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The Wilkes University men’s soccer team will open their 2007 season on Friday, August 31 when they travel to Montclair State University for a 4 p.m. match. The Colonels will also be in action Saturday at William Paterson University when they take on the Pioneers at 3 p.m.
Wilkes returns 13 veterans, including three All-Freedom Conference players, from last year’s squad that fashioned an overall record of 12-6-1 and earned a conference playoff berth.
Sophomore Bret Osswald, who was a second team All-Freedom selection as a freshman, leads the group of forwards for head coach Phil Wingert. Osswald had three goals, all game-winners, and four assists a season ago. Sophomore Greg Miller, who had four assists as a freshman, also returns up front. Freshmen Ali Almunajjim, Ryan Phillips and John Helwig will also vie for time at the forward position.
Senior Andy Curry heads the midfielders after garnering first team All-Conference honors last fall. Curry was the leading scorer for Wilkes with nine goals and two assists in 2006 and also led the team with four game-winning goals. Four other veterans, senior Kyle Dukmen and sophomores Jonathan Kushner, Sean Vona and Kassidy Andrus, will be relied on to add experience in the midfield. Newcomers who will compete for playing time include freshmen Jeffrey Simpson, Doug Moore, Matt Sankey, Sean Stitt, Colin Walsh and James Humenansky, and sophomore Jeff Monschein.
First team All-Conference performer Jimmy Thomas will anchor the Colonels defensively. Sophomores Keith Gardiner, Arthur Jankowski, Paul Seok and Troy Gibson all saw ample playing time a season ago, while junior Shawn McEnteer and freshman Tom Joyce begin their first season with the squad.
Senior TJ Baloga will get the start in goal for Wilkes. Baloga appeared in five matches a season ago, including one as a starter, and fashioned a 0.48 goals against average with nine saves.