The Webster University Gorloks and Fontbonne University Griffins renewed their rivalry in the SLIAC Tournament…
Men’s soccer kicks off new season
The Webster men’s soccer team finished last season winning five out of their last seven games. The team advanced to the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) championship game, but fell to Westminster 2-1. Overall, they finished 9-10-2 with a 6-2-1 conference record.
The Gorloks had four freshmen make the SLIAC All-Conference Second Team last season. Zach Gyuricza and Filip Delija led the team with eight goals each during last year’s campaign. While Gyuricza returns, Delija has quit the team to focus on academics.
The offense will lean on Gyuricza this season, but Siener said sophomore midfielder Drew Quisenberry will be a key factor offensively. Siener also pointed to freshman Juan Garcia as someone who would make an immediate impact. Forward Alex Whalen returns this season after sitting out the prior season.
“Gyuricza is a fast wing midfielder that is a great threat to our attack,” Quisenberry said. “He is a very valuable piece to our team if we want to accomplish our goals we set out for the season.”
Head coach Mike Siener is optimistic about this year’s squad. He said the team came together in the second half of last season and he has a good recruiting class coming in. Most of last year’s players return for this season. Siener has set a goal of winning the conference championship for 2016.
“I think the expectations will be higher,” Siener said. “To continue the success we had at the end of the year and carry that over to the start of the season.”
Director of Athletics Scott Kilgallon said the team made a turnaround after a 7-0 loss to Westminster. The Gorloks won four of their last five regular season games to advance to the SLIAC tournament and beat Greenville in the first round. While they lost to Westminster again in the championship game, the margin was only one goal that time.
Siener also said the players figured it out late in the year, and really came together as a team. Kilgallon credited Siener for the turnaround.
“We made a big change on how to compete and play as a team,” Kilgallon said. “Coach Siener gets a lot of credit for that.”
Quisenberry said the team had learned a lot from last year’s experiences and come together in training camp.
“Everything is gelling really well so far for as short as we’ve been training together,” Quisenberry said. “ Naturally it will take some time with all the new faces, but I’m really proud of how hard we’ve been training everyday.”
Garcia headlines the incoming freshmen class. There are 11 freshmen on the team, and many will be given the chance to contribute and get playing time.
“The young players are going to push the older guys,” Siener said. “We had a good balance last year and have a good balance this year.”
Last season, Zach Horn and Alex Bergmann split time as the team’s goalkeeper. Horn started off the season, but Bergmann became the starter down the stretch. Horn allowed 31 goals and was 1-7-2 in games he started. Bergmann allowed 15 goals and was 8-2 in his starts.
The team’s roster includes five goalies, including two freshmen. While Bergmann ended the season as the starting goalkeeper, there has been an open competition for the spot.
“We got five goalies out in training,” Siener said. “It is going to be competitive to see who wins that spot.”
Siener will rely on seniors Frank Verdu and Jake Stowers to lead the team’s defense. Several freshmen are expected to contribute on defense as well.
“I’m really excited about this year’s team,” Quisenberry said. “We have a lot of talent. We have high expectations to win the conference and the tournament this year.”