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College of Charleston 2014 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – College of Charleston 
Conference – Colonial Athletic Association
Coach – Ralph Lundy (28 seasons)
Background – The Cougars were 4-11-1 in 2013 with a 2-5-1 mark in conference play in what might best be described as a year of transition. The Cougars, who had been a member of the Southern Conference from 1998 through 2012, began play in the Colonial Athletic Conference and they did it with a lot of newcomers playing significant minutes. Ralph Lundy's team often plays a very rigorous schedule but their 2013 non-conference slate was particularly brutal and not necessarily what the doctor would order for a team with so many young players in key roles.  At the conclusion of the 2013 season, Lundy stated, "We had a huge challenge this year with the schedule and we came short, but we're not going to change it.  We are going to keep challenging the best and we just have to keep getting better."     
Offense – The Cougars struggled in this area of the game last year netting a total of only ten goals.  Improvement is clearly needed.  Help appears to be on the way in transfers Nico Rittmeyer from North Carolina and Kye West from Villanova.  Both are attack oriented players with the potential to add offensive firepower.  Sophomore Xavier Rajpaul (4g, 0a), a 2013 CAA All-Rookie Team selection who led the Cougars in goal scoring last year, is among returning players who should beneift from the experience they gained last year.  Ditto that for midfielders Adam Noel (2g 1a), Erik Clark (0g, 2a), and Ike Crook who played significant minutes last year as freshman. Senior midfielder Troy Peterson (2g, 2g) and senior forward Clay Tanner (0g, 2a) are among returning upperclassmen who have the ability to add additional punch to the attack. Incoming freshman Sebastian Gordillo who played for FC Dallas is among the newcomers who may be able to contribute immediately.  
Defense – Departures due to graduation include backs Tam McGowan, a 2013 All-CAA Second Team selection, and Connor Coons as well as goalkeeper Kees Heemskerek, a 2013 Third Team All-CAA selection.  Heemskerek, who missed eight weeks of the 2013 season due to injury, had an outstanding four year tenure as the starter between the pipes for the Cougars. A solid core of goalkeepers return with all of them in the hunt for the starting role.  Junior Alex Young who had eight starts last year and sophomore Ryan McLaughlin who had two starts last year are among the returning netminders. Senior outside back Daan Brinkman (0g, 1a) returns to add stability to the backline.  Brinkman is an excellent 1 vs.1 defender with the ability to push forward from the back to give the Cougars a numbers advantage and provide an additional dimension to the attack.  Junior Tucker Coons (1g, 1a) had a solid sophomore season and should also play a key role in 2014.  Junior Adam Purvis, sophomore Brock King, and center back Trent Rieflin who is a transfer from South Carolina also figure to have prominent roles in the Cougar backline.  Incoming freshman Leland Archer who is 6' 4" has the athletic ability and physicality to make an impact as a center back or up-top as he gains experience. Freshman Cesar Murillo who played for FC Dallas should also be in the mix for playing time on the defensive side of the ball.   

Newcomers –  Three And A Half Star Recruiting Class  

Nico Rittmeyer – Forward – Redshirt Sophomore – Savannah, Georgia – Transfer from North Carolina.  Played in four games last year for UNC.  Ranked by College Soccer News as the number 78 player in the class of 2012.  Played for SC United.

Trent Rieflin – Defender – Redshirt Sophomore – Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina – Transfer from South Carolina.  Played in four contests in 2012 for South Carolina. 2012 South Carolina Mr. Soccer.  Played club for S.C. United Battery.

Kye West – Midfielder – Junior – Port of Spain, Trinadad and Tobago – Fatima College – Transfer from Villanova.  Played in nine games in 2012 and three in 2013.  Played for St. Ann's Ranger club team. 

Martin Sedarri – Defender – Lawrenceville, Georgia – Collins High School – Played for Gwinnett Soccer Academy.  High School team won State Championship in 2010 and 2012.

Brice Rizzetta – Midfielder – Irmo, South Carolina – Dutch Fork High School – Played for South Carolina United Battery.

Khalil Abderahman – Midfielder – Fort Mill, South Carolina – Nation Ford High School – Team captain for Charlotte Soccer Academy.  

Leland Archer – Defender/Forward – Port-of-Spain – Fatima College – Member of Trinidad and Tobago U-17 National Team.  Played for St. Anns Rangers.

Tylan Jones-Breland – Defender – Peachtree, Georgia – Starr's Mill High School – Played for SSA Chelsea West.  

Sebastian Gordillo – Midfielder – Garland, Texas – Liberty High School – Played club for FC Dallas.  

Cesar Murillo – Defender – El Paso, Texas – Bel Air High School – Played club for FC Dallas.  

Darby Martens – Defender – Spartanburg, South Carolina – Wando High School – Played for SCUMP 95.   

Prognosis for 2014 –  This is a program that is hungry to rebound after a four win season in 2013. The Cougars showed promise down the homestretch last year with wins over James Madison and Northeastern in CAA play but no matter how you slice it veteran head coach Ralph Lundy and his staff have their work cut out for them in 2014.  It is likely that the College of Charleston will up their win total in 2014 but the extent to which they do depends on their ability to increase their productivity on the offensive side of the ball while continuing to play solid team defense.  A good start to be season would be a big plus. Place the Cougars in the cautiously optimistic category heading into the 2014 season.  The year of experience the younger players gained last year, the knowledge they now have regarding their CAA opponents, and the addition of several experienced transfers are all positives.    

Posted in 2014 Team Reviews

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