MEQUON, Wis. – The Concordia University Wisconsin Men's and Women's Soccer programs have started out strong in 2015. The Men's team owns a 5-1-1 overall record, while the Women's program has started 4-1-2, which included a victory over No. 11 UW-Whitewater last week.
CUWFalcons.com takes a look at some of the statistics and reasons behind the Soccer programs success early in the season, as both programs gear up for a run in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.
The Backline: The backline of defenders in soccer can often be associated to offensive lineman in football. They are players who are crucial to the team's success, but often don't get the credit they deserve. The men's and women's teams both have strong units, thus the reason they both have allowed little scoring against them this season. The men have given up just five goals this season and have posted four shutouts. The women have allowed eight goals with a pair of shutouts.
The impressive thing about the men's team is they have dealt with injuries to the backline already. Seniors Mark Samuel (Brookfield, Wis.) and Jake Barnes (Fort Atkinson, Wis.) both have missed time, Barnes being just one match thus far. Still, the Falcons continue to shut opponents down. Barnes, Samuel, senior Bobby Russ (Wauwatosa, Wis.), freshmen Gavin Falotico (Palatine, Ill.), Trevor Nargis (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Kyler Pope (Muskego, Wis.), along with sophomore Jeremy Jenich (Mundelein, Ill.) and junior Neil Tandon (Woodbridge, Ontario) have all contributed to the team's success thus far. Sophomore Jake Swihart (Oostburg, Wis.) also filled in during Saturday's win over Wisconsin Lutheran with the team down two defenders.
The women's group is also underrated and continues to play well. Senior Krista Oelhafen, juniors Faith Palmreuter (Frankenmuth, Mich.) and Abigail Freeland (Grafton, Wis.) and freshman Josie Dombrowski (Bartlett, Ill.) have made up the starting four this season. Senior Tehani Dee (Slinger, Wis.) has also played plenty of minutes and played a big part in the team's early season success, along with freshman Nicole Ciesielczyk (Waukesha, Wis.) who normally starts matches as a forward, but slides back as a defender as well from time to time.
Goal Scorers: Any successful soccer team needs players who can score goals, especially players who can score in bunches. On the men's side, senior Keegan Van Dusseldorp (Burlington, Wis.) has been difficult for opponents to stop this season, as he has scored seven goals and recorded 16 points over seven matches. Van Dusseldorp ranks second in the NACC in both points and goals.
On the women's side, the duo of senior Carley Pfannerstill and freshman Kayla Schlosser has paced the team thus far. Pfannerstill (Grafton, Wis.) is third in the NACC with 18 points this season, having scored six goals and adding six assists. Her six assists also lead the conference. Schlosser has scored 11 points, six of those coming in the upset of the Warhawks.
Balanced Scoring: While each team has it's go to goal scorers, both teams have showed they have plenty of players, especially at the forward position, who can help get the Falcons on the board. This season, the men have eight players who have scored a goal, which matches the team's total from all of last season. Freshman Dagoberto Diaz (Woodburn, Ore.) and junior Jordan Moehn (Fond du Lac, Wis.) each have two goals for the Falcons thus far.
The women also have seen eight different players score a goal this season, including junior Halie Schieffer (Belgium, Wis.) who has netted two goals in just two matches. Last season the Falcons had 10 players score a goal, a number they could top in 2015.
Midfield Success: Both the men's and women's teams possess a talented group of players in the midfield as well. For the women, Schlosser was a part of that group before moving up to the forward position last week. A reason Schlosser was able to make the move was the depth the Falcons possess in the midfield.
Senior Emily Ciesielczyk (Waukesha, Wis.) is the leader of the midfield unit as she does a tremendous job setting up the Falcons offensive attack. Another senior captain and key contributor comes from that group in senior Jaclyn Theune (Oostburg, Wis.), while Schieffer, sophomore McKenna Kowalski (Milwaukee, Wis.), freshman Ashley Johnson ( Chesterfield, Mich.) and junior Taylor Micolicheck (Green Bay, Wis.) have all made solid contributions this season.
The men's midfield group is led by senior Diego Campos (Milwaukee, Wis.) who leads the team with three assists this season. Juniors Sean Cropper (Green Bay, Wis.) and Justin Clayton (Crete, Ill.) both have seen several starts this season, while Diaz has impressed in the midfield as well along with sophomore Michael Benash (New Berlin, Wis.).
The Keeper: The men's and women's teams go about their business differently when it comes to the starting goalkeeper position. For the men the net belongs to senior Alec Brew (Appleton, Wis.) and for good reason. Brew has been great thus far, leading the NACC in goals against average (0.60) and save percentage (.882). He has 30 saves and has given up just four goals in seven contests this season.
The women's team has rotated starts between junior Ariana Worthing (Saginaw, Mich.) and sophomore Tabitha Ortiz (Plainfield, Ill.). Both players have played well, with Ortiz posting a 0.84 goals against average, including her impressive start against the Warhawks last Wednesday. Worthing has made 15 saves in four starts and owns a 1.34 goals against average. Each keeper has recorded two wins.
A soccer team needs all of its pieces working to have success on the pitch. For the Concordia University Wisconsin Men's and Women's Soccer programs, all those pieces have succeeded this season, and the results have followed. If those pieces continue to work together, the Falcons could post some impressive accomplishments in 2015.