BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Union College head men's soccer coach Tyler Brock expects more from his 2008 team after the Bulldogs finished 2007 with a 10-7-1 record. The Bulldogs open the season Wednesday at West Virginia Tech at 5 p.m.
The 10 wins mark the most during Brock's five years at the helm, and he is counting on a young but experienced team to help propel the Bulldogs back to championship form.
The team returns 15 players, including four players that started seven or more matches last season. The top two leading scorers from 2007 return, but Brock will have to find replacements for the players that provided a total of 18 goals and 14 assists last year. For that, he will look to a signing class of 13 incoming players to supply the offensive fire.
Sophomore Jonathan Shaw (Merseyside, England) saw plenty of time in net for Union last year. The 6-foot-7 keeper played 598 minutes during 11 matches and stopped 37 shots. He also was called on to start four matches with a 1.957 GAA during 2007. According to Brock, Shaw should come in and lead by example this season after appearing as a freshman.
Brock looks for Max Sisson (Corbin, Ky.) and Nathan Koebcke (Corinth, Ky.) to provide competition for Shaw. The addition of Skye Brisco (Pompano, Fla.) will give Brock a fourth goalkeeper to push for playing time early.
Three starters return from the 2007 squad. Taylor Lamblin (Danville, Ky.), Danny Bartlett (Edgewood, Ky.) and Aaron Miller (Cincinnati, Ohio) all were a part of Union's backline. The trio combined to start 31 times last year. Brock looks forward to having an experienced core group of returners on his back line. Lamblin is only one of two seniors on this year's roster while Bartlett is a junior and Miller is a sophomore.
Newcomer Dan Johnson (Lancashire, England) is someone Brock will use to help secure the group. Johnson provides a vocal leader that can help organize the Union defense according to Brock.
Habib Sanogo (Ivory Coast) and Jonathan Schadler (Walton, Ky.) were a part of the squad last year and saw time in four and two matches, respectively. Derek Schardine (Cincinnati, Ohio), Austin Sebald (Union, Ky.) and Kyle Hathorn (Burlington, Ky.) all should come in and battle for playing time during the season. Brock also wants to see what Carson Rager (Hopkinsville, Ky.) and Daniel Scott (Dry Ridge, Ky.) can do during preseason workouts.
The anchor of the midfield is sophomore Jonathan Sutton (Portsmouth, England). He returns as the leading goal scorer from the 2007 team with seven scores. Brock added that he expects big things from him in 2008. He will be a Bulldog that helps set the tone as he runs the field.
Brock looks for Rahul Kooner (Surrey, Canada) to deliver big for the Bulldogs this season. He brings in the experience of 15 matches as a freshman with one goal into 2008.
Sideek Sanogo (Ivory Coast) and Chris Riley (Cornwall, England) should battle for a starting position with Kevin Niehaus (Erlanger, Ky.) adding pressure for playing time and a starting role. Kirk Shufflebarger (Cold Springs, Ky.) should see quality minutes out wide on the pitch. The junior has played in 33 matches so far in his first two years.
After a successful first season at Union, Marc Pierre (Haiti) is making the move to a forward. From the midfield, the transfer scored six times and tied for the team lead with 15 points. Brock will also use the senior's versatility in the midfield. The head coach also added that Pierre will be a key to the success of the 2008 season as a leader for the squad.
Mbizo Mzamane (Johannesburg, South Africa) and Liam Johnson (East Yorkshire, England) are new to the Union program this season. The duo should provide a definite scoring threat for the Bulldogs according to Brock.
Andy Blevins (Burlington, Ky.) and Bodie Price (Afton, Tenn.) come in as freshmen looking for playing time right away. Xavier Rutledge (Middlesboro, Ky.) is a third generation Union student-athlete and will make the move from a defender to a forward.