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Bowling Green State University 2015 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – Bowling Green State University 
Conference – Mid-American
Coach – Eric Nichols (7th Season)
Background – The 2014 season was a barrier breaker for BGSU.  The Falcons were 14-6-1 overall with a 2-2-1 mark in conference play. The fourteen wins was the highest victory total at Bowling Green since the 1997 team won eighteen contests. The Falcons finished the 2014 season with a winning record for the first time in fourteen seasons and advanced to the championship game of the MAC Tournament for the first time since the 2003 season. The 2014 team finished strong with five consecutive wins before losing to Akron 2-1 in the MAC Tournament final. BGSU had six wins in 2014, eight wins in 2012, seven wins in 2011, six wins in 2010, and three overall wins in 2009. Midfielders Danny Baraldi and Ryan James, defenders Jake Genrich and Jacob Roth, and forward Pat Flynn were named to the 2014 All-MAC Second Team.    
Offense – The Falcon offense generated a total of thirty-eight goals last year which was the program's highest for a single season since the 1997 campaign. The Falcons will enter the 2015 season without the services of starting midfielders Danny Baraldi (4g, 2a) who had eighteen career goals and twenty-one career assists and Vlad Lekarev (0g,1a) due to graduation. It bodes well for the future of the program that Bowling Green's top four goal scorers in 2014 were all sophomores and that players who were true or redshirt sophomores in 2014 netted thirty of the Falcon's thirty-eight goals. Junior forward Pat Flynn who led BGSU and the MAC in goals scored last year (14) and game-winning goals (6) returns to lead the attack in 2015. Flynn, who transferred in from DePaul last year, was an immediate boost and difference maker on the offensive side of the ball. Look for Flynn to continue to be a force up-top in 2015. Senior midfielder Ryan James (0g, 6a) is a three-year starter and can hold his own with anyone. James and juniors Joe Sullivan (5g, 6a) and Max Auden (6g, 3a) are all very capable of contributing to the attack from the midfield or up-top. Defender Jake Roth (5g, 8a) also adds an additional dimension to the offense. The value that senior holding midfielder Jake Martin adds should not be overlooked nor underestimated. Martin was a starter last year but missed a portion of the 2014 season due to injury. He will likely control the tempo and set the pace for the Falcons. 
Defense – Last year BGSU held opponents to a total of seventeen goals while recording eight shutouts. They enter the 2015 campaign with some retooling to do on the defensive side of the ball due to the graduation of senior center back Jon Kumher. Senior Jake Genrich and junior Jacob Roth (5g, 8a), who were 2014 All-MAC Second Team selections, return to anchor the backline. Genrich has been a starting center back since arriving on campus as a freshman. Roth, who led the Falcons in assists last year, also adds productivity to the attack out of the back. Redshirt junior Danny Shea who played in fourteen games last year is among other returning backs who look to be in the mix. Freshman Peter Pugliese, who graduated early from high school and enrolled in January is among the newcomers who looks to be in the hunt for a starting role as an outside back. Redshirt juniors Nick Landsberger and Ryan Heuton return in goal to battle for the starting job between the pipes. Both are experienced netminders.  

Newcomers – Three Star Recruiting Class 

Vincent Giannini – Midfielder – Sydney, Australia – Christian Brothers High School – Named to New South Wales Schoolboys and the Australian Schoolboys teams. Played club for Sydney Olympic FC. AFC Asian All-Star representative. 

Dominic Grida – Defender – North Royalton, Ohio – North Royalton High School – Played for the Columbus Crew Academy. OSSCA All-Ohio Second Team selection. NOC Player of the Year. All-Conference First-Team.

Noah Kummer – Goalkeeper – Brookville, Ohio – Dayton Carroll High School – Ohio Division II Player of the Year. Had 51 career shutouts. Four-year starter in high school. NSCAA All-Great Region Team. NSCAA Fall High School All-American. Played club for Ohio Galaxies FC Elite 96.   

Moe Mustafa – Defender – Westlake, Ohio – Westlake High School – Played for the Columbus Crew Academy. All-Southwestern Conference First-Team selection. All-Greater Cleveland First-Team.

Tate Robertson – Forward – Springfield, Ohio – Catholic Central High School – Played for Ohio Galaxies FC. All-Ohio First Team selection in Division III. Netted 44 goals his senior season. 105 career goals and 64 career assists. Earned three letters in basketball and four letters in soccer.

Ryan Ross – Forward – Bolingbrook, Illinois – Neuqua Valley High School – Played for Galaxy SC. – All-State First-Team selection. Netted 21 goals his senior season and 51 career goals. All-Sectional and All-Area First-Team as a junior.

Omar Salem – Midfielder – Westlake, Ohio – Westlake High School – All-Ohio Division I First-Team selection. NSCAA Fall High School All-America selection. All-Southwestern Conference First-Team. All-Greater Cleveland First-Team. Played for the Columbus Crew Academy. 

Peter Pugliese – Defender – Cambridge, Ontario, Canade – Jacob Hespeler Secondary School – Graduated high school early and joined BGSU in the Spring. Played for the Cambridge Supersonics U-21 team. Played for the Cambridge Soccer Club. 

Prognosis for 2015 – The Falcons should again be very productive on the offensive side of the ball. Pat Flynn gives BGSU a big time go-to guy up-top but he will likely be a very tightly marked man in 2015. That means that guys like midfielders Ryan James, Joe Sullivan, and Max Auden and defender Jacob Roth with perhaps a little assistance from some of the newcomers will need to add balance to the attack. The backline looks to be very solid with Jake Genrich and Roth returning but depth on the defensive side of the ball could be a concern as the season progresses. A year ago Bowling Green was coming off a six win season and was picked to finish in fifth place in the six team MAC. Based on the Falcons performance last year and the fact that they return an experienced team expectations will be higher heading into the 2015 season. It is noteworthy that seven out of the Falcon's first nine contests will take place in the friendly confines of Cochrane Field which is a big plus but their last nine games including conference games with Western Michigan, Buffalo, and MAC frontrunner Akron are all on the road which will test their talent, depth, and mettle as a team. The bottom line is that there is reason for cautious optimism at BGSU heading into the 2015 season. Optimism and excitement is warranted due to the success the Falcons enjoyed last year, the experience returning, and the momentum the program has but caution due to the fact that duplicating last years fourteen wins with a challenging non-conference schedule that includes Michigan State, Syracuse, and Ohio State and what looks to be a very competitive MAC dance card won't be easy.   


Posted in 2015 Team Reviews

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