfield, Hiram will have the most holes to fill, but will return sophomore All-NCAC player Ryan Greenhill (Solon). Greenhill made an impact last season as a freshman scoring a team-leading 10 assists and started all 19 games. His 10 assists ranked second highest in the NCAC and led all freshmen nationally. Joining Greenhill will be juniors Kevin Haramis (Norton), Brian Todd (Green), and Sean Gerin (Warren/Howland) and senior George Schatz (Coraopolis, Pa./Mountour). Both Haramis and Gerin will make their return to the field after missing all of last year due to injuries. Todd and Schatz played significant in backup roles, but will battle for playing time this year. Look for sophomore transfer Taylor Kiefer (North Canton/Hoover) to also make an immediate impact.
“We will look for several of our players to step up into more significant roles in midfield this year,” said Capellas. “Ryan Greenhill is our captain and our engine, he will make our team go.”
The Terriers will have a group of talented players back at forward led by seniors Petar Knezevic (Akron/ Ellet) and Cole Miller (Berlin/Hiland). Knezevic started 16 of the 18 games he played and led the team in six statistical categories including goals (10), points (24), shots (49), shot percentage (.204), shots on goal (25) and game winning goals (five). He was one of four players in the NCAC to score 10 or more goals and following the season, Knezevic earned second-team All-Conference accolades for the second straight year. Miller had another strong season in 2009 finishing in tie for fifth on the team in goals scored with three. He also tallied a pair of assists to end the season with eight points. In addition to Knezevic and Miller, look for sophomore Ryan Minick (North Royalton) to see his share of playing time. As a freshman last fall, Minick played in 18 games and was fourth on the team in goals with four. He was also third in shots (34) and had a .118 shot percentage.
“Our forwards have a lot of experience,” said Capellas. “Petar, Cole and Ryan contributed significantly last year. We have high expectations for them and look for them to lead us this year.”
On defense, Hiram will also return a host of experienced players. Highlighting the list of returning defenseman is sophomore and 2009 NCAC Newcomer of the Year Mike Verdile (Strongsville). Verdile started all 19 games last season and helped anchor a defense that allowed just 1.13 goals per game and posted a combined six shutout victories. Also expected to make an impact this season is senior Evan Roberts (Akron/Ellet), juniors Tyler Launder (Whitehouse/Anthony Wayne), Jonathan Roszak (Medina) and sophomore Caleb Capron (Salem/West Branch). All four players had success offensively from their defensive positions with Roberts leading the way with a goal scored to go along with two assists for four points. Launder also scored a goal while Roszak and Capron both tallied assists. In addition, look for senior Ross Minick (North Royalton) and sophomore Daniel O’Callaghan (Aberdare, Wales, United Kingdom) to battle for playing time this fall.
“Our team will always start with defense. We look for them to set the tone for our entire team.” said Capellas. “Evan Roberts and Jon Roszak are two year starters and Mike Verdile had a great first year. Dan O’Callaghan and Caleb Capron had great springs and we are looking for them to continue in their development.”
At goalkeeper, senior Joe Tatum (Georgetown, Cayman Islands/St. George’s School) will be the main netminder following a season that saw him finish with a 10-7-2 record and five shutout victories. The Cayman Island international played in all 19 games and started 18 allowing just 21 goals (1.14 goals against average) while making 79 saves with a 79.0 save percentage. Sophomore Joe Rottinger (Strongsville) will help to push Tatum as he looks to build off of last year’s experience.
“Joe Tatum will anchor our team,” said Capellas. “He is a special player that will have the chance to play after college.”
The 2010 schedule features some of the toughest opponents yet for Hiram highlighted by four teams that qualified for the NCAA Divsion III Tournament last season. Amongst those four teams include Calvin (Mich.) College who advanced to the NCAA Division III title game. The Terriers will host three of the four teams, including Calvin on Sept. 18, and NCAC Champion Ohio Wesleyan University on Oct. 16.
“Last year we graduated several significant players,” said Capellas. “That said, our returning group is very experienced. We are also looking for several of our freshmen to have an immediate impact. We set an extremely challenging schedule because we believe in the team we have and want to provide an environment to challenge ourselves.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact Hiram College Sports Information Director Jeff Hoedt by phone at (330) 569-5495, by FAX at (330) 569-5392 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.