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Wright State 2015 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – Wright State
Conference – Horizon League
Coach – Bryan Davis (7th Season)
Background – Wright State was 12-7-2 overall in 2014 with a 4-3-1 mark in conference play that was good for a third place finish in Horizon League regular season play.  The Raiders advanced past Milwaukee and Detroit in the Horizon League Tournament before losing to Oakland 2-1 in the championship game. The 2014 campaign was a breakthrough season for the Raiders who had a four win season in 2012 and a six win season in 2013. Midfieder Eric Lynch became the first player in the history of the program to be named the Horizon League Offensive Player of the Year and the Player of the Year. Lynch, forward Peguy Ngatcha, and defender Emeka Ononye were 2014 All-Horizon League First Team selections. Defender Austin Polster was named to the Horizon League All-FreshmanTeam. 
Offense – Departures due to graduation include starting midfielders Bryce Rockwell-Ashton (2g, 1a), Joakim Carlsson (1g, 1a) and Michael Hayes (0g, 3a). The good news is that players who scored ninety percent of the goals the Raiders placed in the back of the net in 2014 are slated to return. Junior midfielder Eric Lynch (7g, 13a) and junior forward Peguy Ngatcha (7g, 1a) return to add a lot of experience and firepower to the Wright State attack in 2015.  Both are legitimate playmakers.  In addition senior forward Brett Elder (0g, 1a) who was hampered by injuries last year and only saw action in seven contests returns to provide yet another dimension to what should be a very productive offense.  He led the Raiders in scoring in 2013 and 2012. A healthy Elder is a big plus and solid addition for the Raider attack. Junior back Jake Stovall (6g, 0a) adds an additional element to the offense out of set pieces. Junior center midfielder Sam DeRoy (0g, 3a) may not stand out on the stat sheet but his contribution should not be overlooked. DeRoy will set the pace for the entire team and is the guy that will keep his teammates involved on both sides of the ball. Junior Marquis Payton 3g, 1a) and sophomore Jalim Bayo (1g, 0a) are among other returning players who look to be in the mix up-top. Freshman forward Tristan Lyle, who was a 2014 NSCAA High School All-American, is among the newcomers who could add additional punch to the attack. The midfield looks to be deep with the return of senior midfielder Wes Cain (2g, 2a), juniors Zach Zwiesler (2g, 0a), Avery Ball (1g, 1a) and sophomore A.J. Patterson (1g, 3a) among others. Jackson Dietrich, the 2014 Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year, is among the newcomers who could challenge for playing time in the midfield from the get-go. 

Defense – The graduation of center back Emeka Ononye hutrs but the addition of junior Kaique Fernandes who was an NJCAA All-American should help ease the pain. Junior Jake Stovall (6g, 0a) and sophomore Austin Polster (0g, 1a) who were starters last year also return in the back in 2015. Stovall and Polster are ball winners with the size and athletic ability needed to be effective defenders. Freshman back Mathias Hegeland looks to be among the newcomers with the athletic ability and the experience to compete for playing time right away. Junior Tyler Blackmer who has two years of starting experience under his belt returns to give the Raiders an experienced and very capable presence between the pipes.   

Newcomers – Three and a half Star Recruiting Class 

Coach Davis stated, "The creation of this class has literally spanned several years. He added, "We have always had an eye of the 2015 incoming class being a special one and I believe we have delivered a class that compares favorably with any class in the country."

Kaique Fernandes – Defender – West Babylon, New York – Iowa Western Community College – A junior transfer from Iowa Western where he helped the Reivers secure a 48-0-2 overall record.  Played with Met Oval in the U.S. Development Academy.

Jackson Dietrich – Midfielder – Las Vegas, Nevada – Foothill High School – The 2014 Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year. First Team All-State. Played for the Las Vegas Sports Academy.

Tristan Lyle – Forward – Beavercreek, Ohio – Beavercreek High School – An NSCAA High School All-American. Had 66 career goals and 31 career assists at Beavercreek. Ohio HIgh School Division I First Team selection.

Mathias Hegeland – Defender – Uddevalla, Sweden – Played for the amateur team IFK Uddevalla in 2012 and 2013. Played for division l IFK Uddevalla in 2014.

Eric Hutton – Midfielder – Chillicothe, Ohio – Zane Trace High School – First Team All-State. District Player of the Year. Chillicothe Gazette Player of the Year. Played for Ohio Galaxies FC.  

David Jeffries – Midfielder – Cincinnati, Ohio – Waynesville High School – Netted 105 career caeer goals at Waynesville.  Played club with CUP. 

Austin Manthey – Midfielder – Las Vegas, Nevada – Palo Verde High – Played for Las Vegas Sports Academy. All-Northwest League. All-Sunset League and All-City.   

Austin Kinley – Defender – Xenia, Ohio – Xenia High School – Played for Crew Academy Club Team for three seasons. 

Will Lukowski – Goalkeeper – Kansas City, Missouri – Iowa Western Community College – Played two seasons at Iowa Western Community College.  NJAA All-American. Had a redshirt season at Indiana University. 

John Achor – Goalkeeper – Valparaiso, Indiana – Chesterton High School – Played for the Chicago Magic PSG Academy. 

Jeff Rhodes – Midfielder – Brownsburg, Indiana – Sophomore transfer from San Diego State where he played in nineteen contests in 2014 making twelve starts. Member of the U.S. U-14 and U-15 National Teams. Played for Indiana Fire. 

Prognosis for 2015 – Wright State emerged as the surprise team in the Horizon League last year. The Raiders looked to be a team searching for an identity in 2012 and 2013 but that changed in 2014 when they appeared to gel as a team as reflected in the significant increase in their win total. Seven starters are slated to return from the 2014 squad along with a solid core of players that saw plenty of playing time last year. In addition, the ten member 2015 recruiting class includes several players who should be able to contribute right away. Wright State led the Horizon League last year in goals scored. With players who were responsible for 90 per cent of the thirty-eight goals the Raiders put into the back of the net in 2014 slated to return the outlook on the offensive side of the ball is very promising heading into the 2015 campaign. Eric Lynch, Peguy Ngatcha, and Brett Elder are all proven goal scorers. On the defensive side of the ball losing center back Emeka Ononye who was a four-year stater is certainly worth mentioning, but the addition of junior transfer Kaique Fernandes, a two-time NJCAA All-American who joined the team in January, and the return of Jake Stovall and Austin Polster with another year of experience on their resumes may go a long way toward filling the void. The Raiders will still be a relatively young team in 2015 with a roster that includes only three seniors. The 2015 team has the potential to be the best team that Davis has put on the pitch during his tenure to date at Wright State. Clearly the 2014 season provides a very solid foundation upon which to continue to build the program. The bottom line is that the Raiders are a legitimate contender for the 2015 Horizon League championship. However, they may still be a year away from having all the ingredients needed to accomplish that feat and secure the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tourney.   


Posted in 2015 Team Reviews

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