Wright State – Four Star Recruiting Class – Head Coach Bryan Davis will enter the 2013 season trying to recapture the momentum the Raiders had in 2011 when they won eleven contests and advanced to the championship match of the Horizon League Tournament.
Despite a 4-13-1 season last year that included a 2-4-1 mark in league play, there are reasons to believe that the Raiders will fare much better in 2013. Last year injuries resulted in numerous lineup changes at Wright State as Davis sought to put together a winning combination. The fact that the Raiders played everyone close, ten of their thirteen losses were by a one goal margin, and that they continued to battle throughout the season is almost always an indicator that things are going to get better. Wright State continues to be a work in progress but a good foundation does exist upon which to build and Davis has added a large and promising group of newcomers that should add value across the board.
The Raider attack in 2013 will feature sophomore forward Brett Elder (9g, 3a) and senior Bryce Rockwell-Ashton. Elder, who improved as the season progressed, was a Third Team All-Freshman selection by College Soccer News. He also was the 2012 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year and a First Team All-Horizon selection. Rockwell-Ashton was a 2011 All-Horizon League First Team selection but did not play last year. His return to the lineup will add experience and an additional dimension to the Raider attack. Both Elder and Rockwell-Ashton have good instincts on the offensive side of the ball. Other returning forwards include seniors Nick Peppe, Drake Steward, and sophomore Erik Anderson (0g, 1a). Incoming freshman Eric Lynch, an NSCAA High School All-American, is among the newcomers who has the potential to contribute to the attack up-top.
Senior Derek Zuniga (3g, 5a), a 2012 All-Horizon League Second Team selection, and junior Gustav Svensson who played in the back last year are among key returning midfielders. Senior Angelo Capuano (1g, 0a), junior Matt Greer and sophomore John Sandmann are among other returning midfielders who will compete for a greater role in 2013. Sophomore Wes Cain who transfers in from the University of Northwestern Ohio should compete for playing time immediately. Freshmen Avery Ball, Jake Stovall and Sam DeRoy a 2012 NSCAA High School All-American are among others who could be in the mix for playing time in the midfield.
Senior Greg Marchand (1g, 0a), junior Emy Ononye (3g, 0a) who played in the midfield last year, and sophomore Connor McCafferty are among returning players who look to play a key role in the back in 2013. Juniors Joakim Carlsson (1g, 1a) and Will Gbelee (0g, 1a), sophomore Alex Basickos and senior Chris Meingast are among other returning defenders who look to be in the mix.
Junior Craig Feehan, the 2011 Horizon League Newcomer of the Year, and senior Jacob Bye who was the starter last year return in goal. Newcomers Tyler Blackmer and Ryan Pignatiello should also be in the hunt for playing time between the pipes.
There is reason for cautious optimism at Wright State heading into the 2013 season but a lot of things will need to fall into place for the Raiders to have a double digit win season like they did in 2011. They must perform better on the road and reduce the costly lapses in play they experienced last year during which opponents often scored multiple goals in a short period of time. Davis definitely has some talent to work with and the healthy return of several players that were hampered by injury last year is a big plus. The newcomers will need to contribute but plugging too many newcomers into the lineup and expecting to win can be hazardous. The Raiders will field a better team in 2013 than they did in 2012 but for significant improvement to occur the returning players must be able and willing to set the pace.
Avery Ball – Midfielder – Fort Collins, Colorado – Fossil Ridge High School – Played for Colorado Rapids Academy. Two-time All-Conference selection. Region IV ODP team. Colorado ODP.
Jacob Stovall – Defender – Centerville, Ohio – Centerville High School – 2012 NSCAA All-Midwest Team. First-Team All-State. Played for the Cincinnati United Premier Crew Jrs Gold.
Tyler Blackmer – Goalkeeper – Boise, Idaho – Mountain View High School – Played for the Boise Nationals Soccer Club. Region IV ODP team. Idaho ODP team. All-Conference selection.
Wesley Cain – Midfielder – Ontario, Canada – University of Northwestern Ohio – Sophomore transfer. Played with the Canadian U-17 National Team. Member of the Ontario Provincial Team.
Samuel Davis – Defender – Upper Marlboro, Maryland – Saint John’s College High – Played for the Baltimore Bays Academy. Two-Time All-Conference.
Sam DeRoy – Midfielder – Powell, Ohio – Olentangy Liberty High School – Played for Classic Eagles FC. 2012 NSCAA High School All-American. State Division I Co-Player of the Year. All State.
Eric Lynch – Forward – Bellbrook, Ohio – Bellbrook High School – Played with Ohio Galaxies Metro FC. Two-Time NSCAA High School All-American. Division II Ohio Player of the Year.
Ryan Pignatiello – Goalkeeper – Tipp City, Ohio – Tippecanoe High School – 2012 NSCAA All-Midwest Team selection. Played for Ohio Galaxies. All-State selection. Conference Player of the Year.
Austin Seifert – Forward – Colorado Springs, Colorado – Colorado Virtual Academy – Played with the Colorado Rapids Academy. Two-Time All-League. All-Conference.
Zach Zwiesler – Midfielder – Beavercreek, Ohio – Dayton Carroll High School – Played for United Premier Crew Jrs.
Bryson Basaran – Midfielder – New Palestine, Indiana – New Palestine High School – Played with FC Pride and Indianapolis Premier Soccer Club. Indiana ODP team. All-Conference. All-District.
Michael Hayes – Midfielder – Fort Wayne, Indiana – South Side – Transfer from Marshall.
Gregory Terrell – Defender – Raleigh, North Carolina – Enloe – Sophomore transfer from Liberty.
Omari Morris – Forward – Toronto, Ontario – Pickering High School – Transfer from Akron with four years of eligibility remaining. Member of the Canadian U-17 National Team. Played with the Toronto FC Academy.
Chris DuPont – Midfield – Montreal, Canada – Will enter as a junior. Played for the Qubec Provincial team. Also played for FC Servette in Switzerland and FC Metz in France as a amateur.