2016 Team Reviews

San Diego State University 2016 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School - San Diego State University
Conference - Pac-12
Coach - Lev Kirshner (17th Season)
Background - San Diego State University was 8-8-3 overall in 2015 recording their best record since the 2011 season when they were 10-6-3 overall. The Aztecs were 2-7-1 in Pac-12 play in 2015 with signature wins over California and UCLA. SDSU has a ,700 record against non-conference opponents since 2010. However, the going has been much more difficult for the Aztecs in the highly competitive Pac-12 Conference. Forward Rene Reyes was a 2015 All-Pac-12 Second Team selection. Goalkeeper Adam Allmaras and defender Travis Nicklaw were named All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. Defenders Kyle Adams and Matt Callahan were NSCAA All-Far West Region Third Team selections. SDSU joined the Pac-12 Conference in 2005 and last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and 2006.  
Offense - The Aztecs will enter the 2016 season without the services of forward Rene Reyes (6g, 3a) due to graduation. Reyes was SDSU's top goal scorer last year, Kirshner will likely look to junior Jeroen Meefout (4g, 3a) and redshirt junior Winsgton Sorhaitz (1g, 1a) to power the attack up-top in 2016. Senior Luke Ackerman who saw action in fourteen contests last year is among other returning forwards. Micheal Sauers, who is a senior transfer from Maryland where he appeared in fifty-four matches over the past three seasons, is among the newcomers who has the potential to contribute up-top. The Aztecs will also look to midfielders senior Casey Macias (3g, 3a) and redshirt junior Dallin Cutler (1g, 2a) to add an additional dimension to the offense. Juniors Brady Buckwell (1g, 1a), Ernest Reyes (1g, 0a) and Thom Van den Berg are among other returning midfielders who will seek to play a greater role in 2016. Junior transfer Debray Hollimon from Cal State San Bernadino and freshman Emil Kjellker are among the newcomers who should be in the mix in the midfield. 
Defense - The backline recorded seven shutouts last year with a 1.29 goals against average. Some rebuilding will be required due to the graduation of defenders Mark Revell and Casey Phillips and the departure of Travis Nicklaw. However a solid necleus returns including sophomore centerback Kyle Adams (1g, 0a), senior Matt Callahan (1g, 3a) and redshirt senior Sergion Enriquez (0g, 1a). Sophomore Mac Clark and freshman Christian Onalfo are among others who should add depth in the back. Redshirt junior Adam Allmaras who was the starter in goal last year, redshirt senior Keenan Townsend who was sidelined last year due to an ACL injury, and walk on Anthony Macias will compete for the starting job between the pipes. 

Newcomers - Four Star Recruiting Class  

Coach Kirshner stated, "We are extremely pleased with our signings for the upcoming season. These incoming student-athletes will address many of the issues we have witnessed in our most recent teams."

Brandon Butler - Freshman - Encinitas, California - La Costa Canyon High School - Played with Albion SC. Member of Cal South ODP. Avocado West League Second Team. Team captain.

Morgan Graham - Defender - Edmonton, Albertga - Archbishop O'Leary - Played with Alberta Select Team. Particiapted in the Canadian National Training Centre.

Debray Hollimon - Midfielder - Wichita, Kansas - Wichita Northwest High School - A junior transfer from CSU San Bernadino where he started twenty-four matches over the past two years. All-State Second Team selection.  All-Metro First Team.

Emil Kjellker - Midfielder - Hollviken, Sweden - Malmoe Borgarskola - Played for Trelleborgs FF. Played with the U-18 Swedish Men's National Team.  

Spencer Madden - Dana Hills, California - Dana Hills High School - Played with West Coast FC. Member of Cal South ODP. Team captain.

Christian Onalfo - Defender - Redondo Beach, California - LA Galaxy High School - Played for LA Galaxy USSDA. Called into the U-18 and U-20 U.S. Men's National Team camps.

Pablo Pelaez - Midfielder - San Diego, California - Mt. Everest Academy - Played for San Diego Surf. Played with the U-18, U-17, U-16 U.S. National Teams. Enrolled at SDSU in the Spring 2016 semester. 2014 NSCAA All-American.

Michael Sauers - Forward - Glen Arm, Maryland - Archbishop Curley - Senior transfer from Maryland where he appeared in firty-four matches over the past three seasons. All-ACC Freshman Team selection in 2013. Played for DC United. NSCAA All-American in high school.    

Prognosis for 2016 -  SDSU's veteran head coach Lev Kirshner will enter the 2016 season with a good necleus of returning players to work with along with a very promising recruiting class. The defense anchored by backs Matt Callahan and Kyle Adams should be solid.

On the offensive side of the ball, forward Jeroen Meefout (4g, 3a) and midfielder Casey Macias (3g, 3a) are the only returning players who contributed more than a single goal last year. Their ability to find the back of the net in 2016 along with newcomers like senior forward Michael Sauers who is a transfer from Maryland and redshirt freshman midfielder Pablo Pelaez will be a critical success factor for SDSU in 2016. The fact that Sauers and Pelaez were enrolled in the Spring 2016 semester should enable them to hit the ground running.

The ability of the Aztecs to remain healthy,particularly in those positions where they will enter the season without a lot of experience, will likely have a huge impact on the level of consistency of their play in 2016.  

San Diego State might be described as the known unknown in the Pac-12 Conference heading into the 2016 campaign. They are known because they are always a dangerous opponent as reflected in their season ending win over UCLA last year. On a given night the Aztecs are capable of beating anyone. They are unknown in the sense that they will enter the season depending on several new faces to be difference makers particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

The bottom line is that SDSU appears capable of a ten win season in 2016 but in order to make that a reality they are going to have to find a way to up their win total in Pac-12 play which is no easy task due to the highly competitive nature of the conference.  

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