ABILENE, Texas — Hardin-Simmons men’s soccer team took to the field for the first time this season on Monday morning and Dan Heger welcomed 35 players for the 2014 squad.
“We have most of our team back and we added two really good players in MoMo (Diallo) and (Matt) Pitcock that were injured a year ago and we have some talented newcomers as well,” said HSU head coach Dan Heger. “This is a very deep team and the competition for playing time is definitely there.”
The Cowboys return 25 lettermen and only lost one starter a year ago to graduation, from a team that went 11-4-5 overall and allowed only one goal the entire conference season.
“We high retention rate so we are a little ahead of this point last year,” said Heger. “We have been able to be a little more tactical instead of teaching so much early on. This is a great group of guys that are hungry to win.”
HSU won the American Southwest Conference Title last season and after losing the first three games of the season went on a 16-game unbeaten streak.
Junior Colyn Moore is the leading returner from a year ago with 10 goals.
2014 Preseason Notes
The Cowboys are 12-0-5 in the last 17 American Southwest Conference games going into the year.
Senior Matt Pitcock is back after scoring six goals and handing out a conference-leading 11 assists in 2012. He tore his ACL last summer and missed the 2013 campaign.
Senior Sam Potter is back and healthy in goal for the Cowboys. He had a 1.31 goals against average as the starter in 2012. He played in only three games in 2013 and allowed just one goal in 266 minutes. Sophomore Michael Vargas had a solid year as a freshman as well with nine shutouts and a 0.51 goals against average. Blake Crum is also back after working in three games as a freshman.
HSU’s defensive backline is one of the best in the conference if not the country. They allowed just eight goals in 20 games last season. Starter’s Dustin Beal, who was all-region as a sophomore, Nik Valley, Tanner Coffin and Ewa Coleman all return. Defensive midfielder Taylor Jackson also is a key component of the stout Cowboy defense.
Senior John Paul Lowenthal was granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA. He is one of the top players in the conference and missed most of his freshman year in junior college because of an injury and death in the family.