Thursday, August 28, 2014
The 2014 Titan men's soccer team, under the direction of 17th-year head coach Girish Thakar has high expectations for the upcoming season.
"Expectations are very high for the upperclassmen to put together full games and come away with wins where we have suffered narrow losses and draws last season," Thakar said.
The Titan program finished 7-9-3 overall in 2013, including a 2-3-3 mark and a sixth-place finish in the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC). Five of their nine losses were only by one goal. Westminster returns 12 letterwinners, including eight starters. The Titans were picked to finish fifth in the 2014 PAC preseason coaches' poll.
Junior Ethan McCarthy, a Second Team All-PAC honoree, paces the Titan returners. McCarthy led the Titans and placed second in the PAC with a career-high 10 goals in 2013. His 20 points paced the team and ranked fifth in the conference. Senior defender Ryan Francis is back as the anchor for the Titan defense. An All-PAC honorable mention selection a season ago, Francis started in 19 games and helped Westminster total two shutouts and record a goals against average of 1.74.
In addition to Francis, Westminster has three other seniors who bring leadership and experience to the field; defender Dan Bishop, goalie Michael Girata, and midfielder/forward Stephen McDaniel. Bishop tallied the most minutes for the Titans in 2013, while adding a strong presence on Westminster's backline. Girata started in eight games between the pipes, collecting 22 saves and a 4-4 record. McDaniel played in all 19 matches (started in 16) last season. He scored three goals and had 20 shots on goals, which tied for second most on the team.
Other key returners include juniors forward Marcus Gurgiolo, defender Eric Michalski, and midfielder Cody Postupac who all started in 2013. Gurgiolo was fourth on the team with eight points (3 goals, 2 assists).
Junior midfielder Richard Beaudoin, sophomore defender Cory Hughes, junior midfielder/defender Matthew Kiernan, and sophomore forward Jeremy Wiening round out the returning letterwinners.
Newcomers midfielders/forward Zack Walters, defender/midfielder Abe Toure, and midfielder Grant Gagnon are among the first-year players who will push for playing time.
"We want to set a marker and start the season strong," added Thakar. "We have a very strong schedule with teams that were first or second in their respected conferences a season ago. We have the qualities and desire to do it."
About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College is a top-tier liberal arts college and a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 379 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.
Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit www.westminster.edu/advantage to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.