2010 Tigers Soccer Preview
Fresh off of the best season in school history with a 16-4 record and 8-2 conference mark, the 2010 Hampden-Sydney soccer team will look to continue its success and hoist the program's first-ever Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship. Though key pieces from the 2009 squad graduated, head coach Josh Laux has several key contributors returning along with a solid recruiting class that could have some immediate contributors.
The team returns this season after posting program highs in wins (16) and shutouts (11) while allowing just 0.60 goals-per-game and scoring 2.10 gpg. The Tigers reached the conference semifinals for the third consecutive year, but fell to eventual champion Lynchburg College 2-1.
The offense in 2010 will be exciting to watch with the top three point scorers returning to lead the attack. Leading the way will be All-Region forward Bryan Wharton (Glen Allen, VA/Deep Run) who scored 14 goals in 2009 for the second consecutive season. Wharton has established himself as one of the best finishers in the league and is dangerous from anywhere on the field.
Wharton will be joined by fellow junior and Honorable Mention All-ODAC honoree Bryan Hughes (Midlothian, VA/Cosby) and the 2009 ODAC Rookie of the Year Nick DeProspero (Midlothian, VA/Cosby). Hughes' blazing speed and constant pressure makes life difficult for opposing backs, and he will hope to build upon his two year totals of nine goals and three assists.
DeProspero returns for his sophomore season after a stellar freshman year scoring five goals and dishing out ten assists. The Cosby product started in all 19 of his rookie appearances while establishing himself as a leader on the field. His work ethic and knowledge of the game will allow him to continue to produce and create for others.
Also looking to be big contributors at the forward position are senior Andrew Berg (Aberdeen, Scotland/International School of Aberdeen) and sophomore Brandon Haynes (Raleigh, NC/Broughton). Berg is a tough, scrappy player who has a powerful strike and the ability to create his own shots. Haynes has great feet and can be a game changer coming off the bench. In his freshman season, Haynes scored three goals while adding three assists in his 19 appearances.
The midfield will see a familiar face in four-year staple Matt Hampton (Virginia Beach, VA/Kellam). The senior will again look to lead the Tiger offense in the midfield with much of the productivity starting with him. He possesses a great knowledge of the game, knowing where to be and where to go, and continues to be one of the best creators on the team. With 11 assists to his name through three years, Hampton will continue to control the midfield and advance the attack.
Joining Hampton will be sophomore Chris Whiteside (Virginia Beach, VA/Frank W. Cox) and juniorKevin Anderson (Midlothian, VA/Cosby). Whiteside saw significant time as a freshman appearing in 19 games while starting in 13. The Virginia Beach native proved to be a dependable source in the midfield while tallying three assists and adding a goal.
Anderson will look to crack the starting lineup in his junior season while giving Coach Laux another smart, crafty player in the middle of the field. With the ability to see the field and create, Anderson is a solid option to control the tempo and distribute to the offense.
Also vying for time in the midfield is sophomore Connor McCarthy (Midlothian, VA/Clover Hill). McCarthy appeared in 12 games as a freshman and will give Laux some depth and options in the midfield.
The Tiger defense, which saw great success in 2009, will feature a mix of familiar and new faces. Returning to the starting lineup will be senior Sam Turner (Richmond, VA/Benedictine) and sophomoreCurran Blackwell (Wilson, NC/Greenfield). The two center backs have a great physical presence and will provide solid interior defense. They are also both solid in the air and win almost anything that comes their way. Turner, a three-year starter, will be the vocal leader of the defense and will look to continue the dominance he has been a part of for the past three years.
Joining the defense this year will be junior Gregorio Pacheco (Montclair, NJ/Montclair). The Montclair, New Jersey native has proven he can play multiple positions, but his speed and tracking ability will allow him to see ample time as a back.
Also competing for time in the back will be sophomore Scott Cutler (Williamsburg, VA/Jamestown). Cutler showed good signs in his freshman season and has improved his game over the off season. He can provide another smart and physical back for Coach Laux.
Looking to continue his stellar work between the pipes is senior keeper John Robert Plyler (Charlotte, NC/Myers Park). Plyler has been solid through his first three seasons amassing a 0.80 goals-against-average while also being named the 2007 ODAC Rookie of the Year and a Second Team honoree in 2009. Plyler will be backed up by two solid juniors, Jay Bowman (Durham, NC/Durham Academy) andDuncan Oliphant (Annapolis, MD/Annapolis).The Tigers have no easy schedule in 2010 as they open up the regular season at home on September 1 against Averett. They then travel south to compete in Emory's Sonny Carter Invitational on September 4th and 5th before returning home on the 11th to host the Hampden-Sydney Classic where they will be playing Moravian College and Landmark Conference Champion and NCAA Tournament Participant Catholic University.