There's a lot of optimism at Colgate heading into the 2019 season. A solid group of players return supplemented by a promising twelve member recruiting class for a program that has secured the Patriot League Title and punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the past three seasons.
Departures and Gaps – Twelve newcomers come on board and twelve depart due to graduation. Key departures due to graduation include defenders Aram Ouligian (2g, 0a) and Ryan Bellavance (2g, 0a), midfielders Oliver Harris (5g, 4a) and Tim Oberg (1g, 1a) and forwards Freddy Jonsson (2g, 3a), Steven Deleo (4g, 1a) and Uyi Omorogbe (1g, 1a).
Opportuities for Improvement – Balance that will maximize productivity and efficiency on the offensive side of the ball while ensuring the desired level of play and intensity on the defensive side of the ball. Patience on offense and discipline on defense.
Coach's Recruiting Class Comment – Erik Ronning stated, "I am proud to welcome this fantastic group of scholar-athletes to the Colgate Soccer Family." He added, "This is a balanced , deep, and talented class that possesses all the qualities necessary to compete at the highest level of college soccer, while succeeding in the classrom. Many will be called upon to make immediate contributions, and all with enhance our championship culture."
Summary – Erik Ronning's to-do list includes three items. One, replinish the offensive firepower provided by 2018 All-Patriot League First Team selection Oliver Harris (5g, 4a) and his fellow seniors who were responsible for twenty of the twenty-seven goals Colgate scored last year. Two, fill the void that exists on the defensive side of the ball due to the graduation of 2018 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and four-year starter Aram Ouligian. Three, successfully merge a large group of newcomers in with the returning players.
Colgate may experience a brief learning curve in the early going as several of the returning players settle into more prominent roles and the newcomers get acclimated to the college game, but you can bet the farm that things will very quickly fall into place. It is not just their talent that has made Colgate successful. Under Ronning, Colgate has consistenly been better than the sum of it individual parts. Team chemistry, a solid work ethic, depth, and a balanced team effort without reliance on any one player will again be team strengths at Colgate heading into the 2019 campaign.
Ouligian will not be easy to replace. Nonetheless, the backline looks to be strong anchored by 2018 All-Patriot League First Team selection senior Christian Clarke (0g, 2a) who has been a starter for the past two seasons. Outside backs sophomores Baraka Kiingi (1g, 1a) and Will Stroud return with the advantage of a year of starting experience under their belts. Sophomores John Gerard who had a productive spring season and Dominic Galietta are among other returning players who could be in the mix at center back. Chris Noriega and John Muckstadt are among the members of the recruiting class who could be in the hunt for minutes in the back. Senior Jacob Harris, a 2018 Third Team All-Patriot League selection who recorded a Patriot League best nine shutouts last year with a .70 goals against average, returns between the pipes to give the Raiders a very talented and composed presece in goal.
Center midfielders junior Chris Depetro (0g, 1a) and sophomore Kian Alberto (1g, 5a) will set the pace for the Raiders. Both are creative box-to-box midfielders with good touch on the ball and vision. Senior Kentaro Morrison (2g, 2a) who has multiple years of stating experience will add an additional dimension to the attack out wide. Freshmen Corey Finchum, Will Guckien, Bobby Foose and Antonio Ducrot are among the newcomers who should add depth in the midfield.
Sophomores Edward Bass (1g, 0a) and Ryan Krueger (2g, 1a) and senior Lucas Lezcano (0g, 1a) are among returning players who will seek to play a greater role up-top in 2019. Freshman Drew Fischer and Max Edelstein are goal scorers with the potential to add firepower to the attack up-top before their tenure at Colgate is over.
There will again be a great deal of parity in the ten team Patriot League in 2019. The conference race will be a grind with no easy games. The competiton for the six slots in the league tournament will be fierce and all of the six of the teams in the field will be capable of winning the tournament. Colgate is a team that knows how to get it done when it counts the most. A Four-Peat is not out of the question.
Antonio Ducrot – Midfielder – New York, New York – The Fieldston School – Played for BW Gottschee, Met Oval, and Cedar Stars-Monmouth. Tallied eleven goals for Cedar Stars-Monmouth in the 2017-2018 season.
Max Edelstein – Forward – San Francisco, California – University High – Scored fifty-six career goals and twenty-five career assists at University High. San Francisco First Team All-City selection. SFIAC Athlete of the Year as a senior. Team captain. Netted thirty goals his senior season.
Corey Finchum – Midfielder – Beaverdam, Virginia – Patrick Henry High School – Four-year starter at Patrick Henry. All-Conference selection. ODP state team. Played for Richmond United.
Drew Fischer – Forward – New Albany, Ohio – New Albany – All-State selection at New Albany where he scored fifteen goals and added twenty assists his senior season. First Team All-District. Team captain. Played for Ohio Premier.
Bobby Foose – Midfielder – Bethesda, Maryland – Winston Churchill High School – Played for Bethesda Soccer Academy. Scored for goals and contributed nineteen assists at Bethesda Soccer Academy over the past two seasons.
Eli Gould – Midfielder – Simsbury, Connecticut – Northfield Mount Hermon High School – Team captain. Played with Black Rock FC.
Will Guckien – Midfielder – Zionsville, Indiana – Zionsville Community High School – Played with the Indiana Fire Academy where he scored ten goals during seventy-one contests.
Mark Kieffer – Forward – Bedford, New Hampshire – Bedford High School – Four year starter at the Northwood School and Bedford High School. Played for Black Rock FC.
John Muckstadt – Defender – Dover, Massachusetts – Dover-Sherborn High School – Three-time Tri Valley League All-Stat. Eastern Massachusetts All-Star in 2017 and 2018. Had twenty career goals and ten career assists at Dover-Sherborn High School. Also played varsity basketball.
Chris Noriega – Defender – Somersville, New Jersey – Delbarton School – All-American honoree at Delbarton his senior season. Contributed fourteen assists and three goals at Delbarton School. First Team All-State and All-County selection.
Holt Robison – Defender – Wilmington, North Carolina – Cape Fear Academy – Two-time All-State selection at Cape Fear Academy. Two-time MVP and Coastal Preps Player of the Year in 2018. Team captain.
Nicholas Steed – Midfielder – Elmira, New York – Notre Dame High School – Played for Berkshire School in 2019. Played four-years of varsity soccer at Nothre Dame High School where he scored a total of thirty-one goals and contributed twelve assists. Played with Black Rock FC.