Senior Evan Schumacher celebrates a goal last season. The 2011 UMSL Tritons men's soccer season will begin tomorrow.

With eight starters returning, including key players at every position, the University of Missouri–St. Louis men’s soccer team has a wealth of experience coming back to the field for the 2011 season.

Under the direction of 11th-year head coach Dan King, the UMSL Tritons will look to improve on last year’s 9-6-2 record, which included a 7-5-2 mark in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.

Among the returnees is second team all-GLVC honoree Almin Sabotic. As a junior last season, Sabotic scored 10 goals and finished with 21 points.

The offense will also be aided by the return of its No. 2 and 3 scorers from the 2010 season in fellow seniors Evan Schumacher and David Schwer. Both finished with four goals, while Schumacher added a team-best five assists.

Other returning starters include seniors Johnny O’Mara and Mike McCarthy and juniors Jordan Bruce and Gino Valenti and sophomore Matt Burrus.

O’Mara started 16 games last season and finished with three assists and one goal, while McCarthy started all 17 games and also tallied three assists. Bruce contributed two goals and two assists in 17 contests, while Valenti and Burrus were mainstays in the backfield, helping the Tritons to seven shutouts.

Also returning to the backfield is sophomore Dane O’Keefe, who started eight of 15 games he appeared in.

Although he missed last season, senior Tim Boruff returns to the goalkeeper position, where he started 16 of 18 games during the 2009 season, recording 104 saves, the seventh best single-season total in program history.

King and the Tritons welcome 10 newcomers to the program, including three four-year transfers in juniors Peter Hyde and Thomas Mihalczo and sophomore Logan Ream; two junior college transfers in juniors Luc Wells and Ajdin Dedic; and five first-year players in freshmen Billy Lacy, Alex Wilson, Andrew Westcott, Nick Lenkman and sophomore Majed Alam.

Of those newcomers, Hyde and Ream are expected to make an immediate impact. Hyde, who will play at forward, comes to UMSL from Marquette University in Milwaukee. The St. Louis native prepped at Chaminade College Preparatory School in Creve Coeur, Mo., where he was an all-state selection as a senior.

Ream will see action in the back. The transfer from Drury University in Springfield, Mo., prepped at St. Dominic High School in O’Fallon, Mo., where he was a first team all-state selection and was named Missouri Player of the Year.

UMSL will open its 44th season of intercollegiate play tomorrow (Sept. 1) with a pair of games in California. The Tritons will face California State University, East Bay (Hayward) before a Sept. 3 contest at San Francisco State University. UMSL opens the home portion of its schedule on Sept. 11, hosting the University of Illinois at Springfield in a 2:30 p.m. contest.

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Mary Ann Mitchell

Mary Ann Mitchell