SEASON PREVIEW: A Team Hungry For More
Lions boost one of its deepest teams in history as they look for repeat on 2011.
Aug. 26, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - As a team, LMU men's soccer celebrated its first West Coast Conference championship in 2010. As a team they were left speechless when they didn't make the field of 42 in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. And as a team, Head Coach Paul Krumpe thinks this 2011 squad is as deep and as experienced as any he has had.
And as a team he thinks they can do big things.
"Our returning seniors really were an impact group as freshman," said Head Coach Paul Krumpe. "We started nine freshman that year and they finished .500. As sophomores they went to the NCAA tournament. Then as juniors they won the WCC and had to deal with missing out on the NCAA tournament together."
The Lions return 19 letterwinners and nine starters from last year's squad that went 12-6-2 overall and 8-3-1 in the WCC.
"This group comes back this year coming off a year where we were very good, won 12 games and it was a very close nit team that went through a lot last year," said Krumpe. "They did everything together on and off the field, and I think they learned a big lesson from that. The more successful we are going to be as a group depends on how tight nit they are."
All told eight of the nine returning starters are seniors, with two more of the key players off the bench also seniors. While defender Roger Downes (50 games) is on the Herman Trophy Watch List and is the returning WCC Defender of the Year, this is a team built on experience as a whole.
Joining Downes as senior starters at LMU are second-team All-WCC Artur Jozkowicz (60 games), Tyler Krumpe (60), Kyle Johanson (57), Phil Da Silva (61), Logan McDaniel (58), Jonas Reiter (37) and goalie Jack McCormack (30). Joining that group off the bench are Fernando Barba (50) and Alex Greenman (52).
Experience might be a little understated for this group as they have combined to play in 515 games as a Lion.
The non-senior starter of the group, junior David Ponce, played in 19 games last year and was a second-team All-WCC selection.
"We have a lot of experience, but they are being pushed by our depth as we have a great group of young guys who are pushing into those spots," said Krumpe. "But right now to start the season, the majority of our line-up is going to be that experience and those experienced players. But the overall the message is that we have to be a tight nit group and based what I have seen the first two weeks we are a tight nit group."
The Lions will begin their season when they host Sacramento State, the team that knocked this experienced group out of the NCAA tournament in 2009, on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 2 p.m.