Wildcats Look to Repeat as Men's PCAA Soccer Champs

Published 09.14.2001


Four matches into its 2001 campaign, the Penn College men's soccer team has picked up where it left off at the end of last year's championship season winning.

Going into Friday's match at Penn State-Hazleton, the Wildcats of Coach Andy Richardson are 3-1 and barely scored upon. Until they were beaten 1-0 by Manor College on Sept. 15, their two-season win streak stood at nine matches. They won their final six last year, including a 1-0 season finale against Manor to claim their first Pennsylvania Conference Athletic Association championship.

The Wildcats return the nucleus from last year's squad, including team MVP Matt Koloch, a sophomore goalie who graduated from Pottsgrove High School. Other returning starters include sophomores George Bender (fullback from East Chester), Juan Condo (midfielder/forward, Springfield), Rohan Lewis (forward/striker, Lansdale North Penn), Ryan Newswanger (midfielder/forward, Pine Grove), Ryan Pheasant (midfielder/right wing, West Snyder) and Kurt Russ (fullback, Waynesboro).

"Last year, I returned three players, more so midfield- and strike-potential players as forwards. This year, I'm much more well-rounded in those who I return," said Richardson, who is in his 10th season as coach.

"It looks to be a year that we can compete real heavily, and, with any luck, we'll be able to achieve our goals, which are to best our record from last year (10-3-2) and make the playoffs," the coach continued. "Last year, we were fortunate enough to peak late in the season. We didn't have the best show through the regular season (going 4-3-2), but by peaking late in the season it helped us get to that championship round."

In 2001, the Wildcats outscored their opponents 48-22, giving up just five goals in their last six outings. Richardson, whose career record at the school entering this season was 58-37-9, expects a similar showing this year.

"I'd like to see us in the mix in every game, making a good variety of plays, scoring out of the midfield ranks as well as the forward-strikers . . . It looks to be a very good year this year for Pennsylvania College of Technology soccer.

"(Our Sept. 10) game, a 7-0 victory over Lehigh Carbon, and our first game, 1-0 win over Corning, are the signs that we do have that scoring potential. Usually, early in the season, it takes a bit of time to get the combination of players that get out there working together and finish well," Richardson said. Lewis scored two goals against Lehigh Carbon.

Defensively, he noted, "I think we're going to be as tough as any team. I'm real excited about our defense. I coach defense as strong as I do offense. Our players know how to win the ball back when we lose possession and that comes from all lines of the field."

Backing up Koloch in goal will be talented freshman Shaun Taney, who starred on a state high school championship team at Fleetwood last season.

Others on whom Richardson is counting are sophomore Enrique Castillo (midfielder, Clifton) and freshmen Nate Lukashunas (forward/midfielder, Montoursville), David Frederick (fullback/midfielder, Lock Haven), Jeremy Neidig (fullback/stopper, South Williamsport), Kyle Radke (midfielder/forward, Milton), Matt Danner (fullback, Red Land), Derik Dressler (midfielder, West Snyder), Phil Henney (midfielder/fullback, Huntingdon), Aaron Hoover (midfield, Northeastern), Alex Hartman (striking forward/attacking midfielder, Marathon), Trenton Kuhns (fullback/midfielder, DuBois), Scott Ribarchik (midfielder/forward, Bucks AVTS), German exchange student Christian de Pay (halfback/midfielder) and Faisal Al Nufeai (forward, Saudi Arabia). Hartman tallied two Wildcat goals against Lehigh Carbon and de Pay had two assists.

"These players offer a considerable amount of talent for me to utilize. I look at this team as the arsenal that I can utilize against other teams that we play. We have good deep ranks of all of our spots on the team, from midfield to forwards to fullback potential, as well as our goalkeeper," Richardson assessed.

"We have some great talent this year. These kids have come from good programs. I look for a solid finish this year . . . . A (championship) repeat would be a sweet goal for us to achieve. We have the good potential to do so," Richardson concluded.

The Wildcats play their home matches at the Athletic Field off College Avenue behind the Field House.