Season Preview: D'Youville Men's Soccer

Season Preview: D'Youville Men's Soccer

Buffalo, NY - With back-to-back playoff appearances, the D'Youville men's soccer team enters the 2019 season with experience and one of their deepest rosters ever as they look to make it three straight postseason trips.

The team is coming off a 4-4-1 conference record last season and went to the playoffs at the fifth overall seed in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference playoffs. Head coach Brendan Murphy returns for his seventh season in charge of the program, leading the team to three postseason appearances. He is joined on the staff by former Major League Soccer (MLS) player Rey Martinez as well as former player turned long-time assistant, Ed Appah. Joining the staff for this season is former player Alf Egge, along with one of the program's best all-time players in Josh Hammer.

Leading the way for the Spartans will be seniors Hunter Sherman (Lockport, NY/Lockport), midfielder Marco Ciccarelli (Rochester, NY/Webster-Schroeder), and defender AJ Wade (Lockport, NY/Starpoint).

Sherman has been one of the best goal scorers in the AMCC throughout his career with the Spartans as he was an AMCC Second Team All-Conference player in 2017 and an AMCC First Team All-Conference player in 2018. In each of his previous three seasons with the team, Hunter has led the team in scoring and finished tied for fourth in goals (7) and points (15) but led the AMCC in game winning goals (3) in conference play.

Ciccarelli missed a large portion of last season due to injury but was an extremely important and impactful player when healthy. In each of his first two seasons with the team, Marco finished top three in goals, assists, and points for the men. As for Wade, he has only continued to improve and provide a strong presence on the back line for the Spartans. A captain last season, AJ has shown tremendous leadership and has helped propel the team to a postseason regular.

Seniors Jumale Jumale (Buffalo, NY/DaVinci) and Khaled Numan-Ali (Cheektowaga, NY/Cheektowaga) offer outstanding speed and pace to add to a strong senior class.

Much like the senior class, the junior class has numerous key players to the team – both new and old. Center back Matt Davis (Spencerport, NY/Spencerport) has been a rock for two seasons at the heart of the Spartan's defense and will continue to do so this season as he has started every game of his career. Also along the back is outside defender Jake Kowalewski (Attica, NY/Attica). Jake provides excellent speed and pace from his outside back position but is also a big playmaker as he tied for the team lead in assists last season.

Goalkeeper Kyle Dick (Churchville, NY/Churchville-Chili) has been the top shot-stopper for the men over the last two seasons, racking up four shutouts in net. He was one of the most consistent keepers in the AMCC throughout the season and will be expected to play big minutes for the team in 2019.

As for the newcomers, attacking players Nick Dumond (Lockport, NY/Starpoint) and Mwibeleca Tumba (Congo/Fraternity Institute) transfer in for their junior seasons and will be expected to be dangerous players up top and on the wings to add to a formidable attacking front.

In their second years with the team, goalkeeper William Anderson (Lakeview, NY/Frontier), midfielder Jack Schmittendorf (Hamburg, NY/Frontier), midfielder Alex Armburst (Elma, NY/Iroquois), and Juan Centeno (Williamsville, NY/Williamsville North) will all battle for increased rolls after receiving quality minutes in their freshman campaigns. Isaiah Kennedy (Buffalo, NY/Hutch Tech), Benjamin Cresanti (Bemus Point, NY/Maple Grove), and Anthony Balester (Buffalo, NY/Performing Arts) each provide depth at their positions and bring hard working attitudes.

Of the freshmen, attacking player Noah Steele (Heuvelton, NY/Heuvelton) and defensive player Tiago Salles (Porto Allegre, Brazil/Colegio Anchieta) will be huge additions and the young building blocks moving forward. Each brings an advanced skillset for their ages and will be relied on for immediate impacts.

Chris Irakoze (Buffalo, NY/Middle Early College), Daniel Bagalwa (Buffalo, NY/International Prep), goalkeeper Cristino Almonte (Buffalo, NY/MST), HsaKlo Moo (Riverside, NY/McKinley), and Sean O'Connor (Tonawanda, NY/Canisius) round out a talented freshman class that could be the next wave of big time players for the Spartans.

D'Youville will open their season on Friday, August 30 as they host Bethany at 8:00pm. The men will then turn around to host Thiel that following Sunday, September 1 at 5:00pm. The following weekend, the Spartans will then travel to Ohio to play at Bluffton and Oberlin followed by a pair of home games the following weekend.

Saturday, September 21 begins the team's conference schedule at Penn State-Altoona, followed by the conference home opener on Saturday, September 28 against La Roche. The conference schedule will close at the team hosts the newest AMCC member in Alfred State on October 29.