Peter Hyde, senior forward on the UMSL men's soccer team, headlines the list of returners after finishing second in scoring last season when he recorded four goals and a team-best six assists. The 2012 UMSL Tritons men's soccer season will kick off this Friday. (Photo by Danny Reise)

The 2012 edition of the University of Missouri St. Louis men’s soccer team will include some old faces and plenty of new ones as well. Head coach Dan King, who enters his 12th season, returns 17 players from last year’s 8-5-4 team, including five starters. Additionally, he welcomes 11 newcomers, including seven true freshmen.

“We had some turnover after last year and have quite a few new guys, but practices have been going well so far and they are all working hard,” King said. “There are plenty of open positions, and the guys are fighting hard for those.”

Position-by-position breakdown

FORWARD/MIDFIELDERS

Who’s back …

Senior forward Peter Hyde headlines the list of returners after finishing second in scoring last season when he recorded four goals and a team-best six assists, while junior midfielder Matt Burrus started all 17 games.

Other key returners include senior midfielders Jordan Bruce and Ajdin Dedic and senior midfielder/forward Luc Wells. Bruce earned six starts, including the three final games of the year and finished with five points on two goals and an assist. Dedic appeared in 15 games, posting three starts, while Wells came off the bench in nine games, scoring two goals, both of which came in an upset victory over then No. 7 ranked Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla).

Sophomore midfielder Billy Lacy and junior midfielder Majed Alam also returned. Lacy appeared in 13 games last season, while Alam is expected to compete for playing time this year.

Who’s new …

UMSL welcomes seven newcomers to its forward and midfield group, including true freshman Tim Michel (midfield), Tyler Collico (midfield/forward), Jared Swierk (forward) and Michael Schlemper (forward/midfield).

Michel prepped at Christian Brothers College High School in Town and Country, Mo., where he earned all-conference honors, while Collico was an all-state performer at O’Fallon (Ill.) Township. Swierk earned second team all-state honors as a senior at Oakville (Mo.) High School after recording 21 goals and seven assists, while Schlemper earned all-conference and all-sectional honors at Greenville (Ill.) High School.

Other newcomers include senior midfielder Dan Olwig, a transfer from Saint Louis University, sophomore midfielder Taylor Nord, a transfer from Lewis University (Romeoville, Ill.), and sophomore midfielder Brysan DuVall.

Additionally, the UMSL Tritons welcome the return of sophomore midfielder Dennis Bayens, who played in eight games off the bench as a freshman before missing last season.

“We have two new front runners and two new center midfielders as both of our midfielders and front runners from last year are gone,” King said. “But the new guys we brought in are big and strong and can score goals. We just need to get them acclimated to the physical play of the GLVC. In the midfield, those guys are just going to have to take some time in getting use to playing with each other for awhile and learn who does what and goes where when.”

BACKS

Who’s back …

Defensively, UMSL has a strong unit of returners, including three starters from last season in senior Gino Valenti, junior Logan Ream and sophomore Alex Wilson. The trio helped the Tritons to eight shutouts in 2011.

Senior Thomas Mihalczo also returns after playing in 17 games, including four starts, while junior Chad Haymart appeared in 11 contests one year ago. Junior Dane O’Keefe also returns, having started five of the six contests he played in.

Other returners include junior Garrett Daugherty and sophomore Andrew Westcott.

Who’s new …

The defense has just two new players in freshman Clay Stocker and sophomore Tony Auck. Stocker was a first team all-conference selection at Oakville (Mo.) High School, where he teamed with Swierk, while Auck transfers from Spring Hill College (Mobile, Ala.).

“Defense is our strong point, and we won’t have a problem there,” said King, whose team allowed just 17 goals last year. “Our back four return, and they know what’s going on.”

GOALKEEPERS

Who’s back …

The Tritons return two goalkeepers from last year’s roster, although neither saw extensive playing time, meaning this positing lacks experience. Senior Patrick Ream appeared in just one game, playing a little over 16 minutes, while sophomore Nick Lenkman redshirted.

Who’s new …

Freshman Jeremiah Cooper joins the Tritons following a standout prep career at Trinity Catholic High School (St. Louis County) where he was named the Missouri Class 2A Co-Goalie of the Year after posting 15 shutouts and recording 202 saves as a senior.

“The goalkeeper position is wide open,” King said. “All three are working hard. It’s just determining who is going to step up and grab that spot.”

The Schedule

UMSL’s 2012 schedule consists of 17 matches, highlighted by 10 home contests, including the first four games of the year. The Tritons have just two non-conference games before embarking on a 15-match Great Lakes Valley Conference slate. The season kicks off on Friday (Aug. 31) when UMSL hosts Northeastern State University (Tahlequah, Okla.).

“Our schedule is favorable with 10 home games,” King said. “But as it always is, the GLVC schedule will be tough. We just need to be ready to defend our home turf.”

Click here or below to watch an interview with with Dan King, head coach of the men’s soccer team.

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Mary Ann Mitchell

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