POTSDAM - Though the Clarkson University men’s soccer team is entering a new era under first-year head coach Chris Taylor, the Golden Knights will have plenty of familiarity with 18 letter winners returning, including a significant amount of starters, from the 2013 squad.
The strength of the Knights in 2014 should be the defensive corps, thanks to a large returning contingent that is both deep and healthy this season. Anchoring the defense is senior Trevor Blackwell (Pittsford, NY), a three-time Liberty League All-Star and a 2013 ECAC Metro/Upstate All-Star. Blackwell provides a steadying influence in back and also a big target on corner kicks with four career goals. Blackwell, who has 49 starts in just as many career games, will not be alone as a returning player on defense. Sophomore Nicholas Gutberlet (North Chili, NY) got 15 starting nods last year as well, while juniors Paul Ancin (Schodack, NY) and Zach Peck (Liverpool, NY) have seen plenty of time in the past two years, with Peck looking to make a complete comeback from a tough injury in 2013. Sophomore Brendan Wise (Elmira, NY) played in 10 games last year in the midfield and will hope to make more of an impact in 2014 on the defensive side, as should classmate Andrew Akiki (Colchester, VT). Freshmen Ben Godin (Philadelphia, NY) and Hunter Secor (Williamson, NY) will also vie for time on defense.
Players listed as midfielders are light on the Clarkson roster, but numerous players from defense and some of the forwards will obviously see time in those spots as well during the 2014 season. The most senior member of the middies is junior Zach Godin (Philadelphia, NY), who played in 15 contests last year with 14 starts, while sophomore Troy White (Unadilla, NY) also saw action in 15 games with four starts. Senior exchange student Maximillian Leetz (Bruedx, Germany) is a wild-card for the Knights as the team has received some positive performances over the years from players across the pond. Freshman Brian Pfeil (Ballston Lake, NY) is the lone first-year player in the midfield for the Knights this season, but could make an immediate impact.
Though Clarkson’s offense was light last year, the team does return the majority of its goal-scoring from the 2013 team. Junior Marco Parisi (Guilford, CT), a Liberty League All-Star as a freshman, was the team’s leader in points in both 2012 and 2013, having accumulated nine goals and an assist for 19 points in fewer than 30 games. As a first-year player, Tucker Wilcox (Broadalbin, NY) showed plenty of promise as well, tying for the team-lead with Parisi with three goals in 2013, and he hopes to see his tallies jump with a year of collegiate experience under his belt. Speedy and physical seniors James Cowie (Malta, NY), returning to Clarkson after a year off, Alex Vozzella (Boston, MA), and Alex Lewis (Hollywood, FL) will all look to provide more scoring punch, while sophomores Kyle Fisk (Pennelville, NY), Eric Herberger (East Aurora, NY) and Brian Kroetz (Ballston Lake, NY) hope to earn their first collegiate goals in year-two of their respective collegiate careers.
The Knights also have four newcomers hoping to reignite the Clarkson offense in junior transfer Robbie Hoover (Vestal, NY) and freshmen Diego Lezama (Kinderhook, NY), Mark Volpe (Blackstone, MA) and Kevin Calnan (Winchester, MA).
Clarkson returns both of its freshmen goalkeepers from last year, and the duo will hopefully use that experience to help the Knights take a giant step forward this fall. Sophomores Michael King (Verona, NJ) and Alex White (Unadilla, NY) combined to make 81 saves in 15 games last year, splitting time almost evenly.