Men's Soccer - Fri, Aug. 31, 2007
The Spring Hill College men's soccer team begins its 2007 season at home this Saturday, September 1 against the No. 7 ranked Auburn-Montgomery Senators at 3 p.m. "We've had a very good preseason," observes Head Coach Adam Pearce, "The heat made it challenging, but our guys adjusted well not only to the heat but also to the changes in schedule that it constantly required. That's a good indicator of things to come."
This year Badger fans might have to spend more time getting to know the players as the team features 11 new faces. "We're a young team, but we're excited and committed," Pearce believes, "A great team chemistry is developing and we've well and truly prepared for the season."
As a former goalkeeper, Pearce's usual style of play is admittedly defensive minded, but this season he looks forward to pushing the ball more on the offensive side of the field. "I've got young guys who are hungry to score goals, so we're going to push it offensively and that always compliments a hard-nosed defensive minded team."
Pearce looks to his captain junior Sean Simpson, a mid-fielder from Ballwin, Mo., for leadership on and off the field this season. "He's a three-year veteran and has really stepped up in his captaincy," comments Pearce, "He's the heart and soul of our team right now and he's the catalyst to the attack. Sean is a very talented player and I'm excited that his leadership ability has caught up to his playing abilities."
On defense, the Badgers will have freshman Cory Bronenkamp from St. Louis, Mo., in goal, but Pearce isn't worried about placing such a vital position in the hands of a youngster, "He's got good size for the college game and he's got a good head on his shoulders. Cory has made a relatively easy transition."
If there's a player on this young squad that embodies Pearce's preferred style of play, defenseman Collin Gasparovic is that man. The 5'7" St. Louis native is described by his coach as "a prime example of what we call the Badger Way." Despite being a freshman, Gasparovic is an all-around player who makes good decisions. "He's also a fierce tackler," Pearce adds with a smile.
As for the upcoming season, the Spring Hill squad certainly has a tough series of matches in front of them. "Our conference (Gulf Coast Athletic) is always tough," Pearce says, "Mobile, William Carey and Belhaven have all reloaded with lots of international talent. It just gets more and more challenging each year causing the rivalries to grow." The non-conference schedule is daunting as well. The Badgers open with traditional national powerhouse AUM, challenge Reinhardt College and Southern Polytechnic and travel to Texas to take on two defending conference champions in Texas College and UT-Tyler. Mix in three NCAA Division II schools and Spring Hill's schedule proves to be one of toughest in the southeast.
Pearce is confident that his second Badger team is much improved over last year's 6-9-1 showing. "I'm excited," he states flatly, "I think we're going to be the one to surprise few people this year."