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Colgate 2018 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School:  Colgate
Conference:  Patriot League
Coach:  Erik Ronning – 14th Season
2017 Record:  12-11-1 overall – 4-4-1 in conference play 
2017 Final Season Ending Rank:  20 College Soccer News, 21 United Soccer Coaches  
Key Personnel Losses from the 2017 Team:  Midfielders Jared Stroud, Chase Pagani and Troy Moo Penn, defenders Karl Brown and Bruno Scodari, and goalkeeper Peter Tappenden due to graduation.  

Five Year Win Total:

2013:  4

2014:  6

2015:  10

2016:  13

2017:  12

2017 Goals Scored and Goals Allowed:  38 scored, 36 allowed
2017 Goals Scored and Goals Allowed Per Game:  1.58 scored, 1.50 allowed
2017 Key Statistic:  Won seven out of last eight contests 

Background:  The Raiders have earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament a total of seven times including back-to-back appearances in 2016 and 2017.  Five of the seven appearances to date have been under the direction of head coach Erik Ronning.  In 2017 Colgate established a new standard of excellence when they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in NCAA Tournament play for the first time in the history of the program. 

Colgate has won the Patriot League Title a total of seven times with the most recent being the 2016 and 2017 seasons.  The Raiders have secured ten or more wins for the past three seasons (2015-2017) for the first time in the history of the program. 

Colgate played their best soccer of the year down the home stretch last year.  After beginning the season 5-10-1 overall they rebounded to win seven out of their last eight contests.  The momentum started when the Raiders won their last two regular season contests to secure the number six and final spot in the Patriot League Tournament.  They then topped Bucknell, Loyola and Holy Cross to become the first number six seed to win the Patriot League Tournament. 

The Raiders' gutsy run continued when they defeated Massachusetts 2-0 and number thirteeen seeded Michigan 3-2 in NCAA Tournament play to advance to the Sweet Sixteen where their historic season finally came to an end when they were topped by number four seed Louisville 2-0.    

Midfielder Jared Stroud and defender Aram Ouligian were 2017 First Team All-Patriot League selections.  Stroud and Ouligian were also United Soccer Coaches All-Northeast Region First Team selections.   

Colgate head coach Erik Ronning, associate head coach Mark Plotkin, and assistant coach Tyler Keever were named the 2017 Northeast Region Staff of the Year by the United Coaches Association.   

Number Starters Returning in 2018:  Eight


Coach Ronning stated, "I am pleased to welcome this exceptional group of student-athletes to the Colgate Soccer family. I believe many of these young men will make immediate contributions while adding balance and depth to our squad.  The Class of 2022 will be the foundation for continued excellence as we look to build on the program's recent success."

Klan Alberto – Midfielder – Mendham, New Jersey – Delbarton School – Three-time First Team All-State and All-County.  Had twenty-four career goals and twenty-four career assists at Delbarton School.  

Edward Bass – Forward – Dallas, Texas – Highland Park – Played for the Dallas Texans USSF Developmental Academy team.  

Hunter Firment – Midfielder – West Chester, Pennsylvania – Unionville High School – First Team All-State.  Team captain.  Three-time First Team All-Chestmont selection. Netted twenty-two career goals and twenty-six assists. 

Dominic Galietta – Defender – Bethel Park, Pennsylvania – Bethel Park High School – All-State selection.  Three-time All-District and All-Section selection.  Had eighteen career goals and twenty-five assist at Bethel Park. 

John Gerard – Defender – Summit, New Jersey – Delbarton School – All-State selection. Two-time All-County and All-Conference.  Had nine career goals and seven assists at Delbarton School. 

Nick Gerlach – Goalkeeper – Arlington, Virginia – Gonzaga College High School – Had forty-two saves and recorded six shutouts during senior campaign.  All-Conference and All-Met selection.  Played with D.C. United Academy. 

Diego Heredia Soto – Midfielder – Hummelstown, Pennsylvania – Lower Dauphin High School – All-Division selection.  Had twelve career goals and twelve assists. 

Baraka Kiingi – Defender – Bethesda, Maryland – St. Andrew's Episcopal – Played for Bethesda Soccer Academy.  

Jack Kohler – Forward – Kohler, Wisconsin – Kohler High School – Scored twenty-one goals and contributed nineteen assists during senior season at Kohler.  All-Conference selection.  Played for USSDA/NPL FC Wisconsin Nationals. 

Ryan Krueger – Midfielder – Wilmette, Illinois – New Trier High School – All-Sectional and All-Area selection.  Netted twenty-three goals and contributed ten assists his senior season.  Had thirty-three career goals at New Tier.  

Will Stroud – Defender – Chester, New Jersey – Delbarton School – All-State, All-Conference and All-County selection as a senior.  Had eleven career goals and seventeen assists at Delbarton.   

Outlook for 2018 Season:  There is a lot to like about Colgate heading into the 2018 season. A very deep, talented and experienced contingent returns. The Raiders have also added a recruiting class that includes several players who should contribute right away. 

Advancing to the Sweet Sixteen last year should provide motivation for continued success in 2018.   

The rotation up-top will include seniors Freddy Johnson (5g, 0a), Steven DeLeo (4g, 2a), Uyi Omorogbe (4g, 4a) and Abdel Sanago (0g, 2a).  All contributed to the attack last year and each will bring their own unique style to the offense. 

The midfield will require some reloading due to the graduation of Jared Stroud (4g, 13a), Troy Moo Penn (1g, 0a) and Chase Pagani.  Stroud and Moo Penn were four-year starters.  Replacing Stroud whose thirteen assists last year and thirty career assists established a new program record will likely take a collective effort. 

The good news is that a very capable group of experienced midfielders return upon which to build.  Senior midfielders Oliver Harris (3g, 0a) and Tim Oberg (0g, 1a) should provide stability and set the pace in the middle of the park.  Junior Kentaro Morrison (2g. 3a) who was a starter last year and versatile sophomore Chris DePetro (1g, 0a) who now has the advantage of a year of experience under his belt are among other returning linkmen who should play key roles.  Senior Dugan Zier who saw action in eleven contests last year is among other midfielders who will seek to play a greater role in 2018.  

The opportunity for improvement exists on the defensive side of the ball where the Raiders allowed a total of thirty-six goals last year.  While they played well at times, lapses in intensity on the defensive side of the ball particularly out of set pieces hampered Colgate during regular season conference play where a single breakdown can be the difference between a win and a loss.

Senior Aram Ouligian (8g, 3a) who has been a starter the last three season returns to anchor the defense and to provide an additional dimension to the offense.  He will be joined in the back by junior Christian Clarke (2g, 3a) who was a starter last year and senior Ryan Bellavance (1g, 0a) whose athleticism added toughness down the homestretch last year.  The incoming freshmen defenders should add depth to the back line and could compete for minutes as they gain experience.  

Junior Jacob Harris who assumed the starting role between the pipes during the second half of the season last year when Peter Tappenden sustained a season-ending injury returns in goal. Harris gives the Raiders an athletic, composed, and imposing presence in goal. 

Erik Ronning, a former four-year starter and team captain at Colgate, has built a program with a culture of team unity and toughness designed to maximize the collective potential of the team. The culture no doubt played a key role and helped fuel the Raider's season ending run last year.   

The bottom line is that the potential exists for a third consecutive conference championship and berth in the NCAA Tourament in 2018. 

Talent and experience should not be a major issue for the Raiders in 2018.  The biggest issues look to be taking it one game at a time while dealing with a challenging schedule, remaining hungry to improve as a team, and the always crucial and often challenging ability to find the right balance and combination of players on the field of play.  

Posted in 2018 Team Reviews

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