Buffalo, NY - The D'Youville men's soccer team has their sights set on a return to the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) playoffs in 2018 following their late push and strong finish to the 2017 season.
Finishing the regular season on a 3-0-1 unbeaten run, the Spartans tied their best AMCC conference record in program history with a 3-5-1 mark. The team is looking to build off of their late season success last year with a stable of newcomers joining an already established core of veterans on whom the Spartans will rely to lead the team in 2018.
Coming back in his final season, three time captain Josh Hammer (Amherst, NY/Sweet Home) had another successful year on the pitch with the Spartans in 2017. Hammer earned a spot on the AMCC All-Conference Third Team for the third consecutive year. He also added his second consecutive Most Valuable Player Award to his accolades after starting every game and providing unflinching leadership throughout 2017. Josh also finished the season second in team goals and points with three and six.
Junior forward Hunter Sherman (Lockport, NY/Lockport) looks poised to be the team's go-to scoring option again this season after a breakout sophomore campaign. Last season, Sherman broke the single season scoring record for goals and points while earning AMCC Second Team All-Conference honors after leading the Spartans with nine goals, 19 points, 60 shots, 30 shots on goal, and two game winning goals. Hunter also recorded the first hatrick in program history against Hilbert. He then followed up with a second consecutive 3 goal performance in a win against Penn State Altoona. Adding one more goal in the Spartans final game of the year, Hunter finished the season scoring 7 goals in 3 games, an unprecedented scoring run that D'Youville Men's Soccer has never seen before. Sherman now owns the single season scoring record, single season points record and is 5 goals away from matching the career goals record of 18 set by Josh Pfunter during his career from 2009-2012.
A key player in the Spartans 2017 playoff run was sophomore goalkeeper, Kyle Dick (Churchville, NY/Churchville-Chili), who will be returning for his second season with the team. Making 70 saves while appearing in the starting lineup 11 times during his freshman year, Dick was awarded Most Improved Player at D'Youville's end of the year athletic banquet.
Marco Ciccarelli (Rochester, NY/Webster-Schroeder) will be a major piece of the midfield as he has started 24 of 32 games in his career, including 11 out of 15 games last season with two goals and an assist. AJ Wade (Pendleton, NY/Starpoint) returns for his Junior year with a new title: Captain. Wade has been a stalwart member of the defense over the last several years as a left back and will begin the 2018 season with a move inside to center back. Khaled Numan-Ali (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga), a versatile athlete, seems poised to slide back to a more defensive role where his speed and aggressiveness will provide a positive impact as an outside back. Alf Egge (Stavanger, Norway/Stavanger International) will return for his Senior season where he looks to maximize his abilities on set pieces and distribution as a member of the team's deep midfield.
Sophomores Matt Davis (Spencerport, NY/Spencerport) and Jake Kowalewski (Attica,NY/Attica) will be relied upon even more this year after providing immediate impact as freshmen in 2017. Davis started all 17 games as a center back last year, coming up with important clearances and critical defensive plays throughout the season. Kowalewski lead the team in assists and was one of the most dangerous attacking players on the field nearly every game. Jake also defends as well as he attacks, making him a very important player no matter where he is on the field.
Adding more depth to the roster in hopes of starting their careers with a playoff push are the 12 freshman that have joined the team; William Anderson (Lakeview,NY/Frontier), Marcelo Buitrago (Ramstein, Germany/Ramstein), Benjamin Cresanti (Bemus Point, NY/Maple Grove), Nick Bailey (Bradford, NY/Bradford Central), Kyle Lyon (Wilson, NY/Wilson), Jared Zadzilka (North Tonawanda,NY/North Tonawanda), Jack Schmittendorf (Hamburg,NY/Frontier), Aakar Hunt (Cheektowaga,NY/Cheektowaga), Isaiah Kennedy (Buffalo,NY/Hutch Tech), Alex Armburst (Elma,NY/Iroquois), Anthony Balester (Buffalo,NY/Performing Arts), and Juan Centeno (Williamsville,NY/Williamsville North).
The team begins the regular season with three non-conference away games starting Saturday, September 1st at Utica. After the stretch of road games, the Spartans come back to Dobson Field for their home opener against Alfred State on September 13. The Spartans open up their conference schedule against Penn St.-Altoona during D'Youville's ALUMNI WEEKEND on Saturday, September 22 at 4:15pm.