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Old Dominion 2014 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – Old Dominion University
Conference – Conference USA
Coach – Alan Dawson (18th season)
Background – The Monarchs began play in Conference USA in 2013 and finished with an 11-6-1 overall record with a 7-2-0 mark in league play that was good for a second place finish.  The Monarchs were awarded a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive season and for the tenth time in the past twelve seasons and thumped Drexel in the first round before losing to sixth seeded Georgetown in the second round.  Forward Tim Hopkinson (12g, 4a) was named a Second Team All-American by the NSCAA and College Soccer News.  
Offense – Replacing All-American forward Tim Hopkinson, the 2013 CUSA Offensive Player of the Year, will be a chore. Hopkinson was a three-year starter who finished his tenure at ODU as the program's third all-time point producer with thirty-three career goals and nineteen career assists.  ODU will also miss the services of midfielder Gideon Asante (2g, 1a), a four-year starter, who had fifteen career goals and fifteen career assists.  Senior forward Ivan Militar (4g, 9a) from Hungary who had a breakout season last year looks to be the Monarch's go-to guy on the offensive side of the ball in 2014 along with sophomore left footer Jesse Miralrio (4g, 5a) from Texas who was named to the 2013 CUSA All-Rookie team. Both are vintage ODU bigs up-top with the quickness and finishing ability needed to be very dangerous when they have the ball in the attacking third. Junior midfielder Ryan Condotta (2g, 2a) is the team lynchpin who will set the pace and serve as a key link between the back and front lines.  Sophomore Cole Stringer (2g, 2a), a 2013 CUSA All-Rookie Team member, is among other returning midfielders who should play a key role in 2014. Senior forward Sidney Rivera (1g, 0a) and junior midfielder Geoffrey Hill (2g, 1a) are among other returning players who will seek to increase their playing time in 2014. Sophomore forward Josue Henriquez who is a transfer from Phoenix College where he scored ten goals last year and freshman forward Charles Jones are among the newcomers who appear to have the greatest chance of contributing to the attack immediately.         
Defense – ODU must replace veteran backs Jason Gaylord, a 2013 CUSA First Team selection, and Ryan Oakes due to graduation as well as goalkeeper Sean Stowe, a 2013 All-CUSA Second Team selection.  Senior Skylar Hagan, junior Michael Nelson, and sophomore Nick Hutchinson return in the back to give the Monarchs what looks to be a very solid backline to build on.  Junior Connor Miller from Salisbury, North Carolina who saw action in one contest last year and transfer Alex Thiesenhausen from Lindenwood University should battle for the starting job between the pipes. Determining a replacement for Stowe in goal has to be high on Dawson's to-do list heading into the 2014 campaign.   

Newcomers –  Three and A Half Star Recruiting Class  

Coach Dawson stated, "We have addressed our most pressing needs with this class while adding quality depth to the squad."

Christian Coulson – Goalkeeper – Portsmouth, Virginia – Churchland High School – All District selection.  Team captain and MVP.  Played for Churchland Soccer Club.  

Charles Jones – Forward – Fayetteville, N.C. – Sanford High School – Leading goal scorer in Cumberland County with 29 goals and 11 assists last year.  Member Region 3 ODP team.  

Garrett Walke – Midfielder – Virginia Beach – Landstown High School – Second Team All-State, All-Region, Played for Beach FC. 

Josh Toma – Forward – Cary, North Carolina – Panther Creek High School – Played for MSF Liberty U-18 Soccer Academy,  

Tyler Edwards – Forward – Carrollton, Georgia – Carrollton High School – Played for Southern Soccer Academy. Golden Boot Award Winner.

Sebastian Joly – Defender – Chesapeake, Virginia – Western Branch High School – Played for Virginia Rush Soccer Club – Region I team.   

Alex Tiesenhausen – Goalkeeper – Graz, Austria – Lindenwood University – Transfer from Division II Lidenwood University.  Played for FC Gratkorn.  

Josue Henriquez – Forward – Mesa, Arizona – Mountain View High School – Transfer from Phoenix College.  First Team AACAC, First Team West Conference NCJAA. First Team All-League in high school.  

Prognosis for 2014 – There are a few unanswered questions but there also is plenty to like about ODU's prospects in 2014. A lot of the attack appears to rest on the shoulders of Militar and Miralrio heading into the season. Chances are likely that another go-to player will emerge to add balance to the attack and give the Monarchs the type of options in the attacking third that will stretch opposing defenders and make them a difficult team to defend. The backline looks to be in good shape and Dawson has a lot of material to work with in the midfield. However due to the gaps that must be plugged ODU could face a learning curve in the early going.  The Monarchs would benefit greatly from a strong start in what looks to be a very competitive early season scheule. Success early on will result in momentum and confidence that should help the Monarchs in what will once again a very competitive CUSA race with the likes of New Mexico, Charlotte, and UAB among others fielding very solid teams. Whether or not ODU has what it takes to finish at or near the top in the CUSA in 2014 and earn the program's fifth consecutive invite to the NCAA Tourney remains to be seen. History would suggest that the chances are pretty good that they will.     


Posted in 2014 Team Reviews

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