2015 Oregon State Team and Recruiting Class Review

School - Oregon State
Conference - Pac-12
Coach - Steve Simmons (7th Season)
Background - The Beavers had a banner season in 2014 with a 12-8-1 overall record and a 4-5-1 mark in conference play that included signature wins over California and Washington. The Beavers served notice that the 2014 team was special when they responded to a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Stanford in their Pac-12 season opener in which the Cardinal netted the winning goal in the 89th minute of play with a 6-2 win over nationally ranked California. In that win forwards Khiry Shelton and Timmy Mueller each recorded a hat trick to power the Oregon State attack. Oregon State was awarded an at-large berth and returned to the NCAA Tournament field for the third time in the history of the progrm and the first time since the 2003 season. The Beavers topped Denver 1-0 in the first round to secure the program's first ever NCAA Tournament win before losing to Creighton 1-0 on the road in the second round. Forward Khiry Shelton was named the 2014 Pac-12 Player of the Year and forward Timmy Mueller was named the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.   
Offense - The Beavers were among the most productive teams in the country on the offensive side of the ball last year netting a total of forty goals. Sheldon (10g, 12a) played a key role in the attack last year and his departure due to graduation clearly leaves a big void that must be filled. The very good news is that Mueller (11g, 2a) and Jordan Jones (8g, 1a) who had sensational freshman seasons return to give the Beavers a very explosive pair of forwards. Both are outstadning finishers with big play ability. The nineteen goals that they combined to score in 2014 was the most by any Oregon State freshman combination in the history of the program. Coach Simmons will have a lot of returning talent in the midfield to work with including center mids senior Phillip van Berkom (0g, 1a) and sophomore Graham Smith (0g, 3a) and outside mids junior Devonte Small (4g, 4a) and senior Mikhail Doholis (2g, 2a) who should add another dimension to the offense. Senior Jaime Velasco and juniors Spencer Klewano (0g, 2a) and Matt Arbogast (0g, 1a) are among other returning players who will seek to play a greater role in 2015. Midfielder Christian Lucatero who is the marque player of the recruiting class and forward Don Tchilao are among the members of a very good group of newcomers that have the potential to contribute immediately on the offensive side of the ball.  
Defense - The Beavers will enter the 2015 season without center backs Will Seymore and Brenden Anderson and goalkeeper Matt Bersano due to graduation. Seymore was an All-Pac-12 2014 Second Team selection and a four-year starter. Anderson and Bersano were three-year starters. Redshirt sophomore Jalen Markey (0g, 1a) who was a starter last year returns at center back. Sophomores Sam Tweeton (1g. 0a) and Eli Roubos and junior Zach Striar (0g, 1a) are among other returning players who should figure prominently in the back line in 2015.  The graduation of multi-year starter Bersano in goal means that a new face will be between the pipes in 2015 which can be problematic due to the learning curve. The likely candidate to fill that role is sophomore Nolan Wirth who has the advantage of having appeared in five contests last year with four starts.  

Newcomers -  Four Star Reruiting Class 

Coach Simmons stated, "With a very strong returning group, we felt it was necessary to be very particular with the talent that fits our special culture.  The coaching staff was superb to find these young men who check all the boxes.  We've been in the process with some players for quite some time, and have throughly enjoyed it every minute."

Dylan Waugman - Defender - Friendswood High School - South Texas ODP team. Played for Texas Rush Academy.  Second Team All-State,  First Team All-Region.

Carter Auth - Goalkeeper - Mountain Vista High School - Played with the Colorado Rush U-18 Academy. Second Team All-League. Three year starter in high school.

Nathan Braaten - Forward - Thunder Ridge High School - Invited to three US National Training Camp centers.  Has played with the Colorado Rapids Reserves and with Real Colorado.

Nicholas Ballenger - Defender - West Salem High School - Played with the Portland Timbers U17/18 Academy.  Played for CFC Boca Juniors.  

Don Tchilao - Forward - Chandler High School - Played with San Tan Legacy where he has been the leading goal scorer.  A solid finisher. Had 22 goals for Chandler HIgh School this year.  Team captain in high school.  

John Chambers - Defender - Sprague High School - Played for CFC Boca Juniors. All-League at Sprague High School.  

David Brown - Defender - Played for the Houston Dynamo Academy and the Dallas Texans.

Hassani Dotson - Defender - Todd Beamer High School - Played for Crossfire Premier. Team captain.  

Christian Lucatero - Midfielder - U.S. National Team player since 2011.  Houston Dynamo Academy Player of the Year. Ranked by College Soccer News as the number 14 player in the high school class of 2015.

Evan Sungvornrajasabh - Midfielder - Plays for Arsenal FC Academy U-18.  2014 Oregon State Elite Camp MVP. 

Prognosis for 2015 - Simmons has some key gaps to fill due to the graduation of four senior starters including All-American forward Shelton but he also has a lot of talent returning and a ten member recruiting class on the way that may be the strongest from top to bottom in program history. Sophomores Mueller and Jones had brilliant freshmen seasons and return to power what looks to again be a very potent Beaver offense.The midfield is balanced and deep. The backline which allowed a total of twenty-one goals last year is going to require some reloading due to the graduation of veteran backs Seymore and Anderson and goalkeeper Bersano who was a three year starter in goal. Look for center back Jalen Markey to set the pace in the back. Sophomore Nolan Wirth who had a 0.67 goals against average in five appeanaces last year with four starts looks to be ready to assume the startring role in goal. The Beavers got a taste of success last year which should make them hungry for more.  The competition in the Pac-12 will again be brutal in 2015 with little margin for error but Oregon State should enter the season with a renewed confidence level based on what they accomplished in 2014. Oregon State has fielded some competitive teams under Simmons in the past but none seemed to be able to consistently play at the level needed to earn an NCAA Tourney berth. The 2014 team was without a doubt a difference maker in that regard. Heading into the 2015 season Oregon State looks to be an energized program with high expectations. Simmons has a succesful track record of turning programs around but that is not something that happens overnight when you play in a conference that is as competitive as the Pac-12. Clearly the 2014 season provided something tangible to build on. Whether the Beavers can build on the success they enjoyed last year and return to the NCAA Tourney field in 2015 remains to be seen. Sufficient talent returns to reasonably conclude that they can but cautious optimisim might be the best progonosis at this point in time.     

 

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