INDIANAPOLIS — Just ahead of its first season of competition in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, Ohio Dominican's men's soccer team was picked to finish fifth in the 2017 Great Midwest Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll presented by Under Armour, the conference announced Thursday.
The Panthers accrued 69 points overall and notched one first place vote to place fifth in the preseason rankings. Alderson Broaddus topped the poll with 104 points and six first place votes, while Davis & Elkins, Cedarville and Ohio Valley rounded out the top four.
The 2017 season marks the inaugural year for Ohio Dominican as a member of the Great Midwest after competing in the GLIAC from 2010-2016. The Panthers captured the GLIAC regular season and tournament championships in 2013 and recorded an overall GLIAC mark of 48-39-9 during their span of competition in the conference.
ODU is looking forward to competition in the Great Midwest and returns 17 upperclassmen from last season's squad, including junior Ryan Kasprzak (Hilliard, Ohio), who led the team and ranked fourth in the GLIAC in goals scored after finding the back of the net 11 times in 2016. Kasprzak also co-led the Panthers in assists a year ago, dishing out four on the season.
Defensively, Ohio Dominican returns its top three goalkeepers from a season ago, including senior Clayton Hildebrand (Findlay, Ohio), who started 15 matches for the Panthers between the posts, recording 56 saves in over 1300 minutes of action. Senior Robby Frye (Cincinnati, Ohio) returns after starting two matches at goalkeeper for the Panthers in 2016 prior to injury, and junior Alec Mathew (Pataskala, Ohio) also returns for ODU.
Sophomore Cameron Christian (Pataskala, Ohio) returns after ranking third on the team in goals scored last year with four. Ohio Dominican also returns a bevy of experience at defender, with juniors Babacar Ba (Columbus, Ohio) and Phillip Kelly (Canal Winchester, Ohio) and sophomores Matthew Pardi (Worthington, Ohio) and Noah Kiser (Mason, Ohio) combining for 49 starts in 2016.
The Panthers also welcome a host of new faces to the squad, with 10 newcomers joining the team for 2017.
In a season full of new beginnings for Ohio Dominican, the squad will face two familiar non-conference opponents to kick off the year. After taking on No. 12 Urbana on August 31, ODU will host former GLIAC foe Ashland on Sunday, September 3 before beginning Great Midwest play with a match against Findlay on Wednesday, September 6. Overall, ODU will play 16 regular season matches in 2016, with nine matches at Panther Stadium.
Ohio Dominican begins its exhibition slate with a preseason contest at Indianapolis on Saturday, August 19.
2017 Great Midwest Men's Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll presented by Under Armour
1. Alderson Broaddus (104 pts – 6 first place votes)
2. Davis & Elkins (94 pts – 2 first place votes)
3. Cedarville (93 pts)
4. Ohio Valley (89 pts – 2 first place votes)
5. Ohio Dominican (69 pts - 1 first place vote)
6. Trevecca Nazarene (62 pts)
7. Lake Erie (60 pts)
8. Findlay (50 pts)
9. Walsh (43 pts)
10. Kentucky Wesleyan (36 pts)
11. Malone (26 pts)
Contact: Aaron McPherson